Sun Burn and Ant Bites
Be Prepared

Photographs and Text By John Todd, Jr.

South of the Tropic of Cancer
South of the Tropic of Cancer the suns rays are more direct. Even in the winter time.

A lot of people who come to Mexico for the first time in the winter are not prepared for the sun and get burned the first day out, and spend a couple of days in the hotel in pain.

There are all kinds of remedies with coconut oil, and other things but I have found the best thing for me: Foamy shaving cream.

Itīs cheap and it works. I also found a quick remedy for insect bites.

Sunburn Remedy
The Sun is More Direct in Mexico
The other day I saw a tourist down on the Malecón wearing the badge of someone who is new in town.

You could see it was unexpected. A bad sunburn! Not bad enough to go see a doctor, but she looked miserable.

I remembered the first times I came to Mexico and went to the beach and came back red as a beet after only about 20 minutes.

For a long time I went to pharmacies looking for remedies and have paid a lot of money to find a product that will both relieve the pain, and rehumidify the skin.

One day I found the solution.
Thick Application
Any Brand is OK
Foamy shaving cream was the answer. It makes no difference what the brand is.

Probably the cheaper the better. All brands do the same.

Apply it thickly on the affected areas. Face, arms, shoulders. About 2 inches thick.

Let it sit and soak in for about 20 minutes. It will dry around the edges first.

When it has been absorbed in no longer than an hour, you can lightly brush it off. Most of all Donīt Wash It Off!

From my own experience, the pain will be a lot less as the skin is rehumidified, and during the following days I donīt peel.
Mascara Mud from Catemaco
Ant Bites are Unexpected
In Lake Catemaco they sell a lot of local remedies. One of these is a mud pack. The lady told me it not only will it make your face look a lot younger, but itīs good for insect bites.

I bought a bottle of the grey sand in a recycled Gatorade bottle for about $6 dollars. Later I found it cheaper elsewhere.

On the sidewalk next to where I park the car is a bed of very small ants which come out only during weather changes. One night I accidentally stepped in them and within seconds they attacked my ankles.

I quickly brushed them off and went inside the house, mixed up some of the mud from Catemaco, and within seconds the pain was gone and I was fine.

Dump about 2 tablespoons of powder into a saucer. Add water a few drops at a time until it is like toothpaste.

Apply it to the affected area and allow to dry. It soaks up the venom. You can repeat the operation if it still hurts. Other people tell me that any kind of mud works. I donīt know.

Other Necessities
Other Necessities
No matter where I go, I like to travel light, but I try to bring along a couple of basic necessities to avoid discomfort.

If I am going to be at a beach town for a couple of days, I buy a cheap hat the first day Iīm there.

It takes a couple of hours to get used to my "new look", but itīs worth it in the long run.

During the raining season, even the best hotels sometimes have bugs, especially one pesky mosquito in the middle of the night.

Or you may want to take a walk in a jungle or attend a party.

It doesnīt take up much space in your bag to bring along, or buy along the way, some good bug spray, some repellent and have a spare roll of toilet paper.

You never know when you are going to need them.