What to Do if You Get Ill
If you become seriously ill while traveling, your country's embassy or consulate can help you find medical care. For a complete list of embassies and consulates, see the U.S. Department of State website at www.usembassy.gov. You can also get the contacts for local doctors and medical clinics. If you become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling, seek medical attention immediately.
Traveler's diarrhea is the most common illness when traveling. Most cases get better within 1 to 3 days without medical treatment.
Most doctors recommend trying to keep to your normal diet as much as possible. If you are vomiting, this may be hard. Try drinking clear liquids. Watch for signs of dehydration, such as a dry mouth and dark-colored urine. If possible, drink Reference rehydration drinks Opens New Window to replace lost fluids and electrolytes. Before you go, buy dry packets of oral rehydration mix at a drugstore.
See a doctor if diarrhea doesn't subside or if you have a high fever, blood or Reference mucus Opens New Window in your stools or signs of Reference dehydration Opens New Window. Watch closely for Reference signs of dehydration in children Opens New Window, because children with diarrhea can quickly become seriously dehydrated.
Your doctor may be able to give you Reference antibiotics Opens New Window to take if you get diarrhea. They may help reduce the number of days you have the problem. But don't take antibiotics to prevent diarrhea.
Antidiarrheal medicines, such those containing bismuth (examples include Pepto-Bismol and Bismatrol) or Imodium A-D (nonprescription) and Lomotil (prescription), give relief from cramping and frequent stools. But you shouldn't take them if you have a fever or blood or Reference mucus Opens New Window in your stools.
See a doctor right away if you have bloody diarrhea.
To learn more, see the topic Reference Traveler's Diarrhea.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference August 7, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease