Health

It's safe to eat the food

Food in restaurants is safe

  • Food safety is a priority to owners of restaurants as well as to local residents
  • Local restaurants are very safe to eat in

Street food is safe

  • Food stalls rely very heavily on repeat local business and food safety is a key to this
  • We have never had any problem with street food on the island

Drink bottled water

Purified water is best

  • City water from the tap is actually fairly safe
    • It doesn't taste very good.
    • Locals drink only purified water
  • Water ordered at a restaurant will come in a bottle or was poured from a carboy and is safe
  • At Casa Suzana, fill the carafe in your bathroom with purified water
  • When going out, you can fill bottles with purified water from the dispensers at Casa Suzana

Drinks made with water are safe

  • They are always made with purified water
  • This includes the aguas frescas that almost everyone drinks with meals

The ice is fine

All ice served in any restaurant, at street stalls, or elsewhere is made with filtered water and is fine

  • This includes ice in drinks or used to make treats
  • Only use purified water from the dispenser to make ice at Casa Suzana

"Montezuma's Revenge" (medically known as Traveler's Diarrhea)

"Turista" can be multifactorial, and not always due to contaminated water or poor food safety

  • Factors can include: dehydration, overuse of alcohol, overeating, sun overexposure, and more
  • Sports drinks such as Gatorade are NOT very good at preventing dehydration due to diarrhea
  • Rehydration drinks such as Pedialyte ARE good at preventing dehydration due to diarrhea
    • Pedialyte is readily available on the island

Sunburn

Sun protection is a must

  • Tropical sun is quite intense year-round
  • Without protection, you can get severe sunburns surprisingly fast
  • Sunburn is still easily possible if the sky is overcast
  • White T-shirts are only SPF 6 when dry, and practically useless for sun protection when wet
  • Local shops have a wide range of high-SPF sunscreen
  • Don't forget to reapply sunscreen per package recommendations

Mosquitos

Mosquito repellent is necessary

  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends applying a repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), PMD, IR3535, or 2-undecanone
    • The US EPA characterizes DEET and picaridin as “conventional repellents”
    • EPA refers to OLE, PMD, IR3535 , and 2-undecanone as “biopesticide repellents,” which are derived from natural materials
  • No other repellents of any type have been shown to reduce mosquito-borne illness
  • No vitamin or anything else taken orally has been shown to reduce mosquito-borne illness
  • No gadget has been shown to reduce mosquito-borne illness

Mosquito-borne Illness

  • Dengue is a possible problem here with several serious cases per year
    • Dengue is potentially fatal
  • Zika and Chikungunya are possible problems here
    • They are no fun
  • Malaria is not endemic on the island and prophylaxis is not necessary
    • If you plan to travel away from the coast on the mainland, you should check with a travel medicine doctor for recommendations

Medical Care

Cozumel has very good hospitals, clinics, and doctors by US and Canadian standards

  • I'm a US-trained, board-certified specialist. I don't hesitate to access healthcare on the island when needed and have always been happy with care.

Prescriptions and Medication

Pharmacies on the island carry most of what's available "back home", including brand names

  • Many medications that aren't controlled substances at home don't require a prescription
    • You can probably get your blood pressure medication, erectile dysfunction medication, antidepressant, or insulin without a prescription
  • Medication is not always especially cheap in Mexico - bring enough from home for your entire trip
  • EpiPen® is not available in Mexico at all, though you can bring your own

Mexico has prescription and controlled substance laws similar to most other countries

  • Antibiotics (all antibiotics except topical ones) require a prescription from a Mexican physician
  • Controlled substances require prescriptions from a Mexican physician, including
    • Opiate pain medications (which are nearly unobtainable even with a prescription)
    • Opiate cough suppressants and gastrointestinal drugs
    • Benzodiazepines
    • Sedative-hypnotics ("sleeping pills")
    • Barbiturates
    • Anabolic steroids
  • If it's a controlled substance at home, it almost certainly is in Mexico

Just because a medication is legal at home does not mean it's legal in Mexico

  • Pseudoephedrine is banned in Mexico, and is illegal to transport into Mexico
    • This applies to pseudoephedrine by itself or in combinations
    • There are no exceptions, even if you have a prescription from somewhere else
    • Tourists have been jailed for bringing in personal supplies of Sudafed®

Don't bring any cannabis products

  • It does not matter if you have a cannabis authorization at home - that doesn't apply in Mexico
  • Anything you may have read about Mexico's relaxing cannabis laws applies to citizens and legal residents only