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julian3345

May 16, 2005, 4:32 PM

Post #26 of 34 (3262 views)

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Re: [DanielSharpton] I'm little scared TO DEATH!

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Maybe the age of your children was mentioned and I missed it, but if I were traveling by car in MX again with really young kids, I would be sure to carry some Gatorade and remedies against sunburn, headache, tummy problems and insect bites that they (and you) are familiar with. Gatorade is easy to find here as well as Mexican products for re-hydration available in farmacias and grocery stores. Just a change in food and water or climate and altitude can affect kids more than adults.

I traveled a lot with my kids all over Europe and MX when they were small and while it is very nice that one does gain instant understanding and friendliness from the local population when traveling with children, my kids became a little shy and wary of effusive attention from strangers. I think Mexicans are more reserved in this regard than say, Italians or Greeks, but at the same time, the children here are used to being held, played with and talked to by a great number of people on a regular basis. They tend to be very sociable as a result. As an adult, I find this charming, but your kids may be surprised by so much interaction with people they don't know and can't understand. Of course, the key is preparation and reacting positively, yourself. You'll have a great experience, I'm sure. JEM


sfmacaws


May 17, 2005, 1:17 AM

Post #27 of 34 (3234 views)

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Re: [julian3345] I'm little scared TO DEATH!

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Julian is right, dehydration is a concern with kids that aren't used to the heat and humidity. Keeping a bottle of pedialite around is good insurance that you won't need it. Put your first aid kit together for sunburn, insect bites, repellent before you leave so you aren't stressed out in a store looking for stuff with unfamiliar names in a language you don't understand.

The best advice I know of is to start the kids on acidophilus 2 weeks before you leave home - or as soon as you can before leaving. Give it to them daily, and take some yourself too, for your entire trip and for 2 weeks after you return to the US. It builds up the natural flora and fauna in the stomach and if you have a strong colony of your own bacteria they will easily destroy any aliens that you pick up. Of all the friends who have visited me in Mexico that followed my advice on this, none have gotten travelers stomach. Unfortunately, the ones who didn't take the acidophilus have often spent days of their vacation really miserable. That's fine for an adult in good health but simple tourista can be dangerous for a child.

Don't underestimate the power of the sun closer to the equator and protect the kids from sunburn. Bring some 25% DEET spray and use it at dusk, you will hear alot that DEET is bad for you but they haven't been able to prove it in tests and it certainly isn't as dangerous as Dengue or Malaria. It's the ONLY thing that is proven to repel mosquitoes - don't believe the Avon Skin So Soft or other rumored repellents. They may work for some people but they don't work in blind tests. I've found that Bounce dryer sheets work pretty well in low mosquito areas but I wouldn't trust that or anything else except DEET in a jungle environment.

Do a little prevention and you and the kids will have a wonderful healthy time. Remember that mexican pharmacists are a great resource and many of them speak sufficient english to help you if you need it. If one of the kids gets sick, go to a pharmacy and either get the pharmacists recommendation if it is a mild illness or get his/her recommendation for a doctor. They will find a way to communicate with you and they will do everything they can to help you. You have the best passport for a wonderful experience with your kids, doors will open to you that would not open without the kids.

Mexico is safe, be cautious until you feel more comfortable but don't worry too much. We are 2 women who have driven our RV over 50k miles in Mexico without a problem and with some spectacularly wonderful gifts and help from people we had never met before.


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




wyhaines

May 17, 2005, 9:48 AM

Post #28 of 34 (3202 views)

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Re: [gpk] I'm little scared TO DEATH!

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That just sounds like driving in any rural area. You never know what is going to be around the bend or over the next rise, or what might dash out from the edge of the road at the last second. So you drive more slowly and be as careful as possible.

In the last couple years, both my wife and my mother have had a deer propel itself from shelter alongside the road into the path of their vehicles. I've had to dodge or slow down or stop for deer, cattle, horses, dogs, people, bales of hay, large birds (golden eagles, hawks, and owls), a couple coyotes, broken down farm equipment, Air Force missile maintenance convoys (the most heavily armed military convoys one is likely to see rolling rather slowly down US highways or stopped along the side of the road waiting for something), among other things. Farmers and ranchers don't signal their turns, or do, but their 25 year old truck has a light out, so it doesn't matter. Some drive way too quickly, and some drive way too slowly. You might come over a rise and find two trucks stopped in the road as the drivers chat about something, or you might find a tractor moving at 15MPH right in front of you. That's driving in rural Wyoming (and Nebraska, and parts of Colorado, and....), and the solution is to slow down and drive more defensively, and only rarely do bad things happen (usually involving stupid deer who hurl themselves in front of vehicles). My assumption is that driving in much of Mexico is a lot like driving in Wyoming.


Kirk Haines


gpk

May 17, 2005, 12:19 PM

Post #29 of 34 (3184 views)

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Re: [wyhaines] I'm little scared TO DEATH!

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All the things I mentioned--plus more--occur within the city limits of even large towns--not just on back roads. There is a whole other list for rural roads in Mexico, including banditos in some areas.


sandykayak


May 17, 2005, 2:32 PM

Post #30 of 34 (3165 views)

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Re: [johanson] I'm little scared TO DEATH!

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and I missed that disclaimer also!!

I (female) drove from Miami (FL) to Chapala and back last Nov/Dec. The minivan was so full that when you opened a door stuff fell out...so I tied things to the upper handles. The roof had a Thule storage box and a folding kayak. Yes, I had lots of adventures and I am fluent in Spanish.

My Army checkpoint story up in the mountains somewhere (that's another story) is that he started out with the "you have a lot of stuff and we're gonna have to search the vehicle." To which I was able to reply, "Why, customs allowed me through."

Just then a women came up asking for a donation for some village event. I dropped in 50 pesos.

Then the soldier asked me about the boat. He asked if it was a kayak and I said "yes." He said
something about coming from somewhere where they had rivers and wished me a safe journey.

I know many women who have driven solo. Barb Thacker has a book on her solo travels to Baja. Yes, it can be frightening a times, but it was an incredible experience. I was glad I had my two little doggies with me. For the company and because they bark a lot. :)
Sandy Kramer
Miami, Fla & El Parque


DanielSharpton

May 17, 2005, 7:29 PM

Post #31 of 34 (3132 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] I'm little scared TO DEATH!

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In Reply To
Julian is right, dehydration is a concern with kids that aren't used to the heat and humidity. Keeping a bottle of pedialite around is good insurance that you won't need it. Put your first aid kit together for sunburn, insect bites, repellent before you leave so you aren't stressed out in a store looking for stuff with unfamiliar names in a language you don't understand.

The best advice I know of is to start the kids on acidophilus 2 weeks before you leave home - or as soon as you can before leaving. Give it to them daily, and take some yourself too, for your entire trip and for 2 weeks after you return to the US. It builds up the natural flora and fauna in the stomach and if you have a strong colony of your own bacteria they will easily destroy any aliens that you pick up. Of all the friends who have visited me in Mexico that followed my advice on this, none have gotten travelers stomach. Unfortunately, the ones who didn't take the acidophilus have often spent days of their vacation really miserable. That's fine for an adult in good health but simple tourista can be dangerous for a child.

Hey, where do I get this stuff? Also, do the kids need any additional shots for anything? Thanks everyone, this is great info. I'm really starting to feel good about this now. My wife and I are 30, my kids are 5 y/o girl and 3 y/o boy



sfmacaws


May 18, 2005, 1:02 AM

Post #32 of 34 (3109 views)

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Re: [DanielSharpton] I'm little scared TO DEATH!

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Acidopholus is found in health food stores or in the vitamin section of supermarkets here in the US. It is active bacteria that is also used to make yogurt. Basically, it replenishes the bacteria normally found in your stomach. If you have a strong colony of normal bacteria, strange bacteria will not be able to reproduce. That's my version of it anyway.

This is a good time to say that I am NOT a doctor nor do I play one on TV. You definitely should talk to your family doctor about your trip and take his/her advice.

All I can do is tell you what has worked for me and my friends, including advice I got from my doctor. I'm lucky and my doctor is a world traveler and keeps up on tropical medical info. He has spent his vacations for years in clinics in South and Central America.

So... here's my advice. You and your wife should get vaccinated for Hep A and B. You should talk to your doctor about whether this is advisable for your kids at their age. I think this is something everyone should do whether they ever leave the US or not.

You should make sure that all of you are current (within 5 years) on your tetnus shots. It can ruin your trip if you step on a nail while you are at the absolutely perfect spot and have to pack up and go looking for a tetnus shot.

You should bring any medications that are vital to your health with you, enough for your entire trip. You will probably be able to find them in Mexico (perhaps even cheaper) and if you do you can stock up for later. You don't want to be searching for something you have to have and discover that it isn't sold in Mexico or the generic doesn't work or whatever. This includes birth control.

You should bring both 25% and 100% DEET with you. It can be found in Mexico but sometimes it is difficult to find. See above about not spending your time looking for something you need. Bring a selection - cream and spray, figure out what works best and use it religiously at dusk or when you are in an area with a lot of mosquitos. There were outbreaks of dengue fever as far north as Mazatlan last year, if there is another heavy rainy season it could happen again. Usually 25% deet is plenty to keep them at bay, if you take a trip back into the lagoons along the coast use the 100%.

If one of the kids gets tourista symptoms, take it seriously. Kids can get dehydrated much faster than adults and the barfs and runs can be life threatening much quicker. Once you are in Mexico, go into a farmacia and ask for Treda, it's made by Sanfer and is sold in most pharmacys. It is a combo med for tourista and comes highly recommended. Luckily I've never had to use it but my partner has and many friends have. It contains something for the runs and an antibiotic to get rid of the bad bugs. I ran it by my doctor last year and he agrees it is a good formula for common tourista. My box says you can give 1 pill every 4 to 6 hours to children 6 to 11 yo, since yours are younger then get something similar from your doctor to take with you and treat vomiting or diarrea immediately.

Of course, you won't need any of this stuff but if you are prepared then you can relax about it.

Take it easy on the new foods for the first few weeks, it's enough of a change for your system traveling and climate changes. If you want to eat street food, don't do it when you first cross the border... kind of ease into it, your stomach will thank you. BTW, a cooler will be a great thing to carry in your car. You can get purified ice anywhere and carry water and healthier snacks. Mexico has some of the best yogurt I've ever had, buy it for snacks for the kids.

I think you will have a fantastic time! We've run into lots of travelers with young kids and with some common sense and a little preparation it will be an easy trip. Kids in Mexico are treated exceptionally well, they are indulged yet most of them are much better behaved than kids up north. I don't know the reason for that but I suspect that it is because they are included in the life of the family more than in the US.


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




toddmc


May 18, 2005, 9:09 AM

Post #33 of 34 (3075 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] I'm little scared TO DEATH!

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Re Tourista

last time we went down we were able to get the new vacination for Tourista,

http://www.travellersdiarrhea.com/en/index.cfm

this is available up here in canada, but I am unsure whether you can get in the States.

Todd


tonyburton


May 18, 2005, 9:16 AM

Post #34 of 34 (3073 views)

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Re: [toddmc] I'm little scared TO DEATH!

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I'm locking this thread since it's getting way too long. Please start another, with a more specific title. Thanks!
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