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Your Travel Health in Cozumel Mexico
- By Bill Jones
I am not a doctor. I don't use or
recommend any medications when traveling and diving, but I have been
receiving a few questions. I suggest you see your doctor before the trip
if you are concerned.
The most common Scuba Diver health issues on Scuba trips are Sun Burn,
Mosquito Bytes, Heartburn, and Headaches. Bring Sun Block, Bug
Repellants, Antacids, and Aspirin/Pain Relievers with you.
If you are predisposed to Motion Sickness / SEA SICKNESS
(airplanes/boats), ask your doctor about prescribing (Rx) the Reglan® or
Trans-derm Scopolamine® patches or similar. Non-prescription / Over the
counter, there are products called Bonnine®, Dimenhydrate® (Original
Dramamine®), and Meclizine® (all cause significant drowsiness).
There is a sea sickness bracelet such as "Sea Bands"®, a wristband
placed with the pressure button over the middle of the inner wrist in
the soft area of the lower arm just off the wrist bones. A lot of people
claim these eliminate sea sickness.
Home remedies used to treat motion sickness / sea sickness include
ginger root in the form of candies, capsules or as a tea. Some also
nibble on ginger cookies and plain saltine crackers. Some recommend
drinking apricot juice, carrot juice, peppermint tea and Coke-a-cola.
Emetrol®, a sweet syrup available over the counter, can also help
nausea. Slow deep breathing (inhale for 4 or 5 seconds then exhale for 4
or 5 seconds- for a total of 6 to 7 breaths per minute) stimulates the
parasympathetic nervous system and settles the stomach.
Motion sickness is caused by a sensory conflict. The brain receives
conflicting information about body motion from visual and vestibular
(inner ear) receptors. Studies have shown we can adapt or "get used to"
this motion with repeated exposures. Then, gradually, symptoms improve
Some tricks to avoid or treat motion sickness include:
1. Eat a light carbohydrate meal no less than 2-3 hours before exposure.
2. Avoid dairy products and foods high in protein, calories or sodium
3. Avoid alcohol, smoking, and disagreeable odors.
4. Open vents to increase exposure to cool, fresh air, sit out on the
deck of a boat.
5. Adjust the temperature inside so you are not overheated.
6. Focus on a stable horizon or external object.
7. Limit head movements (e.g. press head into headrest)
8. Try to keep tasks such as reading, table calculations, and logging to
short periods at a time.
Keep a plastic bag with you and keep it handy. If you are feeling the
least bit funny, don’t hesitate to open the bag and have it ready. If
you are going to vomit, seal the bag over your mouth with both hands
while leaving your nose exposed for fresh air. In this way, all fluids
and odors will be contained and there is less chance of spillage.
If you are concerned about Montezuma's Revenge, consider seeing your
doctor about a product such as Doxycycline®, Atridox®, Doryx®, Doxy®,
Monodox®, Periostat®, or Vibramycin®. These products are
tetracycline-like antibiotics and are used to treat a wide variety of
infections and to prevent "traveler’s diarrhea". Over the counter
loperamides such as Immodium AD® are of use after diarrhea has begun.
My experience in Cozumel is that these products are largely unnecessary.
Montezuma's Revenge is more associated with areas of Mexico that are
much less "Americanized" than Cozumel. Cozumel has reasonable water
systems. You should not have a problem. Use common sense and stay away
from street vendor food and drinks and places that just don't seem safe.
See your doctor if you are concerned.