In my introduction, I alluded to the fact that I love adventures and often push myself out of my comfort zone. I should mention, that while I love exploring and taking risks, it is important to do so in a smart and safe manner.
I recommend reading up on every place before visiting, to understand the traditions and customs, vaccines needed and other environmental risks, and foods that one should stay weary of while traveling. I also make an effort to note where I could go to get medical attention if needed and I make sure that I know what the insurance policies are.
Never go somewhere without knowing if you need to have travelers insurance, and if not, how that works in the country you are visiting. All the places I have been to require that I have traveler’s insurance or called to check if your medical insurance works in Mexico. You can also request your insurance company to extend the coverage.
You’ll be surprised to find that most of Mexico City’s hospitals have first world facilities and the doctors are very well prepared and alot of them do speak English, at least basic English, so you don’t have to fear, you’ll be fine if you ever need it.
The medical attention in Mexico is not as expensive as in other countries and a lot of US citizens and Canadians travel to Mexico to get medical attention and to meet specialists in plastic surgery and dentistry. The private practice doesn’t require a three month waiting list, so if you don’t have an emergency you can make your appointment with a week in advance. They can charge from 50 to 100 dollars per appointment.
Some hospital even have a Joint Commission International Accreditation, JCI, which provides health care organizations and their staff with the tools and resources necessary to achieve patient safety, quality improvement, and accreditation success. This has helped hundreds of organizations around the world reach an internationally recognize level of quality and safety.
So as you can see in the video, I visited a couple of hospitals in order to verify the quality of services and if doctors there could provide medical attention in my language. I was really surprised and took advantage of this to have a complete check-up. I got a thumbs up from the doctors, I’m healthy!!!
I met Doctor Gonzalez Chong, the general director of Medica Sur Hospital, to talk about emergencies and medical attention. I also visited a heart specialist at Dalinde Hospital, Doctor Jaime Alfonso Santiago, who gave me and electrocardiogram, (EKG or ECG) is a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of your heart.
Aside from various hospital options, there are many clinics available where you can get diverse studies done, such as blood and urine tests. You can either show up last minute or make an appointment, just be sure to see what requirements are necessary, like fastening for 8 hours, or not using perfume or deodorant.
Some pharmacies have a doctor available during the day who can diagnose and prescribe the medicines you require for minor illness. Some of the tests are free and some are less than $5.
One quick anecdote that I will share to demonstrate this point: A few years ago, I visited Thailand before going back to Germany, where i was temporarily living at the time. Thailand was beautiful and such a fun trip, and here I thought….wow I didn’t catch anything, as I usually do at some point.
Little did I know. As soon as I landed in Germany, my temperature shot up and I started feeling incredibly ill. I headed to a German hospital, where I ended up getting treated for Dengue Fever.
It was a scary experience, especially as I barely spoke German and could not fully understand the doctor. Luckily, I had friends I was staying with that came to translate and keep me company. I now look back and think of it as an adventure, but I don’t think I would see it that way had I not been prepared.
Here’s what made all the difference: make sure you have someone there to translate if the doctors don’t speak your native language, have insurance!!! (I had a great provider at home that covered my illness entirely).
What would I do different? Be cautious. I knew about the Dengue Fever, but I did not take the mosquito repellent very seriously and only applied it at night. Well, it turns out the Dengue mosquito is prevalent in the day. Lesson learned. Read up on every place and don’t mess around with your safety, so you can enjoy your travels and leave with nothing but good memories.
And if you feel sick don’t hesitate to look for medical attention, especially if it is an emergency. It is always important to get immediate attention in case of an accident, intoxication, heart failure, poisoning, etc… As Dr. Gonzalez Chong said, the first minutes are the most important to get first aid help and get stabilized
Don’t miss the Tips section where I’ll have more advice and useful information about this subject.