Montezuma’s revenge, the trots, or simply – Diarrhea.

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July 14, 2008

What made me think about it was a recent camping trip, a group of friends that like to ride motorcycles went down to Johnstown PA to go to a motorcycle rally called “Thunder in the Valley “. If you were there and were looking for the big tough, mean looking bikers. . . That wasn’t us! We had fun but one of our members had a spell of Diarrhea and missed most of the event that he had taken time off from work, driven far to attend and was looking forward to. This sounds like most of the camping trips we all take and who wants them ruined? How can you keep this from happening to you?

Well, first off what can cause diarrhea? The problem is that many, many things can cause diarrhea. The main ones we hear about tend to be the not most common; for example, for every case of severe diarrhea caused by E Coli bacteria or Giardia lamblia, there are hundreds of cases caused by other means. Both of these are spread by direct fecal contamination, especially of food or water, as are other bacterial or protozoan causes. Some other very simple causes can be reaction to the chemicals used to purify water (if you are not used to them or the amount used), change in diet, viral infections, or chronic diseases such as Crohn’s Disease.

But what can we do to prevent Diarrhea in most cases?

  • First, use proper and safe hygiene when handling food – Wash your hands often with soap and clean water or use a hand sanitizer.
  • If you have any doubts about your water supply, boil it for 3 – 5 minutes or use a reverse osmosis filter (will not filter out viruses) or chlorine bleach (2 – 3 drops per liter) or Iodine (5 – 6 drops per liter). There are now portable ultraviolet (UV) purification devices that work also.
  • You can also used bottled water to drink. But be careful, in some areas, people have been caught refilling bottled water containers with local tap water. Make sure the containers are sealed properly.
  • One method of ingesting contaminated water often over looked is in ICE in drinks… be aware!
  • Safe drinks are often HOT tea or coffee or Beer and Wine.
  • Raw fruits or vegetables should not be eaten unless peeled.
  • Seafood should not be eaten raw.
  • Properly cook all foods especially meats and seafood.
  • Avoid unpasteurized milk or dairy products or things like mayo or yogurt.

These things will go a long ways towards preventing most cases of Diarrhea! But, what can you do once you have it?

  • Maintain Hydration with clean/pure fluids, again one of my favorites is Gatorade (and no, I do not have stock in the company!).
  • Over the counter treatments are Imodium and Kaopectate .
  • Rest! It is a (if you’ll pardon the pun) draining experience!

Danger signs of Diarrhea or when you should go seek medical attention.

  • Diarrhea in infants and young children or the elderly can more quickly cause dehydration and other complications and should be watched carefully. If they become lethargic and listless and their skin loses elasticity and they are not producing urine, seek help!
  • Any Blood in the stool or Tarry stools.
  • Diarrhea that lasts several days.
  • Diarrhea that begins after being out of the country (You may have picked up a Parasite!).
  • Diarrhea that persists with fever, cramps or weight loss.

Hopefully, if you have managed to continue reading this long, you can prevent diarrhea from ruining your future camping trips and avoid the pain, discomfort and often embarrassment of this common illness.

I wish to apologize to my readers for my absence for a few weeks. I was camping, and working and building a porch for my mother and a hundred and one other things that go along with life. Somewhere along with all this, the blog got put on the back burner. But I am back.

Your Obedient Servant,

Gary Smith, Jr.

Leave a Reply


  1. Royce Wyrick

    Excellent recommendations.

    One that you possibly overlooked — “Say Grace and Mean It”

  2. W. E. Hart

    A cheap and quick remedy for the trots that has worked for my family….

    2 jiggers of bourbon poured onto a shallow saucer….set fire to it and let it burn itself out…..drink when cool.

    Works everytime!