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11 Aug 2014
When your attention turns to thoughts of sunnier climes and taking your hard-earned annual holidays. I know that every moment of those few weeks in the sun is precious. With that in mind, I thought I would offer some simple, practical tips to ensure you stay healthy whilst on your travels, enabling you to relax and enjoy your holidays to the maximum! After all, there’s nothing more frustrating than losing out on potential ‘beach-time’, lying in a darkened room, so here are some handy tips on how to avoid ‘traveller’s diarrhoea’ (TD) whilst on your foreign holidays.
Obviously, some countries carry a higher risk when it comes to the likelihood of falling victim to traveller’s diarrhoea, than others. Developing countries such as those in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America are generally recognised as carrying the greatest risk, but incidents can occur in any foreign location.
The cause of uncomfortable digestive symptoms need not necessarily be exposure to pathogenic bacteria (although many cases do involve pathogens - see Glossary for definition: pathogenic bacteria), in some incidences symptoms can simply be the result of a dramatic change in diet and exposure to different types of bacteria than we are used to. If pathogenic bacteria are involved, the most common infective micro-organisms are: E.coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, Giardia and Shigella.
Maintaining a good balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut, is one way to safeguard yourself from digestive upset when travelling. ‘Friendly’ bacteria produce a number of different enzymes which help us to break down our food, so our digestive system copes better with the sudden dietary changes that often accompany a foreign holiday. Additionally, by ensuring adequate colonies of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract, any pathogens ingested are less likely to find space to adhere to the lining of the digestive tract.
The 'friendly' yeast Saccharomyces boulardii has been clinically trialled and found to be effective against traveller's tummy troubles. A study  based on Austrian tourists visiting various countries with a warm climate, proved Saccharomyces boulardii to reduce the likelihood of contracting stomach upsets whilst travelling. Significantly fewer participants in the Saccharomyces boulardii group suffered digestive upsets, in comparison with those in the placebo group.
Health professionals can visit this strain's entry in the Probiotics Database to read more about the research using Saccharomyces boulardii. This friendly yeast can be found in Optibac Saccharomyces boulardii.