Saturday, January 9, 2010
Dengue Fever & Coconut Water
Dengue fever has indeed been a big nasty hovering cloud of concern. December was a bad month for many. A few C dinners put on hold. The weather cooled and we all rejoiced but the rain systems are back, so who knows what is next. At least, the La Huerta mosquito patrol is out in force - we hadn't seen them since arrival in Nov. They just came by the casa checking for standing water and sprinkling some chemical into the drain trays on the planters. Perhaps they 'll even spray the streets again.
Mostly it has been like a horrible flu that lasts from 10 days to 3 weeks+. Symptoms include headache, high temperatures, major muscle and joint and bone aches (hence the name breakbone fever), nausea, diarrhea, extreme tiredness and lack of energy. Something of everything! Friends have reported not being able to eat or even wanting to. The only good thing about the rash that accompanies the fever is that the rash is a sign that it is almost over, a reason for great celebration. Only one case of hemorrhagic - unconfirmed - among the gringo community (the guy had a bleeding ulcer among his other probs). Of course, we all try to keep the DEET bug repellent on and handy. Areas down in the town with trees and puddles seems to be more susceptible.
What to do. Well, if the bug spray didn't do its job you can only drink plenty of fluids, don't take aspirin - it's a blood thinner - though Tylenol is good. Stay in bed - most folks are too tired to get out. Every grocery in town has litres of Pediolit and Electrolit on their shelves - Gatorade will do in a pinch though not recommended for kids largely because of the sugar in it. Coconut water is full to the brim with all kinds of nutrients and electrolytes which your body loses through fever sweats and diarrhea/vomiting. There's a ton of good information on the net about the value of cocos though folks in the tropics have known this forever! You can go to the palapa cafés and have them cut open coconuts and pour the water into a container that you bring along. I have done that a couple times when I didn't feel exactly myself and didn't want to be caught up here on the hill with no 'meds' so to speak. Fortunately, it tastes good and they'll crack it open after to give you the meat - also tasty. Friends and I have taken to drinking cocos when we go to the beach for the afternoons. The better your immune system is the shorter your stay in bed apparently.
I've heard that dengue is a worldwide problem in tropical and sub-trop areas at this time and that we along the Mex coast are not the only problem area. Anyway, lucky me, I am still touching wood daily and feel just fine.