Just a few tips on staying healthy can make your next visit to Mexico a treasured memory.
Traveling to Mexico can be a fantastic experience. It is a fascinating country and there is plenty to see and do. But it is important for visitors to be aware that they are in a foreign country and the rules may be a bit different than at home.
A short review of these guidelines will help insure that your trip to Mexico is a more enjoyable one!
If you think you may need the services of an emergency Air Evacuation company while visiting Mexico visit the web site of SKY MED INTERNATIONAL or call them at (800) 475-9633 for additional information.
Looking for additional piece of mind for your next trip to Mexico? In case of a medical emergency it can be a huge advantage to be a member of BI-NATIONAL EMERGENCY SERVICES. Review their web site for additional information.
For additional ideas on how to make your trip to Mexico more enjoyable drop by the TRAVEL TIPS section of Mexico Expo.
EATING THE FOOD
The foods of Mexico are one of the country's true treasures. And experimenting at various eateries can be a great way to add depth to a Mexico getaway. But following a few rules will ensure that your culinary adventures are a positive part of your stay in Mexico.
As is the case anywhere else, it is important to be sure that the foods you consume are well cooked. This is not much of a problem in most of the larger and established restaurants, but keep a watchful eye when dining at the smaller palapas or at any street-side vendor. When in doubt, ask for your meal to be cooked a bit more, just in case.
Another word of caution regarding street vendors pertains to flies. Because food being cooked at these stands is exposed to outside elements, food left out in the open for extended periods (cooked or uncooked) can be exposed to flies. And since flies are known to hang around in less than sanitary locations, avoiding meat that is in the vicinity of flies is a good idea.
Fruits, vegetables and salads that have been rinsed with water from the local tap can also be a problem. Although some restaurants rinse these foods with purified water, some do not. And since different people have different degrees of susceptibility to gastronomical problems, people eating the same food might experience completely different reactions. It's best to eat these types of foods in moderation.
DRINKING THE WATER
The number of visitors getting sick because water contamination in Mexico has declined significantly over the last decade. Mexico understands how important tourism is to the country's economy, and they have been pro-active when it comes to their water. Cases of 'touristas' are now the exception, rather than the rule. Still, following a few tips will help keep those cheeks rosy.
Most of the larger hotels in Mexico have water purification systems which do an excellent job of providing good water for guests in both the hotel rooms and the hotel restaurants. Brushing your teeth and showering in Mexico are no longer the adventures they used to be!
Another common practice for Mexican hotels and restaurants is the availability of purified bottled water. For those who just don't want to take a chance, bottled water is the way to go. Sometimes bottles of purified water are available for free in hotels, while other hotels offer name brand waters for a nominal charge.
For those who are a bit sensitive to foreign water, one thing to keep an eye on is the source of the water for the local ice cubes. Going out of your way to drink bottled water can be a good idea, unless it is filled with ice cubes from the local tap. When in doubt ask.
Mexico travelers who try to minimize their exposure to the local water often make it a habit of switching to beer and soda (canned or bottled) when they need something cold to drink. The beers in Mexico are world class, and the sodas seem to have a wonderfully sweeter taste than the sodas in the U.S.
The vast majority of visitors to Mexico have a healthy trip. Diseases are not easily caught in Mexico but it's always a good idea to keep the odds in your favor by being aware of the risks.
Two of the diseases that can be caught anywhere in the tropics include malaria and dengue fever. Although it is rare to hear about a visitor catching these diseases, it can happen. These diseases are usually transmitted by mosquitoes, which can be common in the lower elevations in Mexico.
Mosquitoes tend to propagate in large numbers after major rains. They breed in the many pools of fresh water that collect after the rains depart. Hence it is not uncommon to experience extensive mosquito infestation immediately after a big storm or hurricane. Although the life span of an individual mosquito is extremely short, the ongoing breeding process can keep the population of these pests high for weeks after a good rain. They are particularly numerous just before dusk, so don't get caught without your mosquito repellant while watching one of those famous Mexico sunsets.
AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseased are not a huge problem in Mexico, but like many countries they are issues to be aware of and to contend with. The risk of catching a STD in Mexico is probably increased mainly because many visitors leave their brains at the border. While most people would not consider having unprotected sex with a person they don't know back at home, the carefree attitude while on vacation in Mexico can combine with tequila and the romance of Mexico to contribute to a significant gap in common sense. And contrary to the saying "whatever happens in Mexico stays in Mexico", sexually transmitted diseases know no borders.
The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides information for travelers on the CDC WEB SITE or by touch-tone telephone 24 hours a day at (404) 332-4559.
If you are on any special medication at home, there is a good chance you will need that medication while you are on vacation.
For starters savvy travelers often put their medication and prescriptions in their carry on luggage rather than checking them in with the larger suitcases. In case the big luggage gets lost, having these important drugs in your possession will be important.
Some travelers take along an extra prescription from their doctor for medications that are crucial. In case they run out or loose their important pills, they can get their prescriptions filled at most pharmacies in Mexico.
Since drug trafficking is not uncommon in Mexico, keeping prescription drugs in their authorized containers is a good way to avoid any misunderstandings with the local officials.
Although air quality in most of Mexico's coastal resorts is good, some of the larger inland cities have significant air pollution problems.
Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey examples of large cities that have significant pollution problems, especially in summer. Elderly visitors, and visitors with respiratory problems should take these issues into consideration when planning a visit in the summer months.
Public smoking is not as regulated in Mexico as it is in the United States. Hotels, restaurants and public placed have yet to crack down on smokers to any significant degree, and some smokers just can't figure it out that their second hand smoke actually bothers people nearby. Don't try to change the culture while traveling in Mexico. Just be aware of it and plan accordingly.
HIGH ALTITUDE ISSUES
Much of Mexico's interior is located on a high elevation plain, some of it 5,000 to 7,000 above sea level. Since most people visiting Mexico are not accustomed to these lofty elevations, some caution is advised.
There are several factors that come into play at higher elevations. The air contains less oxygen as the altitude increases, and humidity tends to degrease. These two issue alone are enough to put a hitch in the get-a-long of the average traveler. Throw in excessive food and alcohol consumption (common when traveling), lack of sleep, and you've got a formula for potential problems.
In addition to issues with the respiratory aspect of high altitudes, the sun plays a different role at higher elevations. Exposure to UV rays is greater at higher altitudes, and sunburns are more likely.
There are ways to deal with the higher elevation issues in Mexico. To start off with it's important just to be aware of the differences between sea level and high altitude traveling. Regarding the thinner air, it's a good idea to plan for a slower pace when in Mexico's higher elevations, especially the first few days until the body begins to acclimate. Consuming only moderate amounts of food and alcohol will also help keep your body ship-shape in the higher elevations.
As far as sunburns go, a little prevention goes a long way. Performing your sunscreen routine every morning is a travel habit that will help in the coastal areas and the higher elevations in Mexico. For for information visit the SUNBURN PROBLEMS section below.
Much of the Mexico coastline is located in the tropics. This means the sun is more intense that at higher latitudes. Just a couple of hours in the sun can cause a serious sunburn for some people. And this can put a damper on an otherwise perfectly fun trip.
A good idea is to put on sunscreen every morning as a part of your wake-up routine. Maybe sometime after brushing your teeth and before putting on your sandals. But certainly before you walk out the door for your day of fun in the sun.
Visitors who are planning on spending time in the pool or the ocean should use waterproof sunscreen. Most sunscreen manufacturers have a product that will stay with you all day while you go in and out of the water. Carlos Fiesta likes the Bullfrog brand of waterproof sunscreen...it really works!
One mistake most travelers make when using sunscreen is only applying it once and then thinking that is enough. Sunscreen usually washes away with perspiration or in water, and re-applying it often is necessary for proper sun prevention.
For more information on sunscreen use while visiting Mexico drop by the SUNSCREEN TIPS section of Mexico Expo.
PARTY IN MODERATION
It can be easy to get all caught up in the fun of a Mexican vacation by eating too much, drinking too much and getting too little sleep. To some people that is what a Mexico vacation is all about!
But our bodies take a toll when we push the limits day after day. Throw in an excessive amount of sun and a little jet lag, it's a wonder we don't kill ourselves.
Most people who party too hard while travelling in Mexico hit it hard right out the gate. The first night is often an evening of excess, and the price that is paid is more time in bed the next day and less time enjoying Mexico. Moderation is the key.
If you know going in that you are going to party hardy and can't stop yourself, plan ahead by bring the necessary remedies with you. Aspirin, Pepto Bismo, Bloody Mary Mix... whatever it takes to get you back on track.