Don’t let traveller’s diarrhea ruin your vacation

Forget battling foreign languages, heavy suitcases, prams and pickpockets; an unrecognised danger for families travelling abroad lies in traveller’s diarrhea – the most common cause of travel related illness around the globe. Traveller’s diarrhea is a highly prevalent health problem affecting up to one in two travellers to high risk destinations. The Dominican Republic and Mexico are part of this high risk group, and are popular vacation destinations. Of the 10 million Canadians departing for overseas trips last year, around 1.9 million were made to Mexico, and over 650,000 were made to the Dominican Republic.

Dehydration is the most severe threat posed by traveller’s diarrhea; a condition that often forces families to change their itineraries and remain bed bound as they battle symptoms of nausea, vomiting, loose bowel actions, abdominal cramps and fever. Dehydration is caused by the sudden loss of fluid and electrolytes through vomiting and diarrhea, and symptoms can include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Dark urine

“Rehydration is the most important aspect of managing traveller’s diarrhea, as the last thing vacation makers want is to end up in a foreign hospital with a family member requiring IV fluids”, says Senior Pharmacist, Colleen Brady. “The ideal treatment for dehydration is an oral rehydration solution, such as Hydralyte, mixed into clean bottled water to restore the fluid and electrolytes that have been lost through vomiting and diarrhea”.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that travellers pack oral rehydration salts when journeying abroad. According to the Government of Canada website; “Packets of oral rehydration salts are available in pharmacies in most countries, although it is recommended to purchase them before leaving Canada and include them in your travel health kit.” According to Brady; “travellers should pack a highly portable format of an oral rehydration solution, such as powder sachets or convenient effervescent tablets, which require no mixing”. Oral rehydration solutions contain the correct balance of sugar and electrolytes and follow the WHO guidelines for rapid and effective rehydration.

Hydralyte is available at leading pharmacies across Canada.

For more information please visit


World Health Organization. International Travel and Health.

Canadian tourism commission. Statistics and figures.

Government of Canada. Oral rehydration solutions, Traveller’s diarrhea.