What to do if you get sick

Posted By on January 27, 2015

It’s unfortunate that some people begin their holiday in Mexico with a form of Moctezuma’s Revenge. Although uncomfortable and inconvenient, this stomach ailment is often easily taken care of with over-the-counter medication.

In the event you find yourself or a member of your family falls ill while on your Mexican vacation, there are several options you can consider.  The first thing you should do is determine the severity of the problem. Small, simple problems can be dealt with at the local pharmacy while other issues may require hospital attention.

dr. simi

Farmacias (pharmacies)

It is common here to self-diagnose and self-mi\medicate. If you happen to know what’s wrong with you and what you need to fix it, the local pharmacies are well stocked. Many of the pharmacists speak a little English and can help guide you through your issue.  In the event you need a prescription, don’t worry.

Nearly every pharmacy will have an adjoining doctor clinic, specially the ones called Farmacias Similares. Staffed during regular business hours, a licensed doctor can give you a quick examination and appropriate prescription if need be. The cost is usually less than $5 US for the exam.


Mexico is equipped with both public and private hospitals. The public hospitals are government run and are reserved for locals with IMSS, the local health care insurance. Foreigners who find themselves in need of a hospital will have to opt for the private hospitals.

Private hospitals are everywhere and are state-of-the-art. The physicians are highly skilled and the buildings modern and fully equipped. There’s a reason Mexico is considered a leader in medical tourism. Although private hospitals are less expensive than in the US, they’re not cheap. It’s a good idea to find out if your travel insurance covers you while abroad. Many local private hospitals work in conjunction with large US health insurance companies. If you don’t have medical travel coverage, keep in mind that once a patient is checked into a private hospital, they’re not released until the bill is paid.

Natural medicine options

A lot of people still prefer natural remedies. Many Mexicans and foreign visitors opt for homeopathic options. Due to its popularity, homeopathic remedies are normally quite easy to find. Large cities like Cancun to  small villages like Puerto Morelos and Tulum are outfitted with shops that carry things like medicinal herbs, incense and bee pollen.

Walking around you will also notice most markets carry traditional remedies. If you have any questions about how to best use their products, don’t be shy. The local market owners are always happy to help.

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