Traveling the world on a diarrhea-free holiday

If you plan to take a trip with friends or family on your next vacation, it's best to plan ahead to avoid any setbacks that could turn into a nightmare. On this occasion we are not referring to the budget you must invest in or the number of suitcases you plan to take with you. These lines are dedicated to exposing the microbiological risks that can be encountered and can lead us to spend our days off in a hospital room.

Diarea-free holidays
Diarea-free holidays

To avoid this we must pay attention to the good hygiene practices of the hotel we will choose, to the food habits of the region we visit and to the safety of the food we consume. The following are the main microorganisms that we may encounter during our vacation time.

Fungi, spores, and some microscopic insects will be present, without a doubt, in the sheets, pillows, and carpets of the hotel room. These can cause allergies, so we should require frequent changes (at least once a week). In addition, it is advisable to request that the TV remote control and telephone handset be properly disinfected, as a large amount (millions!) of bacteria can remain there.

Those who enjoy swimming pools are advised not to drink the water, regardless of whether the water is chlorinated, as there is a risk of ingesting Giardia lamblia, an intestinal parasite that is highly resistant to the levels of disinfection used in swimming pools. This microorganism causes severe abdominal pain accompanied by severe diarrhea.

When consuming food in any type of establishment, we must ensure that good hygiene practices are applied, both in those who prepare the dishes and in the handling of the supplies themselves; otherwise, we may face a severe picture of salmonellosis, typhoid fever or hepatitis. Any of these diseases cause diarrhea as the first symptom, but in susceptible people, these diseases can have serious complications.

Finally, to keep the ghost of diarrhoea away from our holidays, it is advisable to always carry disinfectant agents such as wipes impregnated with disinfectant and alcohol-based gel, drink only purified water and try to eat cooked food; if you cannot resist eating fresh seafood, make sure it is properly disinfected.

Collaboration of Cristóbal Chaidez Quiroz, CIAD researcher