Know Your Medical History

It may seem obvious to say “know your own medical situation”, but in reality, many people don’t know their blood type, when they had their last physical checkup or the names and dosages of their medications.  They don’t know the names of previous medications that were ineffective in the treatment of their condition, or those with which there was an adverse or allergic reaction.  Few people have ready access to their medical history. All of this may be critically important in the event that treatment is required in Mexico.
When living or traveling in a foreign country, it is extremely important to be familiar with your medical situation and to have it well documented and available for your treating doctor.  It is important that you’re familiar with your medications and how they might interact with other medications.  You are your own best health care advocate, which is vitally important when traveling or living in a foreign country. All this information should be in Spanish as well as English.

See the booklet called “My History of Medical Care in Mexico” on this website.  Use it to record your medications, even those you purchase over the counter, any adverse reactions to medications, your doctor visits and treatments plans and other relevant information that could impact future care.  This will also be helpful should you return to your home country for continued or additional medical care.

Life Saver Alert offers a USB drive stick preprogrammed to fill out with your medical information.  This is small enough to carry on a key chain and can contain your entire medical history.

Know about the medications you take.  My mother knew she took a little pink pill, a green one, and a triangle-shaped one, but didn’t really know what they were for or the dosages.   Many medications issued in Mexico may be the same as those available in your home country, but look entirely different.  Keep a list of your meds AND supplements updated and with you at all times.

Know your potential drug interactions and contraindications.  Don’t depend on your doctor or the pharmacy staff to be aware of potential drug problems.

Know what your drugs are called in Mexico.  Not all drugs will have the same name, even if manufactured by the same company.   Some pharmacies will attempt to substitute less expensive compound that may or may not have the same benefit.

Updated 11-10-12