View Full Version : Montezuma's revenge

02-26-2006, 08:45 AM
Hi Everyone,
I leave to Guatemala in a few weeks and filled a prescription for Cipro, but want to take some food items with me that will help my body. Any suggestions of easily transportable food items that will help my body in case Montezuma's revenge attacks?


02-26-2006, 09:32 AM
Just take your usual over the county stuff for gas and the runs. and i would get some iodone for water in case you have to filter water. Just don't eat things that have to be washed. Banana's, pineapples and so on you can eat a lot of down there (went to Costa Rica a few years ago). Just don't eat lettuce and tomatoes or ice unless you know it's filtered. Did you get your shots? We had to get hep A shots, typhoid and one other tetnus I believe?

Duck on Wheels
02-26-2006, 09:46 AM
I'd recommend a handy water filter. Also ditto the advice on sticking to stuff that's peeled and/or cooked (thoroughly!). Yoghurt can often help. And finally, a packet of immodium tablets should take care of emergencies.

02-26-2006, 09:57 AM
oh oh how about some emer'gen-c. That would be a good one. small packets. Oh don't bring anything of value with you. We looked kinda like bums when we were down there. People left us alone cause we looked like we didn't have anything. Didn't wear any jewerly except for a cheap silver wedding ring. Left my real one at home. Same with my husband. But man did we have a total blast! I am jelouse.

02-26-2006, 09:59 AM
I have one of those water bottles with a built-in filter, which is the right size to carry on a bike, but it's _really_ difficult to drink out of. (Hard to suck) Still, you could carry bottled water in it, and just drink by removing the cap, then if you _had to_ filter water, you'd have it.


02-26-2006, 01:56 PM
When we traveled to Costa Rica, my ex- and I brought back a textbook case of giardia. I was pretty much okay, my only symptoms were lack of appetite basically (like eating 2 bites and feeling totally full) but he got the whole thing (diarrhea vomiting etc.). I had taken some water from a supposedly "safe" source of water during a hike from which we both drank, but I think it was mostly "safe" for the locals who have the right stuff in their stomach to deal with the little buggers. I am usually pretty resistant to this sort of things, too, it would have taken me a few more weeks probably to realize I was sick if he hadn't had more serious symptoms.

Guatemala is a bit less advanced, public-infrastructure wise, than Costa Rica, so I'd be even more careful, drink only bottled water, take plenty of water on treks, etc. It'll be the dry season so be very careful to take PLENTY of water. The filter bottles are nice but they're a burden to carry around and, indeed, not as safe. As for iodine...yuck, I will only drink water with this stuff in case of advanced dehydration!!

I also recommend hep-A-B vaccine (one shot now, another in six months, usually) and bring some malaria medicine, too. Inquire at your local travellers' clinic about the presence of resistant sources of malaria, in which case a special type of medication is needed.

Enjoy the trip! Lucky you...

02-26-2006, 02:14 PM
Well, the good news is after you have giardea, you are then immune to it!

Yeah, the filter bottle doesn't filter out virus-sized scum, but it does remove microorganisms including 99.9999% of E. coli and other bacteria and 99.98% of protozoa including Giardia and Cryptosporidium. It also removes 95%+ of volotile organic compounds, pesticides, herbicides and petroleum by-products.


02-26-2006, 02:42 PM
Hi Everyone,
Thanks for the advice! We had been debating whether or not to take our water filter (thinking we'd find bottled water on all our bike routes), but after hearing you all, I will definately take the filter (luckily it doesn't weigh too much).

I'm such a sissy with food type of stuff (stomach doesn't seem to like anything new), and have been worried that I'll have trouble riding if I'm dealing with all intestinal issues. But I'm so looking forward to the trip!

Thanks for all the info!

02-26-2006, 04:02 PM
Just use common sence. Tha's what we did. Make sure your fliter filter's out giardia. And i have never herd that you become immune to it after exposed. My cat had it and my dr said she could get it again after we treated her so i would just be careful. Have an awsome time!!!!

02-26-2006, 04:07 PM
Just use common sence. Tha's what we did. Make sure your fliter filter's out giardia. And i have never herd that you become immune to it after exposed. My cat had it and my dr said she could get it again after we treated her so i would just be careful. Have an awsome time!!!!

02-26-2006, 05:26 PM

Giardiasis is an intestinal infection caused by the parasitic protozoan Giardia lamblia. The diarrhea-causing infection is highly prevalent in developing nations and is a severe public health problem. It stands as one of the leading causes of death in developing countries. According to recent studies, it accounts for 3 to 4 million deaths each year in children younger than five years of age (Ochoa, 2004).

Giardia is found in both developed and in undeveloped countries. The disease, however, appears to have the largest impact in undeveloped regions where medical access and sanitation programs are not readily available. The most important effects of this disease may be seen in children in which appear to be more susceptible to the disease than adults. This may be attributed to exposure and immunity patterns. Once a person has been exposed to Giardia spp. they will develop immunity to it, thus, suppressing the usual clinical symptoms. Children, however, will show clinical signs and become ill until they build up antibodies and fight off the disease. In undeveloped countries, child mortality is much higher than in the United States. Mortality rises due to malnourishment and unfiltered, runoff water reservoirs in concert with an underdeveloped immune system. Similar patterns can also be seen in those with weakened immune systems such as, HIV/AIDS infection, organ transplant recipients, international travelers, or persons working in a daycare where individuals are at a higher risk of contracting giardiasis (www.fsis.usda.gov, 2001).

While actual vaccines to prevent disease are not available, there are some ways for humans to prevent the risk of giardiasis. Practicing sanitary awareness is the most effective tool in prevention. Washing hands with hot, soapy water before handling foods and eating after using the toilet or changing a child, staying away from unprocessed foods, such as non-pasteurized milk, and washing, peeling or cooking raw foods and vegetables that could have potentially been fertilized by manure could decrease spread via a fecal-oral route. Only drinking water from a filtration system also prevents waterborne transmission.

A vaccine has been recently released in the United States for the prevention of Giardiasis in dogs and cats. The Giardia spp. vaccine has proven successful in the reduction of giardiasis associated symptoms. It is not used for humans. However, it is a first step for controlling the parasitic disease in the face of zoonotic transmission. However, zoonotic transmission is still unclear (Pozio, 2004). Immunoprophylaxis offers a way to help control infection in high-risk populations, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic (Olsen et al., 2000). This disease is very prevalent in animals and it is important to control it since zoonotic transmission may result in spread to humans. The vaccine reduces shedding of cysts, fecal-oral transmission, and environmental contamination of water and food keeping spread to a minimum. Resultantly, both humans and animals are benefited. There are some available treatments for both humans and animals.

02-26-2006, 05:44 PM
Awsome info! My best friend is a microbiologist and she couldn't have said it better!

02-26-2006, 05:57 PM
Immodium is great to stop the symptoms..... but does nothing for the bug - so you will still feel like c*** until it runs its course. You just won't have the diarhea. I made it through a week in Mexico only to have a scotch and water with ice on the last day.... mistake! Figured the alcohol would kill any bugs. boy was I surprised. Navigating 3 airports to find bathroom every 10 minutes it seemed.

Granted maybe it wasn't the water and ice, could have been the culmination of all the foods over the week but I was still sick.

I am such a chicken after that that I got all the shots I could possibly get when I went to Roatan a couple years later - all the hep series A& B , typohid, tetnaus and probably a few extras.

Good luck and be careful,

Duck on Wheels
02-26-2006, 07:42 PM
Definitely water filter! Definitely not bottled water (unless you also filter it). Even in Norway, where you can safely drink water straight from the tap and where food industries are quite tightly controlled, tests of bottled water show that it has more bacteria than tap water or water from fast running streams. In poorer countries I would imagine that many would be tempted to simply fill up bottles from a stream or faucet somewhere and sell them. After all, people have got to make a living! But I'd rather buy (peelable) fruit from them and filter my own water, or buy their water and filter it before drinking. We did that in China. Filled up some Nalgene bottles every morning and drank our own; carried along the little filter pump in case we needed refills.

02-26-2006, 08:26 PM
On the topic of Giardia:

you become immune in the sense that you may not develop the symptoms again (although you also may develop them, it can take a while for them to disappear completely) but you may still carry the disease, and that's not very good, because you could transmit it to others, unless you have 100% foolproof sanitary conditions at your house and everywhere you go, which is probably not the case for most of us (and thank God for that, in a way).

03-10-2006, 04:56 PM
last year with minimal problems. We stayed at a lodge that used to be a cattle farm and had all our food prepared for us. We couldn't reguarly get bottled water and drank unfiltered from the lodge kitchen. I had to use a little immodium but that was all. I'm still not convinced it was the water and not the black beans 3 meals a day for 8 days.