Almost a third of travelers experience some kind of stomach upset or sickness while abroad each year with stomach aches, cramps and diarrhea being top of the list. Food poisoning is a common cause of these symptoms and is something that can, unfortunately, happen anywhere.

If you get sick after a holiday, you need to know that some illnesses can take weeks or even months to appear and so ensure that you let your doctor know that you have been away and where you have been. This can drastically cut the time that it takes to correctly diagnose your disease or illness, allowing treatment to begin much earlier.

Usually, the bacteria which cause diarrhea will expire after 36 hours or so. If your symptoms continue then it is definitely time to see a doctor. Explain where you have been and give details of any medication you have been on, as this could affect what medications will work for you now. Even if you have taken antibiotics or anti-amoebas and they appeared to combat a previous disease, they will not kill the spores that the amoebas or bacteria leave behind. A full examination will be able to tell if you still have spores living inside you, and if you do, it can be easily treated with just a short course of medication.

Remember that many of the serious illnesses such as dengue fever, hepatitis, diphtheria and malaria can all cause similar symptoms to flu and food poisoning. If you suffer any of the following symptoms for more than two or three days, visit your doctor:

Flu-like symptoms
Muscular aches and pains

If there is a department of tropical diseases at your local hospital, you may want to ask to be sent there for a full diagnosis. If you develop a rash at any time during your holiday or after your return, you should seek medical assistance immediately.

But your problem may not be so serious; in fact, statistics say that it probably won’t. You may well be suffering from a short bout of food poisoning which will go away of its own accord within a day or two. When experiencing vomiting and diarrhea, the body easily becomes dehydrated, so replacing fluids and electrolytes is essential for your recovery. The best way to do this is to use rehydration sachets, which should be mixed with water. These can be bought over the counter worldwide.

Somewhat surprisingly, constipation is another of those holiday maladies that can be caused by a change in diet and lack of exercise, or may also be caused by bacteria. The best way to combat constipation is to drink plenty of fluids and eat fibres such as fruit, vegetables and cereals. But avoid excessively sweet foods, coffee, eggs, bread and white rice as these can all either upset the stomach further or help to further bind the compacted feces. If symptoms persist for more than a few days then you should visit the doctor, who may prescribe you with suppositories or an anti-amoeba medication.

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