Robert H. Page, MD and Curtis P. Page, MD are authors of the MEXICO: Health and Safety Travel Guide and the Healthy Traveler Regional Series. For more information visit medtogo.com
Visitors to Mexico should consider packing a first-aid kit prior to travel. Below MedToGo’s physicians make some helpful recommendations for preparing your kit. If you would prefer to purchase a travel health kit specific for travel to Mexico, visit www.medtogo.com. Travelers with special needs or concerns should consult their physicians and make up an individualized travel health kit for their convenience.
Antibiotics other than Xifaxan are not recommended for the prevention of diarrhea. When bismuth subsalicylate is used to prevent TD, the adult dose is 2 tablets chewed well with meals and at bedtime (8 tablets/day), continuing the drug while in a high-risk region.
- Medical Summary and Information Document (for a free downloadable form visit www.medtogo.com/t/travel-preparation/medical-history-travel-form.html)
- Traveler’s Diarrhea (TD) Prevention and Treatment
We recommend rifaximin (Xifaxan) or bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) to prevent TD when going to high-risk areas for trips under 3 weeks. Xifaxan is effective when taken either to prevent or treat TD. To prevent TD we recommend a dosage of 200 mg. Xifaxan twice a day while outside the U.S. in a high-risk country. Discontinue medication for treatment or prevention when returning to the U.S.
To treat TD if you did not take rifaximin for prevention, take 200 mg (one pill) of refaximin three times daily for three days. Other effective antibiotics for treating TD are ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin or azithromycin. Take 500 mg once a day for one to three days. Loperamide may be used to control (but not cure) diarrhea. This medication slows down bowel action, so do not use it if you have been infected with a bug that causes fever or if you are passing bloody stools.
Questionable water may be sterilized with water purification tablets or drops: 5 drops of 2% tincture of iodine or one 20mg tablet of tetraglycine hydroperiodide may be added to 1 litre of water. Let stand for 1 hour prior to drinking. You may purchase water filtration devices at many sporting goods stores; if used properly, they can eliminate all infectious bacteria if you combine treatment with proper filtration.
Note: Iodine use does not guarantee the elimination of cryptosporidium bacteria. Iodine is not recommended for people with previous history of allergy to iodine.
HELPFUL ADDITIONS (Just in Case)
- Malaria Prevention Pills (visit www.medtogo.com for guidelines and regional recommendations)
Chloroquine (Aralen) is the recommended drug for those traveling to at-risk areas in Mexico. For people who cannot take chloroquine, we recommend mefloquine (Lariam).
- Sun Safety
Sunscreen with SPF 15 or above and waterproof formulations are preferred. We recommend aloe vera gel and/or 1% hydrocortisone cream for minor sunburns. Always use sunglasses with UV protection.
- Wounds and Skin Care
Bring along tape, sterile bandages, and gauze. Pack 1% hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion for itchy rashes and bug bites). Include mupirocin (Bactroban) or Bacitracin ointment, and hydrogen peroxide to disinfect wounds.
- Insect Repellents and Protection
Bring 0.5% Permetherin-based aerosols with you to repel insects from clothing and equipment. Apply DEET (N, N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide)-based repellents directly to the skin. Check strength of formulas: 30-35% DEET formulations are for adults, while children between ages 2 and 12 may use formulations with up to 30% DEET.
- For Pain
Aspirin or Ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil). Narcotics should always be packaged in their original containers with valid prescription labels.
- Motion Sickness Medication (for those sensitive to movement in cars, boats, or planes)
Transdermal Scopolamine patches or Dramamine tablets can be helpful in preventing most forms of motion sickness.
- Urinary Tract Infections
Pack Ciprofloxin or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim/Septra) tablets if you have or anticipate the possibility of getting urinary tract infections.
- Vaginal Yeast Infections
Bring Clotrimazole (Gyne-Lotrimin) or miconazole (Monistat) vaginal creams or fluconazole (Diflucan) tablets to ease yeast infections.
- Poison Ivy Protection
Include Ivy Shield, Ivy Block or Stokogard Cream. Use as directed.
- Your Favorite Cold Remedy
- Tweezers (to remove ticks or thorns)
- Thermometer (especially if traveling with children)
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