Medical Issues while Travelling in Mexico

Medical Issues while Travelling in Mexico

Planning

We encourage everyone to do their medical homework before they travel anywhere. Visit you family doctor and get all the shots necessary for the country and regions that you travel. Speak to your doctor about what you should do to avoid or what you should use to treat ailments common to the area you plan to travel.

For general travel to Mexico, it would be advisable to discuss “Montezuma’s Revenge,” children’s health, and various shots for the regions you plan to visit. You may be advised to take certain precautions (look in your shoes before you put them on for tarantulas or scorpions) use a mosquito net etc. You may also be advised what to take for stomach cramps and diarrhea.

A knowledgeable physician will advise you with specific advise regarding the region you intend to visit. Inform the your doctor whether you plan to travel through high altitudes, jungle or desert. Ensure he or she is aware that you will be spending a great deal of time outdoors – possibly in extreme heat. Mention whether you will be using a tent or not.

Go here for information regarding immunizations

Insurance

Determine if your medical plan will cover your visit or if you feel you require additional coverage such as evacuation coverage. Make you decisions after you have explored:

a) your medical plan

b) your employee extended health coverage

c) your credit card coverage (Gold plans)

d) your AAA, Good Sam, and/or other plans

e) your Mexican vehicle insurance.

Ensure you make arrangements and inquiries for all passengers including children. Make your decisions accordingly.

Mexican Medical and Dental Services

Mexico has a very good medical system with high standards. You often see IMSS hospitals and clinics as you travel through a community. It is a socialized system and residents are allowed to buy into the system at very reasonable rates.

Throughout Mexico you will see private hospitals and medical and dental clinics usually with the notation “English Spoken.” These are exceptionally reasonable and offer a can offer a variety of services including extensive dental work and plastic surgery. Many Americans and Canadians come to Mexico for specifically these services.

For day to day medical or dental attention, we suggest you ask the RV park operator or resident RVers for local recommendations.

Prescriptions

It is sound advise to bring all the prescription medicine you need with you for your first trip. While you can purchase many drugs over the counter that would require a prescription at home, why take a chance. Take what you need the first time.

Having said that, once you are in Mexico you should check the prices of your prescriptions. Often they can be purchased for up to 20-30% less for the exact same product at home. You can purchase an extra supply and can confidently determine whether to bring an additional supply for your next trip or purchase it directly in Mexico.

Many visitors are surprised that you can purchase many prescriptions directly over the counter. Antibiotics for example can be purchased without a doctors prescription. Codeine, on the other hand, is restricted in Mexico but is openly sold across the counter in Canada.

Emergencies

For an emergency you will be taken to an IMSS clinic or the nearest place to help you. Be prepared for consideration and concern from all involved.

We have lots of examples. Bill fell off the motor scooter. He was fine except that the scooter and our then 11 year old daughter fell on top of him. He heard some crunches just before he passed out for a few moments.

We were visiting Bahía de los Ángeles – a community that is both small and somewhat remote. It doesn’t even have a gas station. A nearby merchant saw the accident, helped Bill into his truck cab and the scooter into the truck bed. He sent Dylan to fetch me.

Bill was taken to an IMSS clinic where a young (30 year old) resident doctor immediately attended him. The doctor spoke some English and impressively informed and treated Bill as required. He gave him a shot of pain reliever, some anti-inflammatory, a prescription and advise regarding pain and further medical attention.

The facility was as spotless. The needle was packaged and the medicine bottle was sealed. Bill was treated with immediate and considerate care. The treatment cost $10 US including the medication.

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