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.
Commonly known as a “Boiler Maker”.