VACCINATIONS. In planning for your departure, please look at this web page. It has suggestions about vaccinations, etc.:  On that page it is recommended to turn your attention to vaccinations 4 to 6 weeks prior to travel.  Our 2014 NEH Summer Scholar Liz Bure shared this information from her doctor:

“My Dr recommended tetanus and hepatitis A (actually you’re supposed to get it six months before traveling, but one shot gives you 80% chance of being immune, 2 shots gives you 95% chance of being immune).
She also said it’s fine to boil the water and then drink it, and it’s important not to wash the fruit with the water, but to peel it instead. Apparently this is what actually gets most people, since most people know to drink bottled water.
She also said get on a good 1-a-day multivitamin regimen now to boost overall immunity, since you always run into new bugs when you’re in a different place.
She also said do not take medicine out of bottles/packs since they will sometimes take your pills from you at the airport if they are in an unidentified container….”  (email, May 17, 2014)

PRESCRIPTIONS. Make sure you bring enough of your own prescription drugs to last for the duration of your travels. Keep your prescriptions in the containers in which they came (with your name and dates), as this will help you through customs.  If you are insulin dependent, please bring enough and make sure your housing choice has a refrigerator.

DIGESTIVE ISSUES. You might talk to your doctor about getting a prescription for ciprofloxacin, which is effective for resolving some of the “digestive problems” tourists sometimes experience. Cipro might also be available in Oaxacan pharmacies where there is a resident doctor willing to prescribe it (not always the case). When cooking in your own lodging unit, you can drink bottled water and disinfect fruits and vegetables. Peeling fruit is always smart, too. When eating out, try to stick to recommended dining facilities. Street food stands are risky (due to hygiene and refrigeration issues).

FIRST AID. Some general needs include: Neosporin (or similar antibacterial), Bandaids, anti-bacterial hand sanitizer, sunscreen.  Exchanging money is the most “efficient” way of spreading some germs, which is why a hand sanitizer can be smart. A serious insect repellent would also be very useful, especially for exposed arms and for ankles (if you plan to wear sandals).  The Director says her ankles are always covered with bites, even when she sprays a repellent; re-applying is important.  If you are allergic to bee stings, bring your kit. Having said all this, pharmacies in Oaxaca will have almost anything you will need if you forget anything.  There is also a “Sam’s Club” in Oaxaca where you can get things imported from the States.

DOCTORS. Finally, when you come to Oaxaca, please bring a copy of your insurance documentation and some kind of emergency contact information. Here is the name of a recommended doctor:  Dr. Horacio Tenorio Rodríguez, Clínica Hospital Carmen, Calle Abasolo No. 215, Centro Histórico, Oaxaca.  Tel. 516-2612 or 514-7545.  Office hours:  10 AM to 2 PM and 5 PM to 8 PM, Monday through Friday.

If Dr. Tenorio doesn’t work out, we can find some other doctors, dentists, and clinics to recommend. And, should the need arise, we might be able to provide someone to go with you who is able to interpret for you.  The travel insurance you have to buy from the University of Oregon is mainly meant to cover emergency situations, such as evacuation, but you can also save health-care receipts to submit to the insurance company for reimbursements.

EMERGENCIES:  Hospital Reforma, Calle de la Reforma No. 613, Centro Histórico, Oaxaca.  Open 24 hours.

CURANDERO: We have had a very positive experience with a local curandero (indigenous healer) who rents a space in the top floor, southeast corner, of an arts/crafts shop called Huizache, on the east side of Macedonio Alcalá near Murguía. He uses sound vibrations for healing.  It is an amazing experience.  You can probably drop by without an appointment and make a donation (50 to 100 pesos?).  Or you can make an appointment and ask him what his fee would be.  I am not sure if he knows English, so you might want to go with a colleague who knows Spanish or ask that colleague to write the curandero an email for you.  He will take up to four people at a time.  His name is Roberto Méndez Gopar.  His email address is or