Diarrhea when traveling: do not take antibiotics right away

Diarrhea on vacation is by far the most common travel sickness. With antibiotics travel diarrhea should be treated only in an emergency.

Diarrhea when traveling: do not take antibiotics right away

Diarrhea is by far the most common illness on the road. Almost everyone knows the term "Montezuma's" revenge as a synonym for traveler's diarrhea. And with good reason: especially in Central and South America, but also in Asia and Africa, diarrheal diseases are common. Often this diarrhea goes away within a few days by itself. Diarrhea stopper such as x and y can often shorten the duration of the disease - and are therefore considered to be recommended. On the other hand, travel medicine experts warn against premature use of antibiotics. According to the Center for Travel Medicine (CRM), antibiotics significantly increase the risk of colonizing multidrug-resistant bacteria in the gut.

The CRM relies on a recent study from Finland. Researchers from the University of Helsinki had examined stool samples from 430 subjects and returned from holiday regions with problematic hygiene conditions. Two-thirds of the participants had diarrhea during their vacation. The result of the before-and-after studies: Subjects who had antibiotic diarrhea during their vacation showed up to 4 times as many multidrug-resistant bacteria as subjects who had not used travel diarrhea antibiotics.

The authors of the study call for a fight against the spread of resistant intestinal bacteria. Most promising means for this was the education, how to avoid diarrhea by simple hygienic measures. In addition, physicians should advise their patients not to resort to antibiotics for mild or moderate diarrhea. The doctors themselves also appeal to the researchers: The prescriptions of antibiotics in intestinal infections must be handled much more restrictive.

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