Don’t Ruin Your Holiday: How to Prevent Traveller’s Diarrhoea
Our gastrointestinal system (GIT) is home to a delicate balance of both good and bad bacteria.
Antibiotics, junk food, alcohol, medication and illness can throw off this balance, leaving you susceptible to stomach upset, poor digestive health, inadequate vitamin and mineral absorption and a bad bout of stomach illness.
In the excitement and anticipation of preparing for a holiday, our health can be easily overlooked.
There’s airfares, plane tickets, hotel bookings, spending money, school holidays – so many things to organise, and not enough time to do it.
As our stress levels rise, so does our chances of getting sick and forgetting to prepare our bodies for travel.
Traveller’s diarrhoea, aka ‘Bali (or Delhi) Belly’ is estimated to affect more than 60% of traveller’s, or more than 15 million people annually.
In terms of frequency and costs, it is the number one health problem in international travel. Symptoms include vomiting, nausea, lethargy, fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhoea.
While recovery can occur after around 4 days, some cases can last weeks and land you in hospital – not a place where you would want to spend your holiday.
It’s likely that jet lag, tiredness, unfamiliar food and water, alcohol along with disturbed body rhythms during travel all contribute to the development of traveller’s diarrhoea.
When the delicate gut flora balance is disturbed, our natural immune defence that normally protects against attachment and colonisation of harmful micro-organisms is weakened.
This leaves us susceptible to developing traveller’s diarrhoea.
In up to 85% of cases, the harmful micro-organisms are bacterial pathogens, with the most common being Escherichia coli (think the strain that causes gastroenteritis, urinary tract infections, meningitis, septicemia and pneumonia).
It’s true that a small amount of E coli does live harmlessly in our GIT, however as the balance of gut flora is disturbed, E coli levels increase dramatically.
Probiotics are an ideal way to help prevent traveller’s diarrhoea. Probiotics are perhaps the most effective preventative measure as the inhibit the pathogen attachment, enhancing the immune response and assisting in re-establishing normal flora balance.
There have been several studies illustrating the effectiveness of probiotics for traveller’s diarrhoea prevention.
A 2005 meta-analysis assessed the efficacy and safety of probiotics for the prevention of traveller’s diarrhoea.
This analysis, which pooled data from 12 high quality, randomised, controlled trials that included a total of 4709 patients, suggested that 85% of traveller’s diarrhoea cases were prevented by probiotics (RR: O.85; 95% CI: 0.79, ).91 p<0.001).
Overall, probiotics are an ideal preventative for traveller’s diarrhoea, and are also useful for treating symptoms, however not all probiotics are the same.
There are differences between probiotics and bacterial strains, and not all are effective against traveller’s diarrhoea.
Research has found that the strains Saccharomyces boulardii and various lactobacilli strains should be used in doses over 10 billion per day before, during and after travelling.
The effectiveness of the product also come down to the stability of the probiotic – if the bacteria in the preparation are killed, there is no point in using such a product.
Using a temperature stable, freeze-dried formulation, like Bioceuticals Ultra Biotic IBS, is a highly effective and cost effective way to prevent the pain and debilitating symptoms of traveller’s diarrhoea.
This formulation, unlike many other probiotics, doesn’t require refrigeration, and contains 25 billion bacteria per capsule to ensure maximum efficacy.
Realistically, we should all be taking a probiotic daily.
Not only will a probiotic ensure optimal digestion, vitamin and mineral absorption, GIT function and enhance immunity, it will also prevent stomach upset, diarrhoea and reflux.
If you are travelling, and aren’t already taking a probiotic everyday, you should begin supplementation at least a week before departure, continue taking it everyday during travel and for several days after you return.
Taking a probiotic now will help you to avoid a bout of traveller’s diarrhoea and allow you to get the most out of your holiday.
Visit Emed’s Best Probiotics for more information, and read ‘ A Probiotic Recipe for Good Health’ for more information on the importance of probiotics.
- Emed’s Best Probiotics
- A Probiotic Recipe for Good Health
- Probiotics for the Prevention of Colon Cancer
- Reculturing the Bowel
What else can I do?
- Support your immune support. The last thing you want when you’re on holidays is to get sick. Using a good immune support formula, like Andro NK will help to support your immune system to reject viruses and illness. Click here to read more about this formulation.
- Keep hydrated. ORSBiotic is an Oral Rehydration Solution to replace fluids lost due to vomiting, diarrhoea and strenuous physical activity, providing essential electrolytes together with selected probiotic species to provide therapeutic support for various triggers of diarrhoea and associated symptoms.
- Use a good multivitamin. Don’t kid yourself – you won’t be eating well on holidays, and your body will easily slip into vitamin and mineral deficiency, paving the way for illness and disease. Taking a great multivitamin with you will help you keep your vitamin and mineral levels up, as well as helping your energy levels. Click here for Emed’s Best Multivitamin and Multimineral Supplements.
- Try to eat sensibly. It’s easy to splurge on junk and fatty food when you’re on holidays – and after a long year, you deserve to have a bit of fun, but try to eat some healthy food. At the buffet, still aim to fill up half of your plate with fresh fruit/vegies, some lean meat and a small amount of grains. Bypass the bread basket, and fill up on fruit for dessert. Treat yourself a little, but remember the healthy eating principle. Read ‘Health Promoting Nutrition‘ for some more information on eating for optimum health.