Tourista (traveler’s diarrhea): duration, treatment, travel

When traveling, there is a risk of developing tourist or traveler’s diarrhea. Which countries are in danger? Symptoms? How do you protect yourself from it? What treatment should one treat it? What precautions when traveling abroad? Advice from Dr. Christine Cheung, general practitioner in Nice.

When traveling, water, food, and direct human contact can cause travelers’ diarrhea, also known as tourista. Prevention is always based on compliance with hygiene rules and sometimes on vaccination (hepatitis A, typhus) would like to remind Public Health France in its recommendations to travelers published in its BEH of 2 June 2022. Diarrhea often affects travelers: its rate of attack may exceed 40% for a 3 week stay. In traveling children, this symptom is reported in 13.5 to 39% of cases, more frequently in children under 2 years or adolescents. What are the symptoms? The transfer method? How to treat it? Protect yourself from it? during a trip? Can we eat raw vegetables? drink tap water? Know everything.

Definition: what is a tourist?

The tourist is one intestinal infection caused by bacteria transmitted through food, most when traveling abroad. The countries most affected are India, Vietnam, South America, Black Africa, Turkey, Maghreb, Spain and Portugal. Travelers’ diarrhea is defined as the emission of at least 3 unformed stools in 24 hours, or by taking stools more often than usual (this last definition is more suitable for infants and young children whose normal transit may be faster), during or when returning from a trip.

What are the reasons for turista?

Food poisoning is caused by the presence of bacteria in certain foods, including:

  • That salmonella : poultry and eggs, dairy products (especially ice cream), seafood.
  • That listeria : raw milk, mayonnaise, pâtés and rillettes, minced meat and raw sausages.
  • Escherichia coli
  • others bacteria
  • Sometimes parasites

What are the symptoms of turista?

Symptoms usually occur in two to three hours after the meal.

  • Gastroenteritis : diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain …
  • Severe salmonellosis with diarrhea and acute dehydration.
  • Listeriosis: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever

How long does a tourista last?

“The tourist lasts normally between three and seven days“, Informs Dr. Christine Cheung, general practitioner.

Is the tourist contagious?

“This is really contagiousx, says the doctor. Transfer usually takes place through the hands.So be sure to wash them regularly.

When to consult in case of symptoms?

Seek medical attention in case ofappearance of fever, weight loss, persistent diarrhea for more than three days, blood in the stool, acute dehydration with the impossibility of hydrating through the mouth, abdominal pains significantly despite taking anticonvulsants (Spasfon®), diarrhea and fever on returning from a country where there is malaria. Contact a physician at the onset of diarrhea in a young child.

“The diagnosis is clinical”, says Dr. Christine Cheung. The doctor will ask you to find out if you have hadmore than three liquid stools (diarrhea) of 24 hours or two out of eight hours associated with at least one sign: abdominal pain, fever, nausea, vomiting, mucous or bloody diarrhea “. And to add:The exact biological diagnosis is made stool or blood tests (serology), but is generally not performed because the disease is self-limiting until the results are available“So there is really no interest.

What is the treatment to cure a tourist?

The doctor will prescribe medication for treat the symptoms: anti nausea, anti spastic against abdominal pain (Spasfon®). It is also possible to buy antidiarrheal and bandages without medical attention: Smecta®, Tiorfan®, avoid loperamide (transit retarders). In some cases, the doctor may put the patient on antibiotics, usually fluroquinolones (Ciflox®) or azithromycin.

What recommendations in case of travel?

Prevention is based on hygiene measures:

  • wash hands, before meals, before handling food or after going to the toilet (the only preventive measure that has proven its effectiveness). In the absence of water and soap, a hydro-alcoholic gel or solution can be used. Wipe your hands after washing with a clean cloth, or otherwise air dry them;
  • prefer hot dishes, served hot (cold or lukewarm restaurant buffets may involve risks); avoid consuming food sold on the street unless it is well cooked and the container is still smoking;
  • Ingest only bottled water that is closed (and opened in front of you) or, if this is not possible, made drinkable by boiling (1 minute on a rolling boil) or by disinfection (DCCNa-based products [dichloroisocyanurate de sodium] or sodium hypochlorite), optionally preceded by filtration (portable filter) if the water is cloudy;
  • Avoid eating ice cubes ;
  • avoid fresh fruit juices prepared in an artisanal way;
  • only consume milk if it is pasteurized or boiled; promote breastfeeding for infants;
  • wash el peel the fruit yourself after washing their hands;
  • Avoid raw vegetablesseafood, reheated dishes;
  • Avoid homemade ice cream (industrial ice, lower risk if packaging is intact);
  • cook eggs, meat, seafood thoroughly ;
  • for infants under 6 months, carry out a vaccination against rotavirus.

Drug prevention is not specified except in specific situations (immune deficiency, especially chronic inflammatory bowel disease) and after specialist advice.

Avoid tap water, ice cubes, raw vegetables, unpasteurized dairy products and raw butter, minced and raw meat, freshwater seafood, tuna and raw fish. Wash fruits and vegetables. Watch his diet. Respect the cooling chain. Check food preparation and preservation. Respect basic hygiene rules keep dishes and hands clean. Take bottled water, cap closed

What to eat in case of tourista?

In case of tourista, be sure to eat well-cooked food and fruit washing. On the other hand, limit the juice of apple, pear or grape, which are laxatives. Drink plenty of water. Eat white rice, lentils and ginger, effective against nausea and spasms. Vise versa Limit your consumption of dairy products and fatty foods. On the fruit side, favor bananas, banish on the other side prunes.

Thanks to Dr. Christine Cheung, general practitioner in Nice.

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