Many athletes travel for sports tournaments and competitions. If you are traveling to another country for a marathon, triathlon or a team event, take steps to avoid getting sick.
Diarrhea is the most common travel-related illness. If you develop diarrhea, the dehydration alone can kill your performance.
Here are some simple steps to at least decrease your risk of developing diarrhea when you compete in a different country.
Prevent diarrhea tip: Take bismuth subsalicylate.
Many experts suggest taking bismuth subsalicylate as a preventative measure. Talk to your doctor, but taking it on a regular basis, even if you don’t have diarrhea currently, might help you avoid it.
Prevent diarrhea tip: Avoid tap water, ice and drinks with ice.
Most cases of diarrhea when traveling are caused by contaminated food and water. Try to avoid drinking tap water and anything made with tap water.
Ice and iced drinks may pose a real risk because freezing doesn’t always kill the bacteria and other organisms that could be in the water. Avoid sodas and other drinks from a soda fountain because the water used comes from tap water.
Instead, drink bottled water or boil any tap water you consume.
Prevent diarrhea tip: Be careful with what you eat.
Food is a major source of bacteria that can cause diarrhea, like E coli. Avoid fresh fruit and vegetables, unpasteurized dairy products, undercooked meats and other foods that could be contaminated.
Prevent diarrhea tip: Avoid antibiotics.
Antibiotics might effectively prevent diarrhea when you travel, but many infectious disease specialists worry about creating drug-resistant bacteria. Plus, antibiotics can have side effects. Talk to your doctor if you feel antibiotics are necessary for your trip.
I’m not an infectious disease specialist, so you should discuss taking any medication or any other step to prevent illness when you travel with your doctor.