About 50% of UK travellers get travellerís diarrhoea whilst holidaying in developing countries. High-risk destinations include most of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Symptoms including passing 3-5 watery stools a day, stomach cramps, fever and vomiting are very common and unpleasant. These can set in very quickly at the beginning of your trip and can last for just a few days or even the whole duration of your trip. Events can be isolated or can recur following recontamination.
No vaccines are currently available against this kind of infection, however antibiotics can be prescribed as a precautionary measure if you are travelling to a country where you are likely to be contaminated. Antibiotics can be used to treat the cause of illness and put a stop to unpleasant symptoms by killing bacteria.
PharmaDoctor can provide you with an online prescription for preventative traveller's diarrhoea medication following an online consultation with our GMC and EU-registered doctors.
Ciprofloxacin Treatment for Traveller's Diarrhoea
Ciprofloxacin is a broadspectrum antibiotic used to treat common infections such as:
- Travellerís Diarrhoea
- Typhoid Fever
- Bacterial eye infections
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Urinary tract infections
How does Ciprofloxacin work?
Ciprofloxacin works by preventing bacteria from reproducing. It functions by inhibiting DNA gyrase, which are enzymes necessary to separate bacterial DNA. Without these enzymes bacteria cells cannot divide and reproduce. By stopping the spread of bacteria the bodyís own immune system can work to contain and combat infection.
Main points to consider
- For travellerís diarrhoea take 500 mg Ciprofoxacin twice daily for three days
- Swallow the tablets whole. Do not chew them. Do not crush or cut them
- Avoid taking Ciprofloxacin on an empty stomach. Eating a small snack will help to avoid tummy upset.
- Avoid taking Ciprofloxacin after having eaten diary products as this affects how well the body absorbs the medication.
- If you symptoms to not improve or get worse, seek medical advice as soon as possible.
Ciprofloxacin side effects
All medicines can cause potential side effects, however not everyone experiences these. Ciprofloxacin is generally well tolerated, however side effects include:
- Upset stomach
- Skin rash
- Indigestion and other digestive problems
- Loss of appetite
For a full list of side effects and contraindications consult the patient leaflet enclosed in every box of Ciprofloxacin. If you experience any side effects not reported in the patient leaflet, please seek medical assistance.
For Diarrhoea Prevention Treatments
Traveller's diarrhoea info
Travellers' diarrhoea is normally acquired through eating or drinking contaminated food and water. Whilst it can occur in any foreign country, the illness is very common when travelling to places such as Central and Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Travellers' diarrhoea is generally caused by these organisms: E.Coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, Shigella, Rotavirus and Giardia.
Travellers' diarrhoea is an illness characterised by an increased frequency in bowel movements, sometimes those affected may experience abdominal cramps, an inability to control bowel movements, vomiting, bloating, fever and weakness.
Often episodes of diarrhoea and vomiting pass on their own after a few days, however in some cases can continue for well over a week. If you have diarrhoea /and are vomiting you will have to take precautions against dehydration.
- Avoiding contamination
How to avoid traveller's illness
Most people develop travellerís diarrhoea after consuming faecally contaminated food and water. However, it is often a lack of natural immunity to local bacteria which leaves us more susceptible to illness. Whilst for most people it is not life threatening the illness should be taken seriously, as diarrhoea, vomiting and sweating can lead to dehydration which is dangerous and can cause death.
Travellerís diarrhoea is often self-limiting meaning the illness in most cases will clear up by itself without medical treatment however; this is just always a question of time and normally coincides with returning home. Waiting for the symptoms to go away by themselves can lead to your trip being ruined and makes for an uncomfortable holiday experience especially if you do not stay in one place and intend on touring round the country.
Take precautions against contamination:
- Drink only bottled water. Check the seal is still intact before drinking or using to brush your teeth.
- Avoid ice in any drinks as this is likely to have been made with tap water.
- Drinks sealed fizzy drinks, wine or beer. Avoid drinking straight from the can or using straws which are often washed and re-used.
- Avoid fresh juices
- Avoid dairy products as these are unlikely to have been pasteurised.
- Eat freshly cooked meats and stay away from anything which looks as though it has been sitting out all day.
- Avoid salads or uncooked vegetables.
- Wash your hands before eating and always use a sanitizer gel to kill bacteria.
- Treatment of diarrhoea
If you are passing 4 or more loose / watery stools in one day it is highly likely you have travellersí diarrhoea.
Antibiotics If you are experiencing other symptoms lasting more than 5 days antibiotics may be recommended. Take your antibiotics as advised by your doctor and complete the course so that the infection is cleared up. Ciprofloxacin (500mg taken twice a day) is highly recommended as a treatment against travellersí diarrhoea. Antibiotics must be prescribed by a doctor, PharmaDoctor can provide prescription medications for useful travellers antibiotics.
Antimotility drugs Loperamide and Imodium are antimotility drugs and work by slowing the muscular contractions of the intestine. These medications block bowel movements, but do not cure the problem. Only take these if you have to travel. Do not use these medications if you have high fever, bloody stools, or if you are vomiting and suffering from dehydration.
Oral Rehydration Dehydration is dangerous and is a particular problem in hot countries, where we lose water through sweating. Diarrhoea and vomiting can also cause loss of fluids which must be replaced to avoid dehydration. Oral rehydration solutions are readily available from most pharmacies and can be bought without a prescription.
Seek medical assistance if:
- you have a fever
- your stools are bloody
- diarrhoea does not go away after 3 days
- you feel disoriented
For Diarrhoea Prevention Treatments