La Turista

A traveler's guide to dealing with upset tummies and the tourist runs due to exotic foods

The BRAT diet
When traveler's diarrhea strickes, some swear by the bland, binding BRAT diet: bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.
Whatever they call it—La Turista, Montezuma's Revenge, the Pharaoh's Curse, Delhi Belly—many people will have a bout with diarrhea on the road.

The change in diet and so many rich foods usually sidelines one person in five with diarrhea for a day or two—up to a week if you're particularly prone. It's just one of the many little joys of being a world traveler.

The more exotic the locale, the greater the chance you'll spend a day or two glued to the toilet.

One of travel’s little ironies
Pepto, that wonderful hot pink form of bismuth salicilicyte that goes the extra mile to cure la turista, is actually manufactured in Mexico—the very country that gives most U.S. traveler’s their first taste of Montezuma’s Revenge.

Here's something else funny, I happen to be writing this page from a boat on the Nile, where a few of my fellow travelers thus afflicted have renamed this condition "the Curse of the Pharaohs."

Immodium stops the issue pretty fast, but the Pepto-Bismol people were thrilled a few years ago when university researchers discovered that, in addition to calming sour stomachs, settling indigestion, and helping with that hangover, the pink stuff also cures diarrhea (not just treats the symptoms, but actually kills the bacteria).

Carry the tablet or chewable kind (mmm! Pink chalk discs!); the liquid form presents spillage problems.

Otherwise, just take it easy for a day, ride it out, and stick to bland foods for a few days, like the BRAt diet pictured above.

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This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in August 2011.
All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.