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Travelers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting international travelers. The malady is so well known that it has earned many nicknames, including "Montezuma's revenge", "Pharaoh's Revenge," and "Delhi Belly," giving an idea of which destinations result in the preponderance of travelers sickened with the disease. Every year, 20 to 50 percent of Americans who travel internationally, or about 10 million people, come down with a case of travelers' diarrhea.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that the main cause of traveler's diarrhea is having three or more loose stools in 24 hours at any time while traveling or after returning home from a trip. Most people with travelers' diarrhea have four or five episodes of diarrhea daily. Travelers' diarrhea is rarely life threatening, and most cases resolve themselves within two days. Of those who are sickened, 90 percent fully recover within one week of the start of symptoms, and 98 percent of cases are resolved within a month.
When preparing for an international trip, there are many actions you can take to protect yourself and prevent the infection that causes travelers' diarrhea. These actions include:
While most people who get sickened with traveler’s diarrhea will see their symptoms resolve themselves within a few days, waiting for the diarrhea to go away might not be a feasible or comfortable situation for you and your travel companions. Options available for travelers’ diarrhea include:
More than 60% of international travelers get sick with traveler’s diarrhea. Schedule an appointment today with your local Passport Health Travel Specialist to find out which traveler’s diarrhea option is best for you and your travel companions.
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