Common Health Issues When Traveling To Mexico
Whether you’re going to visit the luxuries of Cancun, Los Cabos, and Puerto Vallarta, or the bustling metropolis of Mexico City, Mexico lives up to its reputation as one of the most beloved travel destinations in Latin America! If you don’t believe us yet, just look at the fact that Mexico accounts for roughly 58.6% of all U.S. international travel.
Depending on the parts of the country you hope to explore, it is important to stay aware of what health concerns might be prevalent in your area. While Wander Health will always be by your side to assist with your travel health needs, here are three things to keep in mind as you prepare for your next trip to Mexico:
Food Safety: Among the problems travelers may face during their time in Mexico, issues with food safety tend to be the most common. One of the most important things to remember is that it is not safe to drink tap water or eat any foods that may have been washed using it, including lettuce, tomatoes, and a number of other vegetables and fruits. If you believe you have consumed contaminated water and are beginning to cramp, vomit, have diarrhea, or develop a fever, it may be time to seek out your closest urgent care facility to receive proper treatment. While in Mexico, it is in your best interest to ask for sealed bottles of water and/or no ice in your drinks, as you may not be sure whether they come from the tap. The best rule of thumb to live by is to look for foods with a protective layer, like a banana or mango, that you can peel yourself and to only eat meals that come out hot and with fully-cooked meat. If you are looking to try some raw seafood, however, make sure that it is prepared in a style like a ceviche, where the citric acid in limes can be used to kill off any lingering bacteria.
Elevation: Do you want to venture to Mexico City? If so, keep in mind that the city is positioned at an incredibly high elevation of nearly 7,400 feet, which is high enough to cause health issues, especially for those who may be more susceptible to altitude sickness. If you start to feel dizzy, short of breath, fatigued, or get a strong headache, make sure to drink plenty of water, limit your alcohol intake, and try to avoid any strenuous activity. For those planning day-long adventures through the city’s beautiful museums and old-school cantinas, it may be in your best interest to spend the first few days acclimating to these new conditions once you arrive.
Vector-borne Diseases: If you happen to be a nature junkie, it is important to always stay on top of the diseases that may be present nearby. While there are vaccines for diseases such as yellow fever and Japanese encephalitis, there aren’t currently any for many other mosquito-borne, tick-borne, and fly-borne diseases, including dengue, Zika, West Nile, Lyme, and river blindness. When heading outside, make sure to liberally apply repellents, regularly check your body for ticks or bites, and minimize skin exposure by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, hats, and boots. If you happen to realize you’ve been bit and have the opportunity to kill the insect and take a picture of it, do it! When physicians are able to know exactly what bit you, they have a much greater ability to treat you with proper medications so you can quickly get back to enjoying your time abroad.
Like with all travel, it is important to recognize the ways in which your health could be compromised while away from home. Though our list is not exhaustive, it is a great way to begin looking into how to best prepare for your upcoming trip to Mexico. While we may not be able to pack your bags for you, Wander Health will be there when you need us once you step off American soil!
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