Traveler's diarrhea

How to avoid TD

Traveler’s diarrhea is an acute diarrhea that affects a great number of travelers.

It is said that between 60 and 80% of travelers in the tropics, subtropics and developing countries are affected by this unpleasant gastroenteritis.

Although the risk is higher in these areas, the World Health Organization (WHO) reminds us that hygiene may leave something to be desired anywhere, it is always better to err on the side of caution1,2.

What countries present a risk of contracting traveler’s diarrhea

Click on a country to see the % rate of getting traveler's diarrhea

Risk of contracting traveler's diarrhea, %
Very high

What are the typical symptoms of traveler's diarrhea?

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting (1 out of 10 cases)
  • Fever (1 out of 10 cases)
  • Weakness and discomfort
  • Signs of dehydration

TD usually comes into play the first 3 to 5 days of the stay.

It most often presents itself as a liquid diarrhea without fever and without blood.

Traveler’s diarrhea symptom - diarrhea Traveler’s diarrhea symptom - abdominal cramps Traveler’s diarrhea symptom - Nausea and vomiting Traveler’s diarrhea symptom - fiever

What are the causes of traveler's diarrhea ?

E. Coli
E. coli

The causes

More often of bacterial origin than parasitic or resulting from a virus, its transmission occurs through the fecal-oral route.

A good number of bacteria are responsible for the contamination, the best known and the most common is undeniably the enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli also known in its abbreviated form of E. coli.

The mechanism of action of the E. coli bacteria is essentially the production of an enterotoxin (a toxic substance that targets the intestines) that causes a flow of water and electrolytes into the intestinal lumen, softening the stool and leading to diarrhea3.

Other bacteria causing this disease are Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter. The disease can also sometimes be caused, although less often by parasites such as Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Cyclospora or viruses such as rotavirus or norovirus1,2.

How to prevent traveler's diarrhea ?

Probaclac voyageur

Tips for avoiding diarrhea while traveling

Tips for avoiding diarrhea while traveling

Be wary of everything that is ingested :
food and beverage.

  • Beware of tap water, ice cubes, and all frozen slush
  • Avoid street food
  • Make sure the food is cooked all the way through
  • Avoid seafood
  • Beware of fresh fruits and vegetables (salads), opt for foods that peel (bananas)
  • Avoid milk-based foods
  • Avoid eggs
The WHO summarizes the guidelines as follows :
«boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it.»

Hygiene above all

  • The infection can be transmitted from one person to another, better be safe than sorry
  • Wash your hands with soap
  • Brush your teeth with bottled water
Washing our hands for avoiding diarrhea while traveling
Sleeping for avoiding diarrhea while traveling

Take care of your immune system

  • Make sure you sleep sufficiently

Tricks to act as soon as the diarrhea manifests

Eating rice in case of diarrhea
The first soft stools are a sign, adjust your diet, consider eating rice or potatoes.
Hydration in case of diarrhea
In order to fight traveler’s diarrhea it is essential to stay well hydrated.

Prevention mode

Beyond the tips mentioned above, there are two types of products that can reduce the risk of infection.

Probiotics VS Oral vaccines
Probiotics for traveler’s diarrhea
Oral vaccine for traveler’s diarrhea
Oral vaccines
Requires a prescription?
probaclac probiotique
Vaccins oraux
Oral vaccines
No, but must be recommended according to the Quebec immunisation protocol from a consultation with a health professional.
No for the residents of other provinces
How frequently should it be taken?
probaclac probiotique
Take a week before departure, during the stay, and a week after return
Vaccins oraux
Oral vaccines
Take two doses one week apart no later than 2 weeks before departure
Who are these modes of prevention for?
probaclac probiotique
Adolescents (12 years old and over) and adults
The Children formulas are recommended for 1 to 3 year olds and 3 years and over
Vaccins oraux
Oral vaccines
Adults and children aged 2 and over
Possibility of side effects
probaclac probiotique
Possibility of bloating and gas at the beginning of consumption
Vaccins oraux
Oral vaccines
Possibility of abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever
Needs refrigeration ?
probaclac probiotique
No, doesn’t require refrigeration
Vaccins oraux
Oral vaccines
Yes, requires refrigeration

For more information on travel probiotics, visit the page

Probaclac Traveler
Probiotics for traveler’s diarrhea