Before going out in the morning, we coat ourselves thouroughly from head to toe with a high SPF, waterproof, sunscreen. Be careful not to miss the top of your ears, part-line in your hair, tops of feet, toes, and fingers.
When snorkeling, we recommend along sleeve, white, T-shirt. There is always a thin layer of water on your back and arms that can magnify the sun's rays. You can even purchase shirts with built in SPF protection.
If you get a scrape or cut, clean it immediately to avoid infection—especially if the wound is caused by coral or ocean rocks. We always carry a small spray-bottle filled with hydrogen peroxide to clean wounds or blisters (our preference may not be the best technique—consult your physician for proper treatment information). Keep an eye on the wound. If it is not healing, reddens, of you have any concerns, visit a local doctor immediately. (Search "signs of infection in a wound" for information on identifying infections.)
Sometimes called "Bather's Eruption," this rash is caused by microscopic jellyfish larvae that can be found in the Cancun area mainly from April to June. For many people they don't cause a problem, but others could get an irriating rash in areas where the larvae becomes trapped between your bathing suit and skin (mostly elastic areas that cause a tight fit). A product named SeaSafe, applied before swimming can help (we highly recommend it), and friends claim it's best to swim naked (frowned upon in all but a few areas).
If you did not apply SeaSafe before entering the ocean, it is recommended that you immediately remove your swimsuit and shower in fresh water. Rinsing your swimsuit may not remove all of the larvae, it's best to wash the suit before wearing it again.
If you come down with the rash, you can search for some home-remedies online, but we would probably visit a doctor, or at the very least, a local pharmacy.
Mexico has a bad reputation for stomach issues, often referred to as "Moctezuma's Revenge," referring to the Aztec king killed in battle during the Spanish conquest.
This ailment is no longer a major concern in tourist zones along the Caribbean coast due to education, improved refrigeration, government inspections, and the use of purified water in cooking.
Tourists stomachs can still get a little queasy, often due to th sudden change in diet (we go from very little seafood to mostly seafood), and the change in drinking patterns. Sometimes, we will get a slight stomach issue after returning to the U.S. and going back to our old diet.
We ask most restaurants if they sanitize their vegetables; many waiters not only say yes, but bring us the bottle of sanitizer to reassure us.
• Drink lots of BOTTLED water (available at drug stores and markets on almost every corner). If we order an alchoholic beverage we also drink water along with it to avoid dehydration. We also purchase larger bottles of water and keep them in our room.
Major hotels have large purification systems, but we still brush our teeth in purified water from a bottle. This is probably more habit from staying in remote areas, than necessity, but we always recommend it to our friends.
• Wash your hands often. We carry small packets of wipes in our backpack, and clip a travel-size hand sanitizer to the zipper of our backpack. Definitely wash before you eat.
• We often order meats cooked "bien cocido" (well done), especially when eating from a vendor cart along the street.
•Many people begin taking Probiotics (Acidophilus) a couple of weeks before their trip and continue taking them until about a week after they return home.
Note: Don't expect to find food exactly as it is at home, for example hamburgers. It's traditional to mix the ground beef with an assortment of seasonings and onion to "improve" the flavor. In our maps, we only recommend restaurants that use high-quality beef.