Discussion in 'Cancun Forum' started by Bubba's Other Mistress, Mar 16, 2007.
Since I wrote this article a few years ago the FDA has approved a new antibiotic specifically for travelers diarrea it's called Rifaxamin, it's approved for this use because it's not a systemic drug it only effects the intestines.This could be handy in a bad overgrowth situation,but as always it's a last resort and still has drawbacks as all antibiotics,it's sold in Mexico as Rifaximina. This original post dealing with prevention is still the best bet.
I like to travel,and have found myself in some not so nice places.
Cancun in general is very hygenic, the water in the hotel zone is fine, I drink it a lot, but it starts to taste tannic after awhile, kind of like old watered down tea, bottled water just tastes a lot better. I always drink bottled water downtown. The ice everywhere is fine.
Apart from the water, food is obviously our next biggest exposure to foreign bacteria. Eating only cooked food is maybe a good idea, but not practical, what about those salsas, salads, and fresh fruit ,and juices everywhere?
Another less thought about exposure is your hands. They grab the bus rails, brush the sand off your feet, and touch lots of public stuff, including the chips entering your mouth.
The next item completely out of our contol is the hygene of the establishment, have the eating utensils and dishes been washed in steaming water? Or by hand in a cold sink. What about the grill surface, how's their refrigeration ect.
The bottom line is you will get lots of exposure, and probably some ingestion of a foreign bacteria, It's a foreign country. All of the above applies to flying on planes, eating out at your local Dennys, or in your own home. It's a fact of nature, don't blame Mexico.
There are hundreds of different bacteria you can ingest in Mexico or at home, some benificial, some a pain in the butt , others downright nasty. All we can do is be prepared and proactive.
Have you ever returned from two weeks in Mexico without problems, just to feel lousy for weeks when you get back? Did you ever stop and think that maybe your intestines had adjusted to the mexican bugs, and now your hometown bacteria are the foreign invaders? Something to ponder.
I personally eat everywhere around Cancun,including taco stands, and places in Palapa park. I'm not concerned, food is the window to a culture and it's my vacation, and I also pack a good first aid kit just in case.(something more than a bottle of Herradura, some duct tape, and a cell phone set on 911 )
Here's my recommendations:
1) I now always take a friendly bacteria supplement everyday while traveling, there is no room for uninvited guests, if they crash the party which is inevitable,these bouncers will kick the #$%@ out of them. Robbing them of nutrients, crowding them, and not allowing them to grow or get a foothold to the point of producing toxins to my system. These ultimate armed guards also help transition back to my hometown biome. I take them for a week before, and a week after travel. Your local crunchy-granola food store will have a whole refrigerator section stocked with about forty different brands of these.The best I've found to date are called KYO-DOPHILLUS the friendly trio L.acidophillus (yogurt bacteria), B bifidium and B longum (they like to set up camp in the upper and lower parts of the intestine). Some people use these daily, and they are even great for infants.
This particular brand is one of the few that don't require refrigeration, they are perfect for travel. 90 capsules ~$10
2) I always carry some of those individually packaged wet wipes,and use them on my hands before dinning.
3)Pepto -bismol tablets are fine if I eat too much, as a preventative they can help, but at what cost? The constipation associated can cause more problems by stoppering up the system.
4) Immodium(2mg Loperamide), what I lovingly call Everlasting Gob Stoppers are effective if you've been purging for awhile and are in danger of dehydration. But if used too early on they will shut the back door on the bad guys only exit, giving them the perfect environment for growth and expansion. You can get really sick if you use this stuff unwisely. If you are purging a lot go to a local farmacia and get a couple of bottles of Mexican Pedialyte solution~$2.50 and drink them down to restore your salts, and ofcourse pound the bottled water.
5)Antibiotics:Those of you that use Cipro as a prophylactic are #1 killing off the good guys as well #2 contributing to worldwide health crisis. Cipro is our last defense against antibiotic-resistant bacteria (anthrax,ect). If we show them our weapons too often they'll figure them out too. Also it is highly likely when you stop using it you will get sick from all the new bugs trying to set up camp. I know antibiotics are OTC in Mexco including Cipro. please don't use any antibiotic unless you are really sick and if you're that sick you should spend the $25 and see a Mexican physician. He may have a rifle type antibiotic, rather than using the Cipro shotgun.
6) Eat Lots and have fun
The rarely discussed or mentioned "travelers constipation", is probably a much more common issue for travelers to Cancun. An incorrectly functioning waste disposal system can also cause bacterial/toxin backup "including bad ones". The clearing or flushing of the system is important to good traveling health.
When I'm in Cancun I eat lots of lobster, shrimp, tortillas, cheese, flan and assorted other intestinal blocking items. Rarely do I get many vegetables or fiber intake in my diet, it's just difficult. To add to the difficulty most people are walking around half dehydrated from mucho cervezas and margaritas, and very little water consumption.
1) Try to drink lots of water,I always consume massive amounts of juice at those great breakfast buffets. My favorite Cancun drink is fresh limonada.
2) Fresh green coconut water is a great, mild laxative if used in small amounts, I can usually find vendors at the mercados downtown. I aquired a taste for it in Asia and really like it.
3) I believe that what some people think is Montezumas revenge, is actually their system finally purging a few days into the trip. I also think that post trip blahs can be connected to constipation during the trip.
4) I always pack laxatives in my first aid kit.
I know, it's more than we needed to hear,but somebody needed to say it.
Travel safe and healthy.
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With all due respect for a superbly presented regimen (and I mean that sincerely) as well as for sharing information about Rifaxamin (new to me!), I had no idea that Cipro would work as a prophylactic.
I refered to this because I talked with a couple once in Cancun who were taking it everyday for fear of tourista,they had heard it from friends or the internet,and it is easily accessable in Mexico. It was totally ridiculous,yes it would work for killing off toxin producing bacteria,no bacteria on the planet would dare live in a system so toxic with antibiotics,but at what cost?
Inevitably you would have to go off it after10 days at the most,at this point as most people who have taken this know,all the bad bacteria,and good rush in for turf,thus the battle ensues.You will fell extremely sick,and often times people will loose hair,not to mention a host of other problems.
DON'T DO THIS!......... that's the point
Rondo, I was making a play on words in that - for the layman, the word prophylactic is the equivalent of the word condom, and with sex being the first 3 things on the minds of Spring Breakers, it seemed an interesting choice of words.
Now its time for a serious question, though - if Cipro is readily available and already overused in Mexico, what's the point of abstinence by visitors from the US? I would expect that when an antibiotic-resistant strain of some deadly (or even not so deadly) germ becomes bred in Mexico, it's next stop (particularly coming from Cancun) would be in the United States, and at that point it won't make any difference whether the US population will have been abusing Cipro or not.
It's a small world, no?
Cipro is very expensive in Mexico,even though it's cheaper than here,out reach for many locals but not for tourists.
Got it. :!:
Thanks for your response and again sincerely for your highly informative posts.
As an aside, we've had somewhat of an interesting find from one of our recent trips to Mexico. I have a female relative who does not and cannot stay 'regular' unless she regularly consumes a regimen filled with fiber and a number of other foods (like Activia) and fairly potent food supplements (Acidopholous - and Natures Secret Super Cleanse daily in this instance). I'm told that such chronic irregularity is common among women, or at least more common than among men.
She joined us for a week of our stay in Mexico last season and lo and behold, for the first month after returning experienced little or none of the discomfort that she typically endures from this condition. Unfortunately, the beneficial effect of living/eating/doing-whatever in Mexico subsided and she's back on a diet of food and supplements focused mainly on regularity.
Clearly (or so it seems to me) she caught a bug while in Mexico which, although probably not one I'd be happy living with, did her a world of good. How does she replicate/reinvigorate this (very good - for her) bug without going to Cancun every month?
[Although I'd suppose that if you HAD to provide a prescription, that one would be as welcomed as any <smile>]
And thx again!
Garden of Life makes a product called Primal Defense which works pretty good.
I used it a couple of years ago down in Cancun when my stomach began to act up. We bought it at our local GNC.
No sex and she'll be all right.