• By Jason Howland

Mayo Clinic Minute: Tips to avoid traveler’s diarrhea

March 6, 2018

Millions of people traveling internationally experience traveler's diarrhea every year. And, during spring break, that number is especially high for Americans, who may have symptoms ranging from mild to severe, as they travel to countries with warmer climates. But there are some steps you can take to ensure that your trip isn't interrupted by unpleasant bathroom breaks. Jason Howland has more in this Mayo Clinic Minute.

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Want to avoid flushing your international vacation down the drain? Watch out for the water.

"Traveler’s diarrhea can be caused by a virus or bacteria, but they are always associated with water," says Dr. Cindy Kermott, a Mayo Clinic preventive medicine specialist.

She says contaminated water is the No. 1 cause of traveler’s diarrhea, which usually isn’t serious but can be very unpleasant. "You are good with bottled water. You are good with boiled water."

Another thing to avoid in your drinks is ice cubes.

"You don’t think about water in ice cubes," says Dr. Kermott.

And it’s not just avoiding drinking water, but also water that is used to clean food.

"You have to think about fruits and vegetables that are raw that are washed in water," says Dr. Kermott. "You cannot have those."

Fresh fruit is fine, as long as you peel it yourself. And, as far as other food, make sure it’s well-done. Avoid eating anything raw or semicooked.

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