Eating out abroadTravellers' diarrhoea is a condition characterised by a marked increase in the frequency of unformed bowel movements and is commonly accompanied by abdominal cramps, urgency, nausea, bloating, vomiting, fever, and malaise.
Most diarrhoeal attacks are self-limited and will clear up in a few days. The important thing is to avoid becoming dehydrated. Make sure that you drink enough fluids, particularly when travelling in a hot climate.
If your bowel movements are frequent, very watery, contain blood, or last beyond 3 days you should seek medical help.
Luckily, there are several things you can do to prevent you becoming ill from what you eat and drink when abroad. The following tips will help you avoid illness caused by unsafe food and drink and will help you know what to do if you get diarrhoea.
- Unless you know that the drinking water is safe, don't drink it. Bottled water is usually safe so use it for drinking, washing food and cleaning teeth. Make sure the lid of the water bottle is sealed prior to consumption.
- Don't take ice in your drink. It may be made from water that contains germs.
- Eat freshly prepared food, preferably cooked. Uncooked food should be avoided and make sure food is still hot when served. Avoid leftovers.
- Wash your hands after using the toilet and before preparing or eating food.
- Check with your doctor that you have all the vaccinations you need before travelling.
- Take extra care if you are pregnant, elderly or ill.
Five Keys to Safer FoodThe WHO has adopted the Five Keys to Safer Food as a tool to both train food handlers and educate consumers and travellers.
Read the Five Keys to Safer Food document
This document is also available to download in other languages on the WHO website