The term “urinary tract infection,” or UTI, actually refers to a group of infections that can occur anywhere along the urinary system–the bladder, kidneys, ureters, and urethra. However, most cases occur in the bladder or urethra.
Since urinary tract infections include a number of different infections, not all cases will share the same symptoms. In some cases, there may not be any symptoms at all.
A few common ones are:
- A strong need to urinate
- Pain while urinating
- Urine that appears odd in any way
For example, it may be a shade of red, indicating that the urine actually contains blood. A particularly strong smell can also be an indicator of an infection. Very severe infections that occur in the kidneys can cause fever or vomiting, symptoms that may make it seem like you are sick.
Unfortunately, traveling conditions can make UTI’s more likely to happen. This is mainly because there are reduced chances to go to the bathroom while on a road trip. General stress and tiredness contribute to a weakened immune system. In other words, when traveling, you are more likely to get a UTI and less likely to be able to fight it off quickly.
Clearly, the symptoms that I mentioned earlier can make a vacation or business trip very unpleasant, especially if you have to give an important sales presentation. Fortunately, there are several simple preventative measures that you can take. One of these is to eat cranberries. For some reason, higher cranberry intake is associated with a lower risk of UTI’s, although doctors haven’t figured out why yet. You can drink the juice, eat them raw, or even buy cranberry pills from the local pharmacy. Second, if you need to use the bathroom, use the bathroom if at all possible. If you are on a road trip, don’t decide to simply hold it until you stop at a hotel for the night. As discussed earlier, that will increase your risk of infection. Finally, make sure to stay hydrated. This can help an infection go away more quickly as well.
Sadly, these preventatives don’t always work. What do you do if you get a UTI while traveling? Well, the easiest thing to do is to drink lots of liquids, including cranberry juice. However, if you have time, please visit the pharmacy. They will be able to provide you with over-the-counter medications that will usually ensure a quick recovery, which is clearly important. It is possible that the infection still won’t go away. If that happens, then it is imperative that you visit a doctor and get heavy-duty prescription antibiotics–an untreated, fairly lightweight UTI can quickly turn into a much more serious infection.