Diarrhea

Traveler’s diarrhea is a common illness that affects people who visit certain hot, humid countries. Bacteria, viruses and parasites in contaminated water or food cause the illness. In addition to diarrhea, you may also have severe abdominal pain, cramps and vomiting.

What are the symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea?

Most people who get traveler’s diarrhea experience mild symptoms that improve within three to five days. Symptoms typically can appear within six to 24 hours after a bacterial or viral infection depending on the infection load. It may take one to three weeks for signs of an intestinal parasite infection to show up.

You may have traveler’s diarrhea if you experience three or more loose stools within 24 hours or your number of usual bowel movements doubles. You may also have one or more of these symptoms:

Call a doctor if you have diarrhea that is severe, lasts more than a few days or is bloody. Other signs that you should seek medical attention include:

  • A fever of 102 F (39 C) or higher
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Signs of severe dehydration, including a dry mouth, muscle cramps, decreased urine output, dizziness or fatigue

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