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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 or disappear.
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 before exposure.
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.