Not Convinced? Proven Tips on Avoiding Travelers' Diarrhea

Sunday, March 25, 2007

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Don't

* Drink tap water or use it to brush your teeth. Use bottled water instead.

* Use ice made from tap water. If in doubt, do without.

* Eat raw fruit or vegetables -- even lettuce and fruit salad. Exception: fruit that you peel yourself.

* Eat raw or rare fish or meat.

* Eat meat or shellfish that's not hot when served to you.

* Eat unpasteurized dairy products.

* Eat food from street vendors.

* Swim in streams or lakes.

Do

* Keep bottled water with you all the time, and keep some by the sink for brushing your teeth.

* Use antiseptic gel or hand wipes instead of tap water to clean your hands.

* Drink canned or bottled carbonated drinks (skip the ice!), beer, wine, and coffee and tea made with boiled water.

* Consider taking Pepto-Bismol as a preventive measure. According to the CDC, some studies show it might help ward off travelers' diarrhea. But it contains aspirin, so check with your doctor before taking it.

SOURCES: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://www.cdc.gov; search for "travelers' diarrhea"). "Preventing and Treating Traveler's Diarrhea," American Family Physician, July 1999 (http://www.aafp.org).

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