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How to cope with an upset stomach on holiday

How to cope with an upset stomach on holiday
Having an upset stomach on holiday can ruin your trip. Here are some tips on how to cope with and control this issue when you're away
The combination of nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain or cramping is a classic indication of gastrointestinal infections or food poisoning from contaminated food or drink. In most cases, home treatment quickly clears up the problem.
Although cases of diarrhoea tend to last only a day or two and require no medication, moderate to severe diarrhoea is often best treated with over-the-counter remedies. Products that contain loperamide will bring immediate relief from diarrhoea, but make sure you seek medical advice if symptoms aren’t better within two days, get worse or if other problems develop.

How to help control diarrhoea

Drinking water and eating bland foods are key in helping to settle your stomach. Credit: Kiwis
Even if you’re feeling sick, try to take frequent sips of plain water, herb teas, diluted juice or clear soups. This is important for everyone but especially for babies, young children, older people and those with existing illnesses, who are more susceptible to dehydration. Those who are vulnerable should take a sip every 10 minutes or so.
"It is especially important for babies, young children, older people and those with existing illnesses to drink water frequently"
As symptoms improve, eat only soft, bland foods to maintain nutrition and reduce symptoms until you’re feeling better.
When you begin to feel like eating normally, be sure to steer clear of fatty and fried foods, which can make you feel nauseous and worsen diarrhoea. It is important to avoid dairy products, citrus fruits and sugar-laden foods or drinks as well. Continue to have meals with bland, starchy foods, such as rice, toast, pasta and potatoes.

Food poisoning and upset stomachs

Having an upset stomach may be because of something you have eaten. Credit: Aaron Amat
Food poisoning is the result of eating food that has become contaminated by germs or other harmful substances. The symptoms are very similar to those of a non-food-related gastrointestinal infection, but often come on more suddenly.
It most commonly occurs as a result of poor hygiene in the preparation of food or the consumption of food that has been kept for too long or in the wrong conditions. You can easily prevent food poisoning at home by paying scrupulous attention to hygiene precautions, and food storage and preparation.

How to avoid contaminated food

“Travellers” diarrhoea can ruin the most perfect holiday or the most vital business trip. The usual cause is the consumption of contaminated food or drinking water. If you have no immunity to local bugs, you may develop symptoms even if residents can eat and drink the same fare with no adverse effects.
"The usual cause of an upset stomach is the consumption of contaminated food or water"
Do not drink non-bottled water or drinks containing ice cubes, and use bottled water for cleaning teeth. Remember to avoid seafood as well as reheated foods and uncooked foods that may have been washed in contaminated water, such as salads. 

Controlling constipation

Woman struggling with stomach
Constipation can be due to caused by many reasons, both biological and mental.  Credit: Povozniuk
Although this complaint is not usually a serious risk to health, it is very common in the UK, particularly among less active people, and among those whose diet does not contain sufficient fibre. The normal frequency of bowel movements ranges from three times a day to three times a week.
"Constipation is common particularly among less active people and those whose diet does not contain sufficient fibre"
As well as infrequent bowel movements, constipation means having hard stools that are difficult to pass, leading to straining during bowel movements, and the feeling that you have not emptied your bowel completely.
Fortunately, constipation is often temporary. It can be due to medication, illness, the absence of a private toilet, pregnancy or just a change of daily routine, diet or time zone—and there are many simple ways to tackle the problem, such as eating fibrous foods and giving yourself time and privacy to go to the toilet. 
Banner Credit: Upset stomach (IURII KRASILNIKOV)
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