Travellers’ Diarrhoea Treatment
Order your travellers’ diarrhoea treatment online and have it delivered or collected in just a few days.
Prices from £27.00
One of our doctors will review your order and prescribe a treatment if suitable. How to Order
Get your travellers’ diarrhoea treatment before you depart, quickly and without any fuss, so you can focus on enjoying your travel plans.
You can read more about travellers’ diarrhoea at the bottom of this page. Or create an online account today to message one of our doctors for more information, for free.
Why choose us?
- Order and pay for your treatment online
- Your information and country of destination is reviewed by one of our doctors
- Treatment is sent out to your home, or you can collect from an Asda pharmacy
- No need to wait for a face to face appointment
Symptoms of travellers’ diarrhoea
Mild travellers’ diarrhoea
Most cases of travellers’ diarrhoea are very mild and will go away on their own after 3 or 4 days. Some cases are worse and may last longer. Symptoms of mild travellers’ diarrhoea include having 3 or more loose or watery poos in 24 hours.
If you do not get diarrhoea symptoms often and it does not affect your day to day activities, then it is probably a mild case of travellers’ diarrhoea. Diarrhoea takes water out of your body, and you can get dehydrated quickly. If you have mild diarrhoea, you should drink plenty of fluids during the day. You should try not to drink alcohol if you have diarrhoea, as this can make you more dehydrated.
Severe travellers’ diarrhoea
You might have severe travellers’ diarrhoea if you:
- have 6 or more loose or watery poos in 24 hours
- cannot continue with normal day to day things
- have bad pains in your stomach
- are being sick
- have blood or slime in your poo
You need to see a doctor or go to a hospital if you have any of these symptoms.
Travellers’ diarrhoea is a common illness that you may get on holiday, or on your travels in certain countries. It can be caused by germs, viruses, and parasites. You catch these germs or parasites by eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated by them. A sudden change in what you eat can also make your poo loose or runny. If you’re abroad and eating hot, spicy, or oily foods this can also cause stomach upsets and diarrhoea.
You might have travellers’ diarrhoea if you get 3 or more watery or loose poos in 24 hours. Normally the diarrhoea is mild and will only last for 3 to 5 days before getting better. Most people who do get travellers’ diarrhoea do so during the first week of their holiday.
Although it is a common condition you can try to avoid getting diarrhoea when you’re travelling by washing your hands regularly.
You should wash your hands:
- before you eat or drink
- before and after making a meal
- after you use the toilet
- after visiting shops or markets that sell food
- if you touch any animals
You can use a hand sanitiser if you are not able to wash your hands with soap and water.
Travellers’ diarrhoea can be caused by different types of bacteria. An antibiotic is used to treat the illness. This fights the bacteria and helps your body to get better. Our doctors usually use a medicine called azithromycin to help you get better from travellers’ diarrhoea.
Azithromycin stops bacteria from growing and spreading. It’s used to stop a lot of different types of bacteria that cause infection. For travellers’ diarrhoea, azithromycin is used because it is good at stopping some of the types of bacteria that usually cause diarrhoea.
Our doctors will tell you how and when to take your medicine, but the normal dose is 1 tablet a day, and tablets are taken for a total of 3 days. You should take your tablets with a glass of safe water. You can take the medicine with or without food.
If your diarrhoea does not get better or you have any of the severe symptoms described above, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible.
All medicines can have side effects, though that does not mean everybody gets them. If you use azithromycin tablets for travellers’ diarrhoea you might get some of the following side effects.
Common side effects include:
- stomach pain
- feeling sick
- feeling dizzy
- pins and needles
- low appetite
- rashes or itching
- pain in your joints
- feeling tired or weak
- problems with your sight or hearing
Azithromycin can cause some other side effects. These are very rare, but you should talk to your doctor if you get any of these side effects. You can contact our friendly doctors using our secure online messaging service if you have registered for an account with us.
Rare side effects include:
- blisters on your skin
- feeling anxious
- skin that is more sensitive to light
- feeling sleepy
- not being able to sleep
- ringing sounds in your ears
- faster heartbeat
- pains in your chest
- finding it hard to poo
- feeling very weak
All medicines have a risk of causing an allergic reaction. If you get any of the following side effects, you must seek medical attention right away. If you are abroad on holiday, you should visit the nearest hospital or doctors.
Side effects that show an allergic reaction can include:
- a swollen face, lips, tongue, or mouth
- a bad rash
- diarrhoea that gets worse or has blood in it
- a very rapid heartbeat
- wheezing or finding it hard to breathe
Azithromycin is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding to make sure that it is safe for you to take.
When you order azithromycin from us you will need to fill in a questionnaire. You should tell our doctors about any other medicine you take. Azithromycin does affect some other types of medication.
- some medicines that treat migraine
- ciclosporin or tacrolimus
- medicine for gout
- some medicines used to treat heart problems
- some HIV medications
Azithromycin is safe for adults and children, but you should tell your doctor if you have:
- had an allergic reaction in the past
- kidney or liver problems
- heart problems
- diarrhoea when you take antibiotics
- a condition called myasthenia gravis
If you have diarrhoea, it is important to drink plenty of fluids. You should only drink safe water and try not to drink alcohol until you are feeling better. You can eat normally when you take azithromycin but if you have diarrhoea you should stick to food that is not too spicy or oily. Eat regularly but keep your food simple until you are feeling better.
Good hygiene and keeping your hands clean are simple ways to avoid getting travellers’ diarrhoea in the first place. In places where sanitation and hygiene are poor, this is very important. Other things that you can do to not catch travellers’ diarrhoea are:
- make sure that any food you eat is properly cooked.
- avoid salads and cold foods
- be mindful where you eat
You can also use rehydration salts added to water to help get better from travellers’ diarrhoea. You can order these before you go on holiday and take them with you. Bismuth subsalicylate (sold as Pepto-Bismol) is an over the counter medicine that can treat travellers’ diarrhoea. It is not safe for everybody, and you should check with a pharmacist before using it.
Ciprofloxacin is another medicine that was used to treat travellers’ diarrhoea. Ciprofloxacin is an antibiotic, but over time germs and bacteria become resistant to some antibiotics if they are used a lot. This means that an antibiotic does not work against the bacteria anymore. Ciprofloxacin does not work as well as it used to, which means it might not help you recover.
Dr Kathryn Basford
Dr Kathryn Basford is a qualified GP who works as a GP in London, as well as with ZAVA. She graduated from the University of Manchester and completed her GP training through Whipps Cross Hospital in London.Meet our doctors
Article created: 01 Sep 2021
Last reviewed: 01 Sep 2021
Azithromycin patient information leaflet (2021) EMC [accessed 11/08/2021]
Diarrhoea – prevention and advice for travellers (2019) NICE [accessed 11/08/2021]
Diarrhoea and vomiting (2020) NHS online [accessed 12/08/2021]
Scenario: diarrhoea – prevention and advice for travellers (2019) NICE [accessed 11/08/2021]
Travellers’ diarrhoea (2021) NHS Scotland [accessed 12/08/2021]