Avoiding International Bathroom Emergencies: A Traveller’s Guide

A post sponsored by Dukoral Canada

Photo: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas via Wikimedia Commons

Photo: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas via Wikimedia Commons

When you’re on the road, shit happens. But do you know what causes it?

Travellers’ Diarrhea is the most common travel-related illness, spread by eating food or drinking water that is contaminated or through person-to-person contact due to poor hygiene. And it can happen anywhere.

But what’s even more alarming? A recent survey indicates that most Canadians (79%) are unaware of the possible causes, risks, or symptoms associated with illness. We can navigate remote roads and tap into foreign Wifi connections like a Jedi…but we’re ignorant about preventing an international bathroom emergency?

Squat toilet

Photo by Konstantin via Wikimedia Commons

Considering that most of us have turned an international toilette or two into haz mat site, you think we’d be more rectally savvy on the road. So let’s take a moment to review where E.Coli hangs out, and how to keep it out of your carry-on luggage:

Raw fruits and uncooked veggies:

Sometimes you really don’t make friends with salad.

Photo by l0da_ralta via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by l0da_ralta via Wikimedia Commons

Ice cubes:

It probably wasn’t the tequila that kept you on the toilet until 3am but rather the frozen E.Coli cubes in your cocktail.

Photo by Janine via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Janine via Wikimedia Commons

Street food:

Contamination can occur during preparation or when food is left at room temperature…or the scorching hot sun. The truth hurts.

Street foodUnpeeled fruits/vegetables:

Biting into an unpeeled apple didn’t help Snow White, so why would it be any different for you? If it isn’t peeled, take a pass.


Photo by Hans Braxmeier via Wikimedia Commons

Undercooked meat and seafood:

If it’s undercooked, this just spells a toilet disaster no matter where you are.

Mussels PEI

Okay, we get it: adventure travellers don’t like to be held back. But you really don’t have to be! There are some easy things you can do to protect yourself and still have a blast…without an explosive number two situation. Here are a few tips for avoiding Travellers’ Diarrhea caused by E.Coli:

Practise safer eating: Health Canada has extensive list of tips. But take this one lesson with you on the road: boil it, cook it, peel it or leave it!

Stick to bottled or boiled water: This goes for prepping food or infant formula, making ice cubes, cleaning dishes, brushing teeth, and of course, drinking it. Make sure the bottle is factory-sealed. If it’s tap water, boil it for one minute.

Get a portable water purifier: On the road, bottled or boiled water aren’t always viable. But a water purifier can reduce your chances of getting sick. Get advice from someone from MEC or another outdoor adventure store.

Consider getting vaccinated: Needle-phobes rejoice! Dukoral is an oral vaccine that helps prevent travellers’ diarrhea caused by e.coli (ETEC). Drinking the vaccine two weeks before your trip can significantly cut down on your risk of getting sick. Even at $100, nobody wants to spend hours on a plane just to sit on the toilet for a week.

In Canada, you don’t need a prescription to get Dukoral for traveller’s diarrhea, unless you live in Quebec (désolé, dudes). Just ask at your pharmacy or travel clinic. Insider’s tip: some health benefit plans require a prescription to reimburse for Dukoral. So call your insurance company first.

Talk to your care professional to see if Dukoral is right for you (duh!).

Kung Fu KateNow that you’re armed with the info, go forth and travel in all your epic badassery!

For more information on travel health and safety, check out Health Canada’s website or talk to your health care provider.

For more information about Dukoral, check out the website here.

This post was sponsored by Dukoral Canada. All opinions and stories are ours. Sources of information were used from Health Canada and Dukoral Canada.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>