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Any pointers for not getting sick?

Scottsdale, Arizona
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Any pointers for not getting sick?

OMG i keep reading reveiws about people getting severly ill! I understand DO NOT drink the water. But is there anything else i can stay away from or do not to get sick? I was thinking of taking probiotic before and while i am there....is that a good idea? I really dont want my trip ruined because i cant leave the bathroom....Thanks so much! BTW we are staying at the majestic colonial.

Barrie, Ontario
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1. Re: Any pointers for not getting sick?

Very simple, just don't over indulge in alcohol and food. Eat normally what you would at home, and those coconut drinks, well they are a natural laxative.

Wirral UK
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2. Re: Any pointers for not getting sick?

I love Scottsdale - think if I lived there I'd stay home much of the time!!

Dom Rep is no different to anywhere else. Just the normal precautions. Drink in moderation, sun in moderation. Bottled water. You can't see bacteria, so there is not much you can do to prevent them getting you. Wash your hands regularly. That is were you pick up most bacteria.

I eat everything I fancy on holiday and hope for the best. Got a few light tummy bugs on my travels over the years, but nothing too bad. Worst case I ever had was in the UK at a smart black tie (tuxedo) dinner!!


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3. Re: Any pointers for not getting sick?

Drink lots and lots of bottled water or you will become dehydrated. Once dehydrated many people then blame the food. Probiotics I believe helps your body to regulate different bacteria. Almost 30 trips and have been sick once and that was because I did not drink water!

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4. Re: Any pointers for not getting sick?

Avoid thin skinned or fleshy fruits, coconut milk (pina colada), mayonnaise based salads and brush your teeth with bottled water. Also, practice almost OCD type hygiene with regards to your hands, especially at the buffets (think about all the people touching those serving handles)

The DR doesn't have the greatest growing practices when it comes to lettuces - I'd avoid it.

Scottsdale, Arizona
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5. Re: Any pointers for not getting sick?

Wow! thanks everyone! Ill will use common sense! That seems to be the key! Haha

Saskatoon, Canada
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for La Romana, Bayahibe
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6. Re: Any pointers for not getting sick?

I've accumulated a bunch of ideas and health suggestions over the years. If you're interested in skimming the paragraphs, you can pick and choose what sounds good for you.

Drink lots of (bottled) water! Have a glass of water for every drink or at least every two alcoholic beverages.

Some people take Pepto Bismol in the morning or before every meal as a preventative measure. There are side effects to beware of (weird black tongue among them!) as with all medication so though you are using it for one battle, make sure that you know what you are ingesting. It can also act to stop you up so you won't get diarrhea but it could lead to the opposite problem especially if you are taking it as a preventative and not because you are actually needing it for that. The nature of the product is that it provides protection by coating your stomach. You should beware of that if you are taking some other medication orally which you are expecting will be absorbed through the stomach walls. Effectiveness will be blocked. If you have problems with Aspirin, you shouldn't take Pepto Bismol, or if you're on Aspirin therapy watch the dosing when taking PB. If you're vomiting however, the flavoured and sweetened Pepto Bismol can make it a more pleasant experience.

If you get sick anyway and start taking Immodium, stop the Pepto Bismol therapy immediately. They don't mix. If you are staying around the hotel and can find the diarrhea merely an inconvenience, wait it out and flush your system as opposed to stopping nature from doing its job. See if you can only take the Immodium if you are heading out on an excursion or flying home. If you have something in your system that needs to be eliminated, beware that taking Immodium or something like that that is keeping it in your body could make you suffer with cramps, spasms and other abdominal pain or discomfort. It really is best in that situation to lay low, stay out of the sun, eat bananas and bread and white rice, drink lots of water, and let it pass in the natural way.

Some people bring a prescription for the antibiotic Cipro with them. As far as antibiotics go, it's a strong one and you should be sure that you follow the instructions provided for diagnosing the correct time to start taking it. Generally, it's when you see the presence of blood and once you've had the diarrhea for a full 24 hours. It's not recommended for those under the age of 16 years and it's not to be taken when you have a stomach ache or general diarrhea. If you have travel medical insurance (I think it's a must for EVERY traveler), go to the resort doctor for a diagnosis and appropriate treatment. They may tell you to go away and come back later if you don't start feeling better or may instantly put you on an IV if you've already been vomiting or have had diarrhea for a couple of days, or they may just give you some pills to combat nausea and for the symptoms. When at home most of us don't take an antibiotic with every cut we get or at the appearance of nausea and vomiting but rather we seek medical advice. Why would you do anything different when on vacation?

Many of us follow a natural course of prevention by means of acidophilis and probiotic dairy products. Both act to increase the good bacteria in your system to counteract nasty bacteria. You can start that treatment before you leave home and continue it for the duration of your vacation. Another problem with taking an antibiotic (especially when it's not absolutely needed) is that you kill the good bacteria which can lead to other problems, particularly in women. Bring a bottle of Cranberry Concentrate in tablet form to help combat a urinary tract infection. A glass of cranberry juice every day is a great treatment for men and women. Most of the hotels have cranberry cocktail these days. You can get ginger tablets at all drug stores as a natural way to combat nausea.

Coconut is a laxative and bananas are a natural binder (unless the bananas are REALLY ripe in which case they become a laxative too). Bear both in mind!

The hotels will use only potable water in the restaurants and for making ice, as well as the making of coffee and washing of vegetables. Make sure you don't have accidents brushing with tap water or consuming shower water.

As a rule, I say to avoid all rare or raw protein products, like eggs and shellfish (which I don't make a practice of eating at home either), and if any fish or meat looks suspicious, avoid it since there will surely be something else for you to select.

I avoid no food groups in particular and have never been sick with traditional foodborne illness in my many trips to the DR. But I always go prepared and watch what I eat and watch for symptoms and make sure that I have travel medical insurance. I've been to the doctor on most of my trips for some other ailment, and if an IV is required for rehydration or an anti-spasmodic or anti-nauseant or electrolytes, I want to make sure that I'm not responsible for those international medical costs. (If you have a big problem, you could end up bankrupt if you don't have travel insurance.)

If you have any known plant allergies or interactions, don't try mamajuana (an indigenous drink of the Dominican Republic consisting of a generally unknown combo of bark and twigs [each batch is going to be a bit different so that's why you may not know what's in one compared to another] soaked in rum and red wine and honey). Other than its potency and the fun factor of drinking a lot of it, some people find that they experience an adverse reaction to something in it. There are lime leaves in the woods that are poison to the skin too so keep your arms and legs in the vehicle if going through the woods on an Outback trip.

Just show caution and be smart in all that you do. Know the benefits and reasons why you'd take any medication that you take with you, as well as when it should be administered and when it should be stopped, and get to know the expected side effects. If you have the medical insurance and anything happens that has you worried, go to the resort doctor to set your mind at ease or start treatment. I had a nasty burn-like thing on my stomach complete with blistery bubbles. I went to the doctor and was told in 2 seconds that it was a reaction to a beach plant treatable with hydrocortisone cream. The opinion of a professional who knows about most of what we as tourists will meet with was very consoling. They are well used to the symptoms and treatment of various stomach ailments too: the difference between Caribbean food poisoning, the stomach flu and a hangover.

The best and quickest way to make a big difference to your body's immunities is to cut out refined sugar. It is because of the sugar component that other things should be cut out or added to your diet too. You can increase your protein intake since usually a lack of protein results in an increase in carbs (and a sugar spike). I liked what I read as "sugar distracts the immune system".

You can cut out caffeine and, as always, increase water consumption. The newest guide I've heard for quantity required is to take your weight in pounds, halve it, then change that from pounds to ounces. So, you weigh 150 pounds, you need 75 oz of water or 9 cups a day. If you drink coffee, add 2 cups of water to compensate for the diuretic affect of the coffee.

Take in lots of fresh lemon in the day. You can add it to your drinks, all the water you'll be drinking, and your food. A dear friend in the DR who is transplanted there from another country suggested sprinkling lemon liberally over his dinner plate at every meal. It makes everything taste better and makes a bit of sense too! It's a good antiseptic, can ease the digestion and your chemical balance and will work to increase your immunities should you be exposed. You can also take apple cider vinegar (tablets are available as well) for the same benefits. Good for redistributing body fat as well!

Also very predictable; get lots of sleep. It's a really obvious base level component to taking care of ourselves and one of the first that we overlook. I know that in the days before my vacation my boss works me twice as hard and I'm getting less sleep to take care of all I need to do. My flight is super long and exhausting so I can get to my destination already weakened.

To boost immunities, my family swears by garlic. First sign of a cold, out comes the garlic sandwich. Aloe is great too. I bought some liquid aloe to add to drinks as part of a cleanse through my gym.


Sault Ste. Marie...
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7. Re: Any pointers for not getting sick?

We always use probiotics, and have never been sick. We also choose our food based on some extra caution. We never choose hamburgers, as ground beef can be a problem anywhere, and is especially a problem in the tropics. Plus the chance of a burger being undercooked. We also avoid foods that are supposed to be kept cold at the buffet (salads, cheeses, lunch meats, etc.). In the heat of PC it can be difficult to ensure proper temperature, and keep flies off. We stick to cooked vegetables, meats sauces, rice, payaya, etc. In addition, I always enjoy experiencing more local tastes, so I try dishes that the locals are used to making, like stewed beef, chicken, fish, rice, beans, etc. It stands to reason the Dominican chefs will be better at preparing these things than making pasta, pizza or tacos! Enjoy the Majestic! My favorite dish all week was the beef Churrasco in the gourmet (beef wrapped around asparagus, covered in gravy), and the Dominican buffet (way better than the Mexican menu items). Try the Dominican rice, stewed goat and the coconut dessert pudding.

Stoney Creek Ontario
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8. Re: Any pointers for not getting sick?

All great advice from the above posts.We also never put ice into the drinks from the ice machines. We fill up the sink in the bathroom with ice to chill the beer, sometimes the fridge isn't that cold. The reason is one time we saw a gardener put his hand into the machine and grab some ice. It wasn't the best thing to see.

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9. Re: Any pointers for not getting sick?

After reading todays reviews, I was going to ask the same question!!

We're going to Majestic Colonial in September and all this talk of sickness has worried the pants off me as we will have our 13 month old with us. Is it really that bad or is it a case of being extra careful and using common sense?

The latest reviews have been 'shocking' with regards to sickness and I can't help thinking we've made a wrong choice??? The replies to divfray85's post have put my mind at rest, well, a little!

Looks like I'd better start stocking up on Immodium! lol :0)

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10. Re: Any pointers for not getting sick?

Yes, common sense is the key.....yet so many people don't use it.

When it comes to food, just because you can eat all that you want, doesn't mean you should. If you spend everyday of the year having only tea and toast for breakfast, then you suddenly pile a plate full of eggs, bacon, potatos, etc and wash it down with bloody mary or mimosa......guess how your stomach is going to react...it's not used to that.

Just because the alcohol is included, doesn't mean you should try to drink the bar dry in order to get your money's worth.

Of course, you're on vacation, you should indulge abit and have a good time...take advantage of being able to do things and have things you can't at home.....just be smart about it.

Try new foods but do it a bit at a time.....drink in moderation and make sure to have plenty of bottled water between drinks while out in the sun.

I think a good amount of the sickness that people get is because they put their bodies thorugh too much change too quickly and they make pigs of themselves with food, alcohol and sun.