The fun of a holiday can often be dampened by tummy troubles especially traveller’s diarrhoea caused by food and waterborne micro‐organisms. The risk of developing holiday tummy upsets is higher in developing countries of Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia where sanitation and hygiene standards are poor. Small children are particularly vulnerable to acquiring diarrhoea while travelling and more likely to suffer the consequences especially dehydration. The best defence is prevention so it is important to take several precautions to protect the whole family from tummy upsets and ensure a happy, healthy holiday.
- Depending on your destination the local tap water may not be safe to drink. If this is the case, give your children bottled water to drink and to use for brushing their teeth. Also avoid any drinks that contain ice.
- If possible, keep small children from crawling around on dirty floors.
- Ensure your kids wash their hands frequently and that they don’t put their unwashed fingers in their mouth. It might be worthwhile carrying around a small bottle of alcohol‐based hand sanitiser to use regularly, especially after going to the toilet and before eating.
- For infants, use premixed formula for shorter duration trips, or for longer holidays, prepare powdered formula with thoroughly boiled water.
- Try to avoid eating:
- Raw and peeled fruits and vegetables
- Lettuce and spinach
- Raw, rare or undercooked meats of any kind
- All seafood that is raw or undercooked
- Unpasteurised dairy products including milk
- Street vendor food
- Hot food that has been left to cool and buffets
- Custards, mousses and mayonnaise are also best avoided
- The best hot foods to eat are those that have been cooked well and recently, and are served to you very hot.
- Carry oral rehydration powders, tablets or ice blocks to help assist rehydration and replace electrolytes if sickness in children occurs. Make sure you prepare rehydration powders with boiled or bottled water.
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin supplements should not replace a balanced diet
Seek medical advice if diarrhoea or vomiting persists for longer than:
- 6 hours in infants under 6 months
- 12 hours in children under 3 years
- 24 hours in children aged 3‐6 years
- 48 hours in adults and children over 6 years
For more information, please visit https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/travellers-diarrhoea#lp-h-5