Mexico City - Post Report Question and Answers

Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Medical care at Hospital Espanola was fantastic. I had a couple of emergency abdominal surgeries and was impressed with the sterility and quality of post-op care. You have to advocate for yourself for pain management though. - Jan 2024

Pollution is a problem most of the year, and people with allergies or sensitivities will suffer. Medical care is generally good and available. - Jul 2023

Medical care in our experience has been wonderful, and we’ve had a couple run ins with it for us and our kids. Air pollution is the only chronic thing, I think. - Apr 2021

COVID concerns aside, there is quality medical care available here, either through the health unit or private clinics around the city. For common ailments that may require a prescription but are not particularly complicated, the pharmacies here have attached clinics with great hours and are super fast. - May 2020

Medical care is very good here in my opinion. We have not had many incidents where we needed to be hospitalized, but the few times that we did we felt that the hospital, doctors, and care where comparable to the US. - Apr 2019

The medical care is excellent. - Apr 2019

Food borne illnesses! - Jun 2018

The altitude affects some people. Food-borne illnesses are real and they almost certainly will happen to you. - May 2017

Zika is a concern, although Mexico City's altitude makes mosquitoes scarce. The altitude is a real thing, and takes some getting used to. Drink a lot of water your first few weeks here. Other than that, medical care is available and excellent. I have an excellent dentist, and many expat women choose to have babies here rather than returning to their home country. - Sep 2016

The air is very polluted, so you might feel it in your throat. Occasionally I feel very tired due to the pollution. Keep in mind that fact that the city is in a valley without much wind. Expect "Montezuma's revenge," which depends on your personal hygiene as well as the hygiene of restaurants you visit. Do not drink tap water or make ice cubes with it. I experienced two stomach problems which lasted about 5 days each. Just buy Loxcell anti-bacteria tablets in a pharmacy. Most of the foreigners have been through it. - Jun 2016

Oh my word are there. Pollution is awful, and people get sicker here than anywhere else in Latin America. If I had it to do over again, I would not have brought our small children here. Hospital Espanol in Polanco is pretty good. The Embassy health unit is not the best: it has some good staff but is overwhelmed. - May 2016

There are hygiene issues. Zika is a problem in the lowlands. You have to be discerning about medical care. It is reasonable, and there are some excellent quality health care providers here, but not always high quality. There is a great deal of emphasis on appearances in general and in medical care, I think that might translate into the idea that giving more medicine is better because it seems like you're getting more for your money. There are high C-section rates, low breastfeeding rates, lots of aesthetic surgery, high rates of antibiotic prescription and not a lot of regulation. There is a paternalistic attitude in general that the doctor "knows best" and people often don't question. So you'll want to ask a lot of questions as you look for the right health care provider for you. - May 2016

Expatriate medical care is great. If you have to go to the hospital, you will have to pay upfront. If you're taken to a free hospital, it won't be nearly as nice. - May 2016

You can't drink the water, obviously, but other than that, no real problems. We get ice in our drinks and lettuce at restaurants and each of us has only been mildly sick one time in almost 2 years. The altitude takes a week or so to adjust--drink tons of water your first week here. Medical care and hospitals are quite good. Great OBs and pediatricians. Many women stay here to have babies. My husband had foot surgery here and we were pleased. We have a great health unit at the Embassy as well. - Oct 2014

Don't eat salad and cut fruit. Don't drink the water unless purified. - Mar 2014

Are there ever not? The quality of care is good, and many women give birth in local hospitals without any complaints. If you are in a motor cycle accident in Chiapas, say, and don't have health or travel insurance or someone to pay to get you home, you might be in trouble. Be prepared for bad water. This can show up in any number of ways - washing, brushing teeth, ice, dirty taco stands, clean taco stands. It's a way of life, and unavoidable. The water that leaves the filtration plants is clean, but old sewage pipes run along the same corridors as the water pipes and are corroded, leaking the sewage into the entire water system. (This is what I've heard at least.) We bleached all our fruit/veg. We boiled water for 5 minutes past boiling point (because of altitude). We bought "garafones" of water - giant 20L bottles which are great and last about a week. - Dec 2013

The altitude can be an issue for some people. Pollution is another. Colds and flu last forever. Food poisoning is unavoidable but nothing dangerous. El DF ranks high with world-class doctors, and the health unit at the embassy is pretty good. - Jul 2013

The embassy has a well-staffed Health Unit. The staff is very knowledgeable. And there are good hospitals in nearby areas. - Jan 2013

The private hospitals offer great service. Doctors are US/Mexican trained. Dentists are often US educated. You will, without a doubt, have stomach problems here at some point. - Jan 2013

High altitude can be bad for some. It never affected me. Sometimes people would get really sick for 1 day (big migraine), and then be good again the next day. - May 2012

Consumption of raw or undercooked food tends to reliably prevent constipation--so, that is never a problem in Mexico. To get "good" health care, you are advised to use the big, clean hospitals in the nicer suburbs. Those hospitals cost at least as much as in the US, but if you do have occasion to go to the emergency room, the staff will still just sit around and chat with each other until well after all paperwork and payments are completed. Best practice is to get contact info for the embassy's designated liaison doctor and know the route to his particular hospital before it is needed. It says something about the state of the medical system, that during the 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak all diagnostic samples had to be sent to Washington or Ottawa for analysis. It also says something that the ambulance services raise their funds by "passing-the-hat" at busy intersections. - Apr 2011

Respiratory and gastrointestinal viruses abound. Definitely watch what you eat and drink here. - Apr 2010

Very good health care here. And they have very good hospitals and doctors. - Feb 2010

Health care is pretty good. Pick your dentist carefully as many are very "old school."Watch the water. Some people are affected by the altitude pretty hard. - Jan 2010

Good medical care--I delivered our baby at the ABC Hospital no problem. - Mar 2009

You need to disinfect all fruits and vegetables with an iodine solution. Medical care is just as good if not better than the States because most doctors in private hospitals are US trained. I have had a couple experiences with public hospitals and will tell anyone to steer clear of public hospitals. - Nov 2008

Quality of medical care is good. You can opt to go to the US for medical care, but it's adequate here for most things, and requests to leave can be turned down (another reason to have the language). We've found the prices to be lower than the U.S. for things like dental care. - Oct 2008

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