Health Information

Travellers Diarrhoea

The most common disorder travellers can encounter, usually self limiting but unfortunately debilitating.

Mild Diarrhoea

Two to four loose bowel motions in 24 hours and you feel generally well. There is no fever, no blood or mucous in the motion and you are not unusually thirsty.


  • Increase your intake of clear fluids.
  • Use Oral Rehydration (Salts ORS) if they are available (e.g. Game, Rehydrate).
  • Flat Coke/Pepsi is usually helpful.
  • Take a light diet – mainly soups etc.
  • Try and change your itinerary so that you can stay close to adequate facilities.
  • Watch for any change in your health which might suggest that the diarrhoea is becoming more severe.
  • Usually self-limiting within 24 – 48hours
Severe Diarrhoea

Under these circumstances your diarrhoea will have become very significant. Dehydration will be more evident, a temperature may have developed and mental awareness may become impaired. You must remember that severe diarrhoea can kill at any age and must always be treated very seriously. Even if vomiting is occurring small regular amounts of fluids may usually be taken by mouth and will help the situation.

  • Inform others and try to obtain competent medical attention.
  • Ensure that plenty of clean clear fluids are taken.
  • Sips and teaspoons every five minutes are usually better tolerated than a full glass given less frequently.
  • Suck clean pure ice if possible.
  • Use Oral Rehydration sachets to replace the lost fluid; 2 – 3 litres per day.
  • If competent medical attention is not readily available, antibiotics may be needed.
Treatment Protocol
  • Check your temperature.
  • Replace fluid loss with clean, clear fluids.
  • Use sachets of ORS if available.
  • Watch out for blood or mucous in the motion.
  • Inform others if the situation is becoming more severe.
  • Get competent medical attention, if possible.
  • In more severe cases, (for patients with no history of allergy) consider using antibiotics such as Cotrimoxazole, 2 tablets twice a day for 5 days or Ciprofloxacin 500mgs twice a day for 3 days.
  • If you are in an isolated situation try to move back to a larger town or city where medical attention is available.
  • Take special care to remember that children are very prone to dehydration and you need to ensure that they maintain a high fluid intake under these circumstances


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