Montezuma's revenge is one of the most common travel illnesses in which the digestive system gets mixed up. The diarrhea, which catches every third long-distance traveler, is usually caused by the pathogens Escherichia coli or Campylobacter. The rule: "cook it, boil it, peel it or forget it" (cook it, fry it, peel it or forget it) helps to protect yourself from the nasty diarrhea. If it has caught you anyway, you should use your first aid kit and drink plenty of water to counteract the fluid loss. For prolonged diarrhea should be thought of a bacterial and viral infection and consulted a doctor.
Causes of traveler's diarrhea
To trigger traveler's diarrhea, often enough already unusually spicy or greasy food. Likewise, the travel stress or the climate change in the travel country can hit the stomach. In addition, the traveler's diarrhea can be triggered by pathogens such as the intestinal bacterium Escherichia coli, Salmonella or Campylobacter germs.
The bacteria can be transmitted in the absence of hygiene conditions on the water, food or animals. Other causes of diarrhea are viruses (Norovirus). The viruses are excreted through the stool or vomit and transmitted fecally-orally directly from person to person or here on contaminated food and contaminated water.
In rare cases, parasites such as worms or amoebae (Entamoeba histolytica) cause traveler's diarrhea. The infection with the parasites proceeds via the same route as the bacterial infection.
Montezuma's Revenge: Typical Symptoms
In case of traveler's diarrhea, the first symptoms occur several hours to several days after the first contact with the pathogens. It is typical that those affected have a watery and unformed bowel movement three times a day or more frequently. In addition, other symptoms such as loss of appetite, nausea and flatulence may occur. The symptoms of travel stress or unfamiliar food and conditional diarrhea are usually milder than with infectious traveler's diarrhea due to illness.
How can traveler's diarrhea be treated?
In diarrheal diseases, the body loses a lot of fluids. In order to bring the water balance and the electrolyte balance back into balance, the body should be fed a lot of tea, diluted juices, vegetable broth or soups. On the other hand, fatty foods should be avoided during the time of the disease. Light foods such as rusks, savory biscuits or grated apples are recommended. In addition, the use of healing clay calms the intestine, as harmful bacteria are bound and excreted.
The home remedy Cola with pretzel sticks, however, is not good as a cure for traveler's diarrhea. The caffeine in the cola stimulates the intestinal activity and can lead to a worsening of the symptoms. In addition, the contained sugar causes a further fluid loss in the intestine.
Medicines for the first-aid kit
What should be missing in any travel pharmacy against Reisediarrhoe, drugs with the drug loperamide. The active substance acts as an opium derivative targeted to the intestinal activity and sets down this, so that the intestine is immobilized for some time. However, the pathogens can thereby multiply better in the intestine. Therefore, it is absolutely not recommended to take this medicine for a longer time.
Important minerals and salts that are lost as a result of loss of fluid in traveler's diarrhea can be replaced with electrolyte preparations. The electrolyte preparations are available either in the form of powder or as a rehydration solution in pharmacies. The powder preparation is dissolved in water or tea and taken in liquid form. Also helpful in case of traveler's diarrhea are yeast tablets. They contain fungi (saccharomycetes), which prevent the spread of bacteria in the intestine and restore the natural intestinal flora.
Travel Diarrhea: When to the doctor?
Most forms of travel diarrhea are harmless and last only a few days. With longer duration and additional complaints such as abdominal pain, vomiting, fever or blood in the stool, a serious infection or even food poisoning can often be expected. In such cases, a doctor should urgently be consulted for treatment.
Severe forms of intestinal infections are caused by toxins that attack the intestinal wall. Often bacteria are the trigger and it is a treatment with antibiotics needed. In general, a doctor should always be consulted for treatment in severe cases. In order to prevent the further spread of the inflammation, intestinal infections are usually treated with antibiotics. You should also seek medical advice on dry mucous membranes and exhaustion. These symptoms may indicate dehydration. If necessary, the doctor can treat them with an infusion.
Prevent Montezuma's Revenge
Traveling to exotic countries, the motto "Cook it, boil it, peel it or forget it" should be considered a precautionary measure against Montezuma's revenge. During the travel period should therefore be dispensed with tap water, ice cubes and open drinks and ready-made salads. In addition, eggs and chicken meat should be enjoyed with great care, as they may be contaminated with salmonella.
Especially when traveling to warm regions such as some areas of Africa, Southeast Asia and Central and South America, it is advisable to boil water before taking it as well as using bottled water for oral hygiene. The food should always be hot and even, because lukewarm food is a suitable environment for bacteria. In addition, care should be taken to peel fruits and vegetables before eating.