MYTH: Mexican people can drink their water because they are used to it, but it makes foreigners sick. Bad water is bad water; it makes anyone who drinks it sick, even Mexicans.
DID YOU KNOW that “heat exhaustion” and “dehydration” produce similar symptoms to Montezuma’s Revenge?
DID YOU KNOW that eating lots of guacamole and drinking beer can make you sick?
DID YOU KNOW that coconut products are a natural laxative?
WHAT EXACTLY IS MONTEZUMA’S REVENGE?
According to the ADAM Medical Encyclopedia:
Montezuma’s Revenge aka: Traveler’s Diarrhea
Traveler’s diarrhea describes diarrhea that frequently attacks those visiting third-world or developing countries. Traveler’s diarrhea diet refers to the appropriate food and fluids to consume if you develop traveler’s diarrhea.
Bacteria and the toxins that cause traveler’s diarrhea occur in areas with contaminated water supplies, poor sewage systems, or inadequate food handling. People living in these areas often don’t get sick because their bodies have developed some degree of immunity.
Traveler’s diarrhea is rarely life-threatening for adults. It is more serious in children as it can frequently lead to dehydration. You can decrease your risk of developing traveler’s diarrhea by avoiding water and food that may be contaminated. The goal of traveler’s diarrhea diet is to minimize the impact of this illness and avoid severe dehydration.
Common related or mistaken diagnosis:
NOTE: Over use of insect repellent can also make you sick. Of course NO manufacturer will admit this but simply ask why people who “work” in the jungle don’t use it.
NON MEDICAL VERSION OF MONTEZUMA’S REVENGE
“Bill” from Minnesota takes his family to the Bahia on the Mayan Riviera for one week. There, Bill sits in the blistering sun for 5 days. He is constantly in and out of the kid’s pool [swallowing pool water] and the ocean [swallowing sea water]. When not playing with the kids he is usually found around food. Bill is eating massive breakfasts every day. Soon as the beach buffet opens he is there filling up on chicken wings.
Bill loves the lunch buffet and stuffs himself silly, just in case he doesn’t like what’s on the menu for dinner. After lunch Bill hits the pool but feels the need to eat a hamburger. He’s not hungry but the BBQ joint is right next to the pool where he is sitting. He orders two burgers and a hot-dog.
By now Bill’s tired and thirsty. The three beers after breakfast mixed with the two pina calotas for lunch and the shot of tequila have made him kind of drowsy. Time for a picker-upper.
By dinner Bill’s hungry again and there’s pork roast at the buffet tonight and those delicious meatballs again. Bill goes berserk.
After dinner Bill can hardly move but manages to make it to the bar. Time for some of those fancy looking drinks before the entertainment starts. Bill also has a big cigar he bought that afternoon to smoke with his exotic drinks [Bill doesn’t smoke].
Walking back to the room after the show Bill decides to walk via the snack bar for a couple slices of pizza and a beer. Back in the room he opens the mini-fridge and has a Coke with a Mars bar before bed.
After six days of this Bill wakes up one morning with an upset stomach. He is not feeling very well, must be Montezuma’s Revenge.
Treatment According to the ADAM Medical Encyclopedia:
If you or your child get diarrhea, continue eating and drinking. For adults and young children, continue to drink fluids such as fruit juices and soft drinks (non-caffeinated). Salted crackers, soups, and porridge are also recommended.
Dehydration presents the most critical problem, especially for children. Signs of severe dehydration include:
Decreased urine (fewer wet diapers in infants)
Few tears when crying
Oral re-hydration fluids are advised for children with traveler’s diarrhea to prevent severe dehydration. These fluids contain salts (mainly sodium, potassium, and chloride) with small amounts of glucose (a form of sugar). They replace lost fluids and minerals. Most stores in the U.S. sell re-hydration fluids in the infant section. In third world countries, many health agencies stock packets of salts to mix with water.
If re-hydration fluids are not available, you can make an emergency solution as follows:
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons sugar or rice powder
1/4 teaspoon potassium chloride (salt substitute)
1/2 teaspoon trisodium citrate (can be replaced by baking soda)
1 liter of clean water
Give the child small amounts to drink often. Small amounts decrease the likelihood of vomiting. One guideline is to give one cup of fluid for every loose stool passed.
If you or your child has signs of severe dehydration, or if fever or bloody stools develop, seek immediate medical attention.
Contact your doctor for advice. Common prescription/non-prescription drugs that you take:
Cipro Cipro is an antibiotic and should not be used as a preventative measure. If you start taking the Cipro complete the recommended prescription [even after you feel well]. Side effects from taking Cipro can be nausea, stomach cramps, and a sensitivity to sun.
Rifaximin See article below…or
Anadis See article below…or
Lomotil For nausea and stomach irritations.
Acididolphillis Is a bacteria you can get it in tablet form that helps the digestive system.
Pepto-Bismal Some people take a shot before every meal.
Imoduium Use as directed.
Benadryl For unexpected allergic reactions.
When taking any antibiotic try to stay out of the sun, and DON’T DRINK ALCOHOL!
If you get Montezuma’s Revenge/Food Poisoning:
Avoid milk, caffeinated beverages, sport drinks, juices containing sugar, alcohol and soft drinks.
Many herbalists use “activated charcoal”. This absorbs the toxins in the gastrointestinal tract.
Some people recommend eating/taking:
Grapefruit Seed Extract
The Herbs; “Goldenseal” and “Tiphala” as tinctures/powders/capsules and Acidophilus [in supplement form].
Royal Jelly – Good to take during recovery.
For dehydration, take a combination of vitamin C and electrolytes or a multivitamin/mineral supplement.
WHAT TO EXPECT – PRACTICAL ADVICE
You are alone. Nobody at the hotel speaks English, it is getting late and you are starting to feel nauseous. The barfing begins.
This has happened to me once in Campeche, after eating a chicken sandwich and once in Guatemala, from an ice-cube. Here is my advice.
Symptoms… you will start to feel nauseous and dizzy. You may feel your stomach start to gurgle with some minor discomfort. Get to your hotel room quick and prepare.
The tools you will need to survive are water [lots of it], a bucket, Kleenex/TP, towels and blankets. A room with a television helps too. If this occurs anytime close to nightfall, you will be up all night suffering and a TV helps to pass the time.
It starts… The time it takes to go from being nauseous to full-tilt puking differs from case to case. The nauseousness simply intensifies until you can no longer bear it and the barfing and diarrhea starts. This is why you should retreat to your hotel room soon as you feel it coming on.
I don’t recommended you take any form of pharmaceutical drug at this point [*I* am NO doctor-this is simply my advice], especially anything that will attempt to hinder or stop the puking/diarrhea. You want to get it “out of you”, not keep it in you, or stop it.
During your ordeal you will go from hot-sweats to cold-chills. Use blankets to keep warm when you are freezing. If your room has a plastic stool or chair you can put that in the shower and sit with warm/hot water flowing over you. If the room has air-conditioning you can crank that up when you go into heat mode.
The trick is to drink “lots” of water, continuously. Every time you puke you MUST drink water. Every time you go to the bathroom, you MUST drink water. This will reach a point where you cannot drink anymore, but you MUST. You will keep puking, long after there is nothing left in your stomach, so the water helps in that it gives you something to throw up.
Dehydration is a main concern as well and may occur if you do not replenish your fluids. There are “electrolyte” remedies available in pharmacies that you can mix with water to replenish the minerals you are expelling. What you can do is mix a little salt and sugar in the water you are drinking. Not much, just a pinch per glass.
Do Not Smoke… being around cigarette smoke will make you feel worse. Do not drink any alcohol.
How long it lasts depends on a number of factors. Even after it is over your body will be sore, especially your stomach muscles and your bum. Once it is over however, it feels like the tail end of a bad flu. What you need to do now is eat something, but it should be fruit or vegetable. Soup is the perfect thing. Stay away from greasy fried food until you have recovered fully.
All in all, the ordeal lasts around 24 hrs or longer depending on your recovery rate. For some people it can last days.
If The Sickness Persists… you need to see a doctor or go to a hospital.
What we have noticed is that every country we visit appears to have their own “cooking oils”. You really notice this when visiting Cuba as their oil has a very distinct aroma.
We have a theory that what upsets a lot of people’s stomach is not the food, not any virus or contaminate, but cooking oil.
We believe that the more fried food you eat the more cooking oil you digest and over a few days this oil acts as a laxative in some people and an irritant in others to the point of diarrhea.
You may notice that popcorn or french-fries taste different in Mexico. This is because of the cooking oil they use.
Over time your body adjusts to the new oil(s) but if you are just there for a one/two week vacation staying at an all-inclusive and you are stuffing your face every waking moment then you will probably be digesting lots of different cooking oil and your body may respond to it.
NOTE: This is our theory and we have no medical documentation to support this.
The farmers in some countries use human waist to fertilize their crops. These crops end up in the USA, Canada and Mexico. Mexican farmers are not known for doing this. It is actually frowned upon.
If you get Montezuma’s Revenge that does not go away or returns a short while after your first sickness then you need to see a doctor and get tested for e coli.
It is not common for people traveling in Mexico to get e coli but it can happen.
Some people like to eat hashish. Although not that common in Mexico, you can get it. What people don’t know is that many varieties of hash are made with animal dung, usually from a camel or cow. There can be e coli in the dung. If you eat the hash you can contract e coli.
Shigella is a bacteria with symptoms similar to Salmonella. It is food or water borne and is usually transmitted into food via poor hygiene.
Ingredients for a “Montezuma’s Revenge”:
12 oz Corona lager 1 oz Jose Cuervo Especial gold tequila
Drop a shot glass filled with the “Jose Cuervo tequila” into a regular Corona beer, and serve.