Things to avoid
On the whole, South Africa has very good mains water supplies. Don’t drink tap water unless you are certain it is from a safe mains supply.
Don’t even brush your teeth in it or use it to make ice. Instead, drink bottled water, fizzy drinks, or hot coffee or tea made with freshly boiled water.
Avoid unpasteurised milk or dairy products.
Avoid raw fruits and vegetables unless you can peel them yourself.
Don’t eat raw or rare meat and fish.
Don’t eat meat or shellfish that isn’t hot when it’s served.
Don’t eat food from street vendors.
Wash your hands after going to the toilet and before eating.
Don’t swim in lakes or streams.
Keep having plenty to drink so you don’t get dehydrated.
Medicines that slow down bowel movements can make your symptoms better. They can also help get rid of diarrhoea more quickly. They include loperamide (Imodium) and co-phenotrope (Dymotil or Lomotil).
If your diarrhoea lasts longer than a few days, or if you’re too ill to eat or drink, or if you have blood in your stools, it’s important to see a doctor.
If your diarrhoea is caused by bacteria, antibiotics can help.
If your diarrhoea is caused by a virus, antibiotics won’t work.
It’s important to wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet and before preparing food. By doing this, you may stop diarrhoea spreading to other people.
NHS Direct: Best treatments Health Overview
Immunisations & vaccinations
Avoid a DVT on long journeys
Avoid Earache when flying
Common causes of diarrhoea
You can catch Salmonella from contaminated food or from another person who has it.
This is the most common cause of bacterial diarrhoea in Britain. You catch it by eating undercooked meat (especially poultry), by handling raw meat or poultry, or by drinking unpasteurised milk or untreated water. You can also catch it from pets that have diarrhoea. It can occasionally be passed from person to person.
Diarrhoea caused by Shigella is also called bacillary dysentery. You can catch Shigella from drinking contaminated water or from eating food that has been washed in contaminated water (like salad or fruit). You can also catch it from another person. Shigella is one cause of travellers’ diarrhoea.
E. coli (Escherichia coli)
These bacteria live naturally in the intestines of people and animals. They’re usually harmless. However, some types of E. coli can make you ill. You can catch E. coli from contaminated food, from other people who have E. coli, or through contact with infected animals. E. coli is the most common cause of travellers’ diarrhoea.
Viruses are another cause of diarrhoea. Diarrhoea caused by a virus often breaks out in families, schools or communities. Antibiotics don’t work against viruses.
Things to avoid