“What is it?

Travelers’ diarrhea is caused by a variety of pathogens but most commonly bacteria found in food and water, often related to poor hygiene practices in local restaurants. An estimated 30% to 70% of travelers experience travelers’ diarrhea, depending on where they go and what time of year. Countries are generally divided into 3 risk groups: high, intermediate, and low.

  • Destinations with high risk: Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Mexico, and Central and South America.
  • Destinations with intermediate risk: Eastern Europe, South Africa, and some Caribbean islands.
  • Destinations with low risk: the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Northern and Western Europe.


You can reduce your risk of travelers’ diarrhea by staying away from the bacteria that cause it. Adults may also take an antacid medicine (e.g., Pepto-Bismol*, the equivalent of two 262-mg tabs 4 times a day), which can decrease the incidence of travelers’ diarrhea up to 50%. However, Pepto-Bismol is not recommended for pregnant women or children aged 3 years or younger.

Keep your hands clean.

Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer after using the bathroom and before eating. Good hand hygiene prevents the spread of germs.”

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