Talk:Travellers' diarrhea

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Misleading title?[edit]

I thought food poisoning means getting sick from a buildup of bacterial toxins in improperly-stored food rather than from the bacteria themselves. The other possibility is catching dysentery, typhoid, cholera etc. from contaminated food or water might be called fecal-oral contamination(WT-en) LADave 04:20, 11 June 2007 (EDT)

I have a sneaky suspicion that most travellers who find themselves expelling liquids from both ends aren't too concerned about the exact nomenclature — and, as the article already states, it's both a) not very easy and b) too late to figure out what caused the problem. (WT-en) Jpatokal 04:25, 11 June 2007 (EDT)

Treatment differs greatly. If you have food poisoning, you want to neutralize or eliminate the toxins and then possibly treat their aftereffects. You shouldn't be taking antibiotics and in a way, vomiting and diarrhea are your friends provided you avoid dehydration. You should not be taking antibiotics.

If you are sick from fecal-oral contamination you usually need medicine that will kill off the specific organisms, or antibiotics to help your body do that. Diarrhea can be serious enough to warrant rehydration therapy.

Also knowing what whether you have food poisoning or an infection tells you what to do in the future. Food poisoning: eat freshly-cooked food and avoid spoiled ingredients. Infection: improve bathroom sanitation, boil or treat water, avoid salads and unpeeled fruit, exclude flies, get your cook tested and treated. (WT-en) LADave 06:13, 11 June 2007 (EDT)

What if we change the article to "Traveller's tummy issues" or "Common gastro-intestinal problems"? We've managed to get along this far without using the word "fecal" in a article title and I'd love to continue the tradition ;-) (WT-en) Maj 08:43, 11 June 2007 (EDT)
Excuse me for asking the obvious, but just how is a traveler supposed to know if he has food poisoning, or fecal-oral contamination, or any of a dozen conditions that cause similar symptoms? The article should concentrate on a) how to avoid getting sick, b) how to treat basic cases, and c) how to recognize the non-basic cases — eg. anything that's not just food poisoning — and that need professional medical care.
All that said, I wouldn't be averse to renaming this, as, say "Travellers' diarrhea" or something along those lines. (WT-en) Jpatokal 11:18, 11 June 2007 (EDT)
While we are into name changing, Tropical diseases is also in need of a more appropriate title or splitting. At the moment the article includes information on such ailments as influenza, HIV, diarrhea etc etc. I'll raise the issue on the TD Talk page. (WT-en) WindHorse 12:09, 11 June 2007 (EDT)

I moved it. LA Dave is correct; this should have been done long ago. (WT-en) Pashley 06:24, 20 August 2010 (EDT)

Saudi champagne[edit]

Why would soda water be any better than ordinary water? I wouldn't really recommend anything carbonated if you're feeling sick... (WT-en) Jpatokal 11:51, 12 October 2007 (EDT)

Soda water has salts, apple juice has sugars, so the mix approximates rehydration mixture. Also, it tastes good. (WT-en) Pashley 06:24, 20 August 2010 (EDT)

Move to Diarrhea?[edit]

As mentioned in Wikivoyage:Travellers' pub#Usage of the word "travel(l)er" the words travel and traveller are overused, especially in article names. We could consider moving the name of some topics and concepts to names without words derived from travel. /Yvwv (talk) 01:56, 5 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sensible idea. I would support moving to that destination. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 21:37, 21 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In this case however, travellers' diarrhoea is a well established term – we are not just adding a redundant clarification (note that we link to that term in Wikipedia, not to w:Diarrhea). Diarrhoea in general is probably not in scope here other than as side comments, and we do not want to give the impression this is a not-in-scope article or that theory about diarrhoea in general is welcome. We might remove some redundant "travellers'", but let's do that when a specific one feels redundant. --LPfi (talk) 12:37, 22 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for explaining. That makes sense. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 13:32, 22 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yeah, I oppose a move. Ikan Kekek (talk) 13:56, 22 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also oppose; "traveler's diarrhea" is a specific term, not a frivolous use of the word "traveler". --Bigpeteb (talk) 22:12, 22 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oppose per others. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 22:36, 22 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Support moving the article, for SEO reasons. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 11:08, 28 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Ducoral (an oral cholera vaccine effective also against ETEC coli infections) is now mentioned in two places in this article (at "Prevent" and at Complications: "Cholera"), in addition to two places in Infectious diseases (at "Cholera" and at "E. coli diarrheal diseases").

Why use the brand name? Aren't other brands also effective? Can't we leave discussion on cholera prevention and treatment to Infectious diseases? Is this a major point when choosing cholera vaccine (to be discussed in that context). Is the vaccine worthwhile also where cholera vaccination is unnecessary?

LPfi (talk) 09:15, 28 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Should we merge the entire Complications section here into Infectious diseases? Leave only a short statement here that diarrhea may be a symptom of something more serious & advice on when seeing a doctor is necessary. Pashley (talk) 09:34, 28 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think that would be a good move. –LPfi (talk) 12:28, 28 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Food poisoning[edit]

This article was originally called "food poisoning" and was moved to its current title over a decade ago. Some of the discussion is above at #Misleading_title?. I think the original title was misleading & the move was correct.

But should the article be expanded to include discussion of actual food poisoning? Pashley (talk) 12:40, 28 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Not a doctor, so I had to first read w:Foodborne illness (the proper term for what's colloquially called "food poisoning") and w:Travelers' diarrhea and do a bit of internet research. On the one hand, yes, they're distinct medical conditions, which you can tell apart from the primary symptom: food poisoning is vomiting which may come with diarrhea, while travelers' diarrhea is diarrhea that's typically not associated with vomiting. The causes may be different: food poisoning can be caused from infection by bacteria, viruses, or parasites or by ingesting toxins even after the organism that produced them has been killed, whereas travelers' diarrhea is pretty much exclusively from infection. And continuing along that distinction, I would also say that food poisoning is caused by an abnormal contamination of the food which is likely to affect most individuals who eat it, whereas travelers' diarrhea is caused by normal contamination of the food which long-term residents have built up an immunity to.
The same advice for treatment applies to both food poisoning and travelers' diarrhea: expel whatever your body wants to expel, clean up, and rehydrate. And no matter what caused it, you should always pay attention to the symptoms in case it ends up being something worse, which I think is maybe more of a concern for travelers' diarrhea than food poisoning.
I agree with you: calling this page Travellers' diarrhea was entirely appropriate, as it's the most relevant topic for travel. (In fact the WT version of this page shows up quite high in some searches for "travelers diarrhea".) And I definitely have to agree with the original response brought up in #Misleading title?:
most travellers who find themselves expelling liquids from both ends aren't too concerned about the exact nomenclature — and, as the article already states, it's both a) not very easy and b) too late to figure out what caused the problem.
I support your proposal, and think it would be fine to cover food poisoning in this article, except I think we pretty much already do. Other than the differences between "food poisoning" and "travelers' diarrhea" that I just described (which I'm not sure is interesting or relevant to travellers), what else would we add specifically about food poisoning that we don't already cover? --Bigpeteb (talk) 20:43, 28 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Dairy products[edit]

Eat says "Avoid dairy products and oily food." Eating food containing lactobacteria, such as yoghurt, is often recommended to restore a balanced intestinal flora. Is this bad advice, or should we specify what should be avoided or recommended? (To be useful, the food has to contain live bacteria; in many products the culture has been killed in later processing.) –LPfi (talk) 07:21, 30 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've heard the advice to eat yogurt too. According to Wikipedia, the scientific evidence is mixed: "One 2007 review found that probiotics may be safe and effective for prevention of TD, while another review found no benefit. A 2009 review confirmed that more study is needed, as the evidence to date is mixed."Granger (talk · contribs) 07:47, 30 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
edited. Pashley (talk) 10:15, 30 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yogurt is not the only useful product, there are similar and totally different products from other regions, similarly made as a bacteria culture. Also, yogurt with pre-added jam etc. is heated and the culture thus destroyed. The advice should thus be more specific. Why are diary products advised against? Because they spoil easily? Because cheese is hard to digest? –LPfi (talk) 14:34, 30 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My understanding is that they're only helpful if it's probiotic, meaning it contains live cultures. --Bigpeteb (talk) 03:01, 31 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Interesting research[edit]

Not near clinical use yet, but perhaps worth watching: Stopping the sickness: Protein may be key to blocking a nauseating bacterium Pashley (talk) 06:02, 31 March 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]