Traveler's Diarrhea, known as "Montezuma's Revenge" after the Aztec ruler Moctezuma II, is one of the most common illnesses suffered by travelers. It is usually caused by bacteria found in contaminated water and food, and is often due to improper food handling and storage, and poor sewage disposal. There are some steps you can take to prevent being struck by this illness while traveling.
Time Required: A little consideration throughout your vacation.
- Don't drink water from the tap. Buy bottled purified water to drink. Your best bet is to use bottled water for brushing your teeth too. Remember to keep your mouth closed while you shower!
- Eat in establishments that cater to tourists. Avoid eating food from street vendors.
- Skip the salad and opt for cooked vegetables instead.
- Stick to fruits that can be peeled, and preferably peel them yourself.
- Make sure any meat you eat is well-cooked.
- Wash your hands before you eat, or if this is not feasible, use a hand sanitizer.
- How strictly you wish to adhere to these suggestions may depend on your overall health, the length of your trip and your sense of adventure - you may find it hard to pass by Mexican street food altogether!
- Fruits and vegetables purchased in the market can be disinfected with a product called Microdyn - just add a few drops to some water and soak your produce for a few minutes before eating. Microdyn can be found in grocery stores in Mexico.
- A case of traveler's diarrhea is often accompanied by stomach cramps and nausea. Symptoms may last for a day or up to a week. Mild cases can be treated with an over-the-counter medication, such as Pepto Bismol, or Imodium.
For severe cases, antibiotics may be necessary.
How do you deal with Montezuma's Revenge? Share your tips.