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Download the 'Can I eat this' app and prevent traveller's diarrhoea

Written by Editorial Team |Updated : October 7, 2014 6:36 PM IST

gastroenteritis-manFor those who are gastronomically adventurous, travelling is hardly any fun without savouring the succulent local dishes and drinks. Even as they soak themselves in the fresh flavours of a new destination, researchers have now developed an app to help travellers avoid what's commonly known as traveller's diarrhoea, a condition that affects an estimated 10 million travellers each year. Called 'Can I Eat This?', the app asks travellers to select the country they are visiting and answer a few questions about the item they are thinking of consuming. (Read: How can we solve India's diarrhoea problem?)

They need to answer questions such as whether the food item or the beverage was bought from a street vendor and whether it was cooked. 'With 'Can I Eat This?', you can be more confident that your food and drink choices would not make you spend your international trip in the bathroom," informed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a US government public health agency that developed the app. The app tells a prospective traveller to India that if a drink contains ice it is better to avoid it because, as the app explains, ice is usually made with tap water which can be unsafe in some countries, including India. (Read: Tips to manage diarrhoea in children)

The app is available for download on Andriod or iOS platform.

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What is diarrhoea?

Diarrhoea is a disease that is spread from one person to another due to infection from an organism. According to statistics, India falls behind the rest of the world because of the large number of people who do not have access to proper bathrooms which leads to open defecation, a practice common in rural parts of the country.

What's causing the diarrhoea?

Most commonly, diarrhoea is caused due to an infection, either by eating contaminated food (food poisoning), drinking unclean water or through transmission from a person who is suffering from the condition. Apart from this there are certain non-infectious conditions that can be the cause of diarrhoea. Inflammation in the stomach lining, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis (a condition where a pouch forms in the wall of the stomach and gets infected), lactose intolerance (allergy to milk), allergies to certain foods, certain medications, side effect of certain surgeries (gallbladder removal or the removal of some part of the intestine) could also cause diarrhoea.

Treatment and self-care of diarrhoea:

Keep yourself well hydrated: According to the WHO 760,000 children under the age of five die globally every year due to diarrhoea. And most of these deaths are due to dehydration. During a bout of diarrhoea one loses a lot of essential electrolytes from the body very quickly, dehydration can set in if these electrolytes are not replaced adequately. So, it is a good idea to have water with either an electrolyte solution available at any chemist shop or with salt and sugar at regular intervals. If one suffers from vomiting along with diarrhoea, it is important to have a few sips of water every twenty to thirty minutes.

Avoid fatty and spicy foods: These kind of foods are difficult to digest and can lead to further inflammation of an already troubled stomach. So, stick to easily digestible foods likekhichdi or curd rice. (Read: Diarrhoea causes, symptoms,treatment and prevention)

With inputs from IANS

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