The frequent passage of watery and loose stools, which is often accompanied by abdominal cramps, bloating and flatulence is defined as diarrhea. A short-term and occasional bout of diarrhea is annoying instead of a cause for alarm. However, if diarrhea lasts for a few days, it can be a symptom of some serious problem and can lead to weakness and dehydration if it is left untreated. Luckily, there are some steps that can be taken to ensure you don’t become a victim of this problem, especially when you are traveling.

Listed below are some of the top tips that can help you in preventing diarrhea:

Keep your hands clean

Infection from some kind of microorganism, whether bacterial, parasitic or viral, is one of the most common causes of acute bouts of diarrhea. Contaminated hands are often the way infections are transmitted into the body. Hence, a simple way to prevent diarrhea is to wash your hands often with soap and clean water. Always wash them after using the bathroom and before every meal.

Wash fresh fruits and vegetables

The insect larvae and manure in the soil often contaminates the surface of the fresh fruits and vegetables with parasites and bacteria like E.coli.Therefore, fresh produce should never be consumed before it is washed. Let it soak in warm water for at least half an hour and then scrub it with some baking soda before washing. Other natural disinfectants you can use are citric acid, white vinegar, salty water and fresh lemon juice.

Drink clean water

Drinking dirty or contaminated water is also one of the major causes of diarrhea. Tap water in the United States is disinfected with chlorine and other chemicals, but the same cannot be said for water in other countries. Drinking filtered water is a good idea in this situation. You can either purchase bottled water while traveling or get a whole house water filter if you are planning to stay. Always be on your guard because contaminated water can cause other dangerous diseases as well. You can find some interesting information in this regards here.

Perishable food should be cooked thoroughly

Another common cause of diarrhea is food poisoning, which is your food’s bacterial contamination. There are some perishable food items that should be thoroughly cooked because they are more prone to bacteria. These include items such as steak, eggs, seafood, poultry, and hamburger. Raw meat should be disinfected and cooked in fry pans, pressure cookers, woks and well-scrubbed BBQ grills instead of microwaves because the latter is not effective at getting rid of the bacteria.

Don’t eat foods that trigger diarrhea

There are some foods that are more likely to create some intestinal or stomach irritation and cramps that can cause diarrhea in people who have digestive issues or sensitive GI systems. These include sweet baked goods, high-fructose foods, those with too much insoluble fiber, spicy sauces and also deep-fried fatty foods. Beverages like carbonated soda, coffee and other caffeine-rich drinks can also contribute to diarrhea.

Consult a doctor for medications

If you have diarrhea frequently, it is better to consult a doctor to ensure you don’t have a long-term problem and to get it treated properly. They are going to give you antibiotics because they are effective in fighting bacterial infection in the short-term. They can kill the bad bacteria and create a balance between the good and bad bacteria in your large intestine to resolve the problem. Probiotic supplements may also be recommended in some cases if the numbers of good bacteria need a boost.

Following these tips can aid you in avoiding diarrhea in the long run and keep your stomach healthy and happy.