Prescription Pad
Side box


  • If diarrhea lasts longer than 3 days
  • If blood, mucus, or worms are seen in stool
  • If you have pain in the abdomen   or rectum
  • If your temperature is greater than 102°F
  • If severe headache develops
  • If you have signs of water loss including dry mouth, excessive thirst, little or no urination, or feel lightheaded
  • If your immune system   is weakened by another condition such as HIV   or cancer  
  • If your symptoms do not improve when you drink fluids or use nonprescription medications for diarrhea  
When to go to the hospital
  • Continuing bloody diarrhea
  • Severe weakness
  • Passing out
Self-Care at Home
  • Drink 2-3 quarts of fluid per day. In the first 24 hours the best fluids to drink are bottled fruit juices and beverages, caffeine-free soft drinks, hot tea, and broth.
  • During the next 24 hours, eat bland foods such as rice, soup, bread, crackers, eggs, and cereals. Advance to regular foods after 2-3 days.
  • With more severe cases, over-the-counter medications may help reduce symptoms and shorten the time they last.
    • Antimotility agents, such as loperamide (Imodium), give the stools more consistency and provide some relief from your symptoms.
    • Bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) is also moderately effective. Use according to package directions or upon direction of your doctor.


  • Avoid these foods when traveling:
    • Raw vegetables
    • Raw fish, meat, and dairy products
    • Raw leafy vegetables
    • Unpeeled fruits
    • Tap water
    • Ice
    • Any food from street vendors
  • You may safely eat or drink these items:
    • Well-cooked fish, meats, and vegetables served hot
    • Carbonated beverages
    • Boiled water (3-5 minutes)
    • If boiling water is not possible, other options include putting tincture of iodine drops in water (5 drops per quart of water), use of tetracycline drops in water, or chlorine bleach to treat water (2 drops per quart of water). These preparations can be obtained from camping and sporting goods stores.
    • It is best to see your physician prior to foreign travel and to bring the necessary medications with you to prevent any unnecessary trips to doctors or hospitals in foreign countries.
  • The use of a single daily dose of an antibiotic is up to 90% effective in preventing traveler’s diarrhea. Preventive use of antibiotics is not routinely recommended except in special circumstances such as travelers with weakened immune systems  , those with significant other medical illnesses, or for people traveling to very high-risk areas.


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