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Despite the warnings below, diarrhoea is the only medical problem you're likely to encounter in Jordan. No one, however cautious, seems to avoid it altogether, largely because the bacteria in Jordanian food are different from, and more numerous than, bacteria in the West. An attack of the runs is just your stomach's natural reaction to unfamiliar bacteria.

For this reason, instant recourse to drugs such as Imodium or Lomotil that plug you up (in fact what they do is paralyze your gut so it can't work to rid itself of infection) is inadvisable; you should only use them if you absolutely must travel (e.g. if you're flying) The best thing to do when diarrhea strikes is to wait up, eat nothing for at least 24 hours and let it run its course, while constantly replacing the fluids and salts that you're flushing away. In hot conditions you lose so much water through diarrhea that you can go from normal to seriously dehydrated in a matter of hours, and at maintaining fluid intake (even if it all rushes out again) is vitally important.

Re-hydration solutions such as Dioralyte or Electrosol are widely available in Jordan, sold in sachets for dissolving in a glassful of clean water (they're often mistakenly marketed as being for babies only), and these will make you feel better and stronger than any other treatment. If you can't get the sachets, make up your own solution with one heaped teaspoon of salt and twelve level tea- spoons of sugar added to a 1.5-litre bottle of mineral water. Even when chilled this will taste absolutely disgusting, and may make you retch, but you should keep downing it, whether or not the diarrhea is continuing - at least one bottle of the stuff in a day interspersed with two more bottles of fresh water. Bouts of diarrhea rarely last longer than 24-48 hours, but note that they can render the contraceptive pill ineffective.

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