You Dont Need To Fear Montezuma

by : News Canada

By: Dr. Suni Boraston, Vancouver, Travel Medicine Specialist

(NC)—Emporiatic enteritis, Rangoon runs, Maladie de la Mer Rouge, Aden gut, Aztec two-step, Montezuma's revenge…I learned the definition of all of these terms when I was on vacation in Mexico. As a doctor, I am always very careful with what I eat and drink while travelling. I took all of the necessary precautions — drank bottled water, did not eat from street vendors and peeled my own fruit — but it got me anyway — Travellers' Diarrhea.

Travellers' Diarrhea can be a debilitating illness and may be difficult to manage in remote surroundings. Adults who experience Travellers' Diarrhea usually feel ill for three to five days and the symptoms can last much longer in small children. As many as 1.3 million Canadians experience Travellers' Diarrhea annually.

For most of my trip I was too tired and dehydrated to do much more than sleep and run to the bathroom — and I certainly could not go and do those fabulous adventure tours we had planned. While Travellers' Diarrhea is rarely life threatening, it certainly has a way of ruining great vacation plans.

This does not have to happen to you; here are some tips on how to stay healthy:

• When you have chosen your vacation destination, go and see a travel medicine specialist or your family doctor to see if you require any specific immunizations. Many people don't know about a new drinkable vaccine called Dukoral™ that helps stop Travellers' Diarrhea before it starts.

• Drink only carbonated bottled water or soft drinks, bottled fruit juices, alcoholic beverages without ice and hot beverages. In remote areas, bringing water to a boil is sufficient to kill the common organisms that cause Travellers' Diarrhea. As such, drinking hot tea and coffee is fine. Remember that ice cubes can be contaminated and should be avoided.

• Make sure that foods are well cooked. Eating foods from street vendors has been associated with an increased risk of Travellers' Diarrhea as has eating raw or undercooked meats and fish. Freshly prepared and steaming hot foods are generally considered safe.

• Travel smart — if you are uncertain about your food and beverage surroundings, I suggest you leave and eat somewhere else! Be smart and have a great vacation.

- News Canada