Mexico travelers tummy remedies
Replies: 30 - Last Post: Mar 29, 2012 11:17 AM Last Post By: rayosx
Mar 16, 2012 7:19 AM
Mexico travelers tummy remediesMorning all. Wondering if anyone can help. My boyfriend and I are in valladolid but he's come down with a bit of a runny bum. He took pepto bismal yesterday but it didn't seem to help. Anyone know of any ither remedies. He's getting a bit fed up and tired now! Anyone know if you can buy optibac here?
Thanks for your help.
Mar 16, 2012 7:23 AM
1Sorry to hear that. Imodium usually works well unless it is more serious in which case you need cipro or similar. We don't leave our back yard without imodium.
But also--we are going to be in Valladolid in about a month. Was there a particular restaurant we should stay away from?
Mar 16, 2012 7:48 AM
2I would suggest that you head over to a local Centro de Salud for a free checkup.
A good preventive, but not 100%, is eating yogurt with active culture. Start a few weeks before you travel. Yogurt is available at all the supermarkets and misc. stores.
If your eating street food, only eat at the places that are popular to Mexicans (the more people in line, the safer the food). The locals know which stalls have the safest food.
Mar 16, 2012 7:48 AM
3Speak with a local pharmacist. Such conditions are commonplace. If necessary, the pharmacist will most likely have a suggestion as to a local physician who can write you a prescription. Don't take antibiotics without a proper diagnosis. My M.D. often tells me to let it run its course, that this is the best way to deal with such problems. If the situation remains persistent I seek medical advice. These things are frequently caused by poor personal hygene by food preparers/handlers, not contaminated food.
Mar 16, 2012 7:50 AM
Mar 16, 2012 7:57 AM
5If the diarrhea is severe, for example, accompanied by cramps and possibly vomiting, get medical help.
If it is mild, our current remedy is Lacteo Fort, 2 capsules following every meal, for 24 hours. Also follow a bland diet; plain white rice, weak tea, bananas and dry well browned toast.
If that doesn't relieve the symptoms, an antibiotic may be necessary, for which a doctor's prescription is needed in Mexico.
Imodium gives symptomatic relief, but stops the body's natural defense mechanism against the toxins within.
Keep hydrated with sueros orales, such as Pedialyte or Electrolit, widely available in farmacias, convenience stores and tiendas.
Edited by: Anonimo-spelling
Edited by: Anonimo
Mar 16, 2012 8:15 AM
Mar 16, 2012 8:53 AM
7I suggest you go get some loperamide, known as Imodium to most of us. Despite what some poster's have mentioned, and despite the advice of some Mexican physicians, using loperamide will not prolong the illness. If you do not take antibiotics frequently, you may want to ask for an antibiotic. The doctor will probably recommend cipro, which is effective against many of the bacteria that commonly causes this illness, but is not very effective against e. coli. Your boyfriend will want to check the side effects, contraindications, and make a personal decision about taking the antibiotic.
You may have luck with probiotics, but, as #2 suggests, it is better as a preventive medicine. At this point, it may actually worsen the symptoms your boyfriend is experiencing.
As for finding out what caused the illness, you will never know. Personal hygiene in Mexico is atrocious, and, you may encounter contaminated food anywhere you eat. In my experience, you are more likely to become ill eating street food, market food, and food from low-budget restaurants. I would not suggest eating any street food, not even from the places that seem to be popular with Mexicans. It seems to me that many Mexicans have accepted stomach illnesses as a routine part of daily life, and are often unaware of the fact that they are eating contaminated food. The fact that something tastes good does not mean that it has not been contaminated.
Ask yourself a couple of these questions about where you are eating and you will probably be safe: Do the cooks have access to a bathroom? If not, where are they washing there hands and/or cooking utensils? Does the restaurant seem to be concerned about sanitation and aesthetics? I have found that a restauranteur who puts a bit of effort into the general appearance of his or her establishment is much more likely to be concerned about hygiene.
Mar 16, 2012 8:54 AM
8If that doesn't relieve the symptoms, an antibiotic may be necessary, for which a doctor's prescription is needed in Mexico.
Is this really true, now? Back in my Oaxaca beach bum days there were always nasty intestinal parasites going around, and I cured several cases of Giardia simply by sending people to the pharmacy to get the proper, very potent, antibiotic. I've never needed a script for any non-narcotic medication in any Latin American pharmacy.
OP, it'll probably go away in a couple days. Keep well-hydrated and eat something with salt in it to keep electrolytes up. They say Gatorade is good, but you can get hydration solution at the pharmacy. If it persists, he feels very lethargic, severely bloated, or notices funny tasting burps then you're dealing with a parasite, and you'll probably want an antibiotic.
Note: if they do give him the antibiotic (tinidazole, metrodinazole), it is vitally important he not drink any alcohol at all until the drug completely clears his system. If he does, it'll cause violent stomach cramps and vomiting. Sometimes the docs neglect to mention this.
Mar 16, 2012 9:18 AM
9It is easier on your system to take something like Metamucil. I know it sounds crazy but it works.
Pepto and Immodium are very hard on your system. Metamucil is not and works very well. It makes "solid" things that are not so solid at the moment.
Try it and your body will thank you.
To poster James: IMHO personal hygiene in Mexico is not atrocious. I live here and do not get sick when eating on the street or in restaurants. I stick to the busy places where there is a fast turn over of food. If the locals get sick from the food the stand does not stay in business long.
Watch for people who either put a plastic bag over their hands before handling the money and then remove it to handle the food or places where 1 person takes the money and another deals with the food. I eat all over and don't get sick.
On the other hand, every time I go to the USA I get sick with tummy upsets. I now don't eat fresh salads or raw veggies or drink the water in the USA that is. I am fine in Mexico.
Mar 16, 2012 9:28 AM
10#8: Yes, you need a prescription for any antibiotic. Pharmacies will often take the original prescription and write something on it before giving it back so you can't re-use it at another pharmacy.
To the OP: there are many cheap doctors (free or no more than 20 pesos) available attached to a pharmacy. They may not be the greatest but they should be competent on stomach upsets and can prescribe you an antibiotic (I find cipro kills anything and everything very effectively) if necessary. I would at least recommend consulting someone with some medical knowledge rather than strangers on the internet :)
As to hygiene I found it interesting that in Mexico City during the swine flu scare stomach illnesses were reported down by over 70% - a simple result of more vigorous hand-washing after bathroom events.
Mar 16, 2012 10:11 AM
11#9: I don't really want to argue about the state of hygiene in Mexico, but there have been several studies in various parts of the country that corroborate what #10 has said: during the swine flu outbreak, there was a significant drop in gastrointestinal illnesses. This has been directly related to public campaigns for increased hygiene. Your logic that "if the locals get sick from the food the stand does not stay in business long" is faulty for the simple reason that it takes anywhere between 1 and 6 days for symptoms to show up after consumption of contaminated food. It is nearly impossible to determine where the illnesses come from, and, judging by the symphony of sounds I hear just about every time I go into a public bathroom, it seems that many Mexicans have grown accustomed to andar mal de la pansa.
Mar 16, 2012 10:42 AM
12We were just there and my husband became very ill. The hospital was overwhelmed and did not follow standard treatment procedures. There is a private clinic close to the main square. Like said above get medical help and make sure he drinks lots of electrolyte. If he is not better in a couple of days head to Merida where you will find state of the art medical care or Cancun but the price may be higher.
We have lived here 12 years, my husband is older and has some underlying medical problems but this NOTHING to be ignored. This was not our first rodeo but never anything like this.......make sure he keeps drinking Electrolytes for adults. At least two bottles a day.
He became ill on the 21 of Feb. and finishes the last of his medication (I hope) but be aware that he may need two different antibotics if it is not simple tourista.
Mar 16, 2012 10:43 AM
13I've had good luck with Pepto here, i.e. cleared up in about a day after taking the max 8 doses.
This was also helpful:
Mar 16, 2012 11:03 AM
14Washing hands: important not only for the food service employees, but also for the customers. My wife and I have trained ourselves to always wash our hands before eating, whether at a street stand, restaurant or at home. A secondary, lesser defense against hand borne contamination is antibacterial gel.
IMO, failure to wash hands before eating is a major, if less recognized culprit in food borne illnesses.
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