Traveler’s diarrhea can be caused by change of climate, water and food. You can reduce the risk of contracting it by drinking only bottled or sterilized water (never tap water), avoiding ice in drinks, fruit juices to which water has been added, peeling all fruit, not eating salad or seafood and avoiding ice-cream not of a recognized brand. If suffering from diarrhea, it is advisable to eat little but to drink plenty of clean water with mineral replacement supplements, or fizzy drinks (no fruit juice or milk). Rehydration products, such as Dioralyte, should be taken to replenish lost salts. If it does not clear up or is accompanied by a fever, you should seek medical advice as you may need to take a course of antibiotics. Take with you some anti-diarrhea tablets such as Lomotil or Imodium, but we don’t recommend these be used as a preventative.
If you are travelling to coastal and jungle regions within the tropics, you may enter infected zones and should take an appropriate prophylactic. Which anti-malarials to take depends on a number of variables, such as current illnesses and medication, previous illnesses, pregnancy, previous travel, duration of intended stay, so seek advice from your doctor or Health Centre before traveling. The best widely available repellent (in the UK) is the Jungle Formula range. The effectiveness of repellents depends on the percentage of diethyl toluamide (deet), the active ingredient. If you prefer something natural, Mosiguard can be very effective. Many other brands have only 10-15% deet and are therefore not very effective. Some repellents have up to a 95% concentration - this is very powerful and should not be used for long periods. It also has a deterious effect on leather, plastics and Lycra.
Water-purifying tablets, e.g. Sterotabs, are a useful standby in the jungle - or when trekking off the beaten track but are ineffective against amoebae and give the water an unpleasant taste. Boiling water for 10 minutes will kill amoeba. Mineral water is available at most jungle lodges that we book from here. It is important to ensure that you have a high intake of liquids in tropical and semi-tropical regions. You should also be aware of the fact that the sun is much stronger than at temperate latitudes and sunstroke is a danger. Avoid midday sun on tropical beaches, especially in the summer. Take plenty of high factor sunscreen lotion and sun block.