Travelers’ Diarrhea: What to Do if You Get It

  • Stay hydrated with frequent sips of fluids (in most circumstances, this will be sufficient and rehydration salts will not be necessary).
  • When diarrhea is more severe or accompanied by significant nausea and vomiting, rehydration solution made with rehydration salts (available in drugstores) and purified or bottled water can prevent severe dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration include feeling very thirsty, lightheadedness, dizziness, dark urine and decreased urine frequency.
  • Bananas and rice help settle the stomach during diarrheal illnesses, while water aids in rehydration.
  • If you have not taken Pepto-Bismol® for diarrhea prevention and you have only a mild illness, you may take Pepto-Bismol® as directed on the package.
  • Over-the-counter antidiarrheal medications such as diphenoxylate (Lomotil®) or loperamide (Imodium®) can help with symptom control; however, it is important to follow the directions carefully when using these medications.
  • Your doctor may give you a prescription for an antibiotic to take for self-treatment of the most common causes of travelers’ diarrhea; take as instructed.
  • Seek medical attention for any of the following symptoms: bloody diarrhea, fever, severe nausea or vomiting resulting in inability to tolerate oral fluid intake, dehydration resulting in faintness or persistent diarrhea.
  • If diarrhea continues after returning from a trip or begins following arrival home, call TravelWell for an evaluation.