Monday, August 18, 2008

Off! my new perfume

Every morning I wake up, shower, put on my make up, and cover myself with my Deep Woods Off. It's become a part of my routine. After my first couple of days here, I learned that there really is no other way to keep the bugs away. And there are A LOT of mosquitos in Tegucigalpa. This is because of several reasons (a poor drainage system, for example), but mostly because people don't understand that standing water provides a breeding ground for mosquitos. Take the pila for example.

This is the concrete basin that was used originally for handwashing clothes. I'm sure some families still use it for that. In our house, the maid uses it for filling up buckets of water to mop the floor. I've used it wash the dogs. It does come in handy for things like that. BUT, why does it need to be filled with water all the time? It's breeding mosquitos...that are biting me!! Helllooo!

The thing is...I'm not trying to keep the bugs away simply because the bites itch. In Honduras, there's more to worry about, of course. The types of mosquitos here just happen to be the type that can carry dengue. "Dengue is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes mosquito infected with any one of the four dengue viruses...Symptoms range from a mild fever, to incapacitating high fever, with severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, and rash...Dengue haemorrhagic fever (fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, bleeding) is a potentially lethal complication, affecting mainly children."

You would think that this type of disease can only be contracted in the deep jungle...but it is actually more prevalent in over-populated urban areas just like Tegucigalpa. And in 2007, 76 people contracted the haemorrhagic fever (the fatal type of dengue!) in Tegucigalpa alone! (and the numbers are even higher for 2008, read here:

So now, everytime I get even the slightest bit of a symptom (headache, muscle or joint pains)...I announce to everyone in the house that I have dengue and I am going to die. (dramatic, no?)

And we all know that deet isn't the safest product to apply to our bodies 24/7...but it's either risking cancer from deet...or itchy mosquito bites that might give me dengue. What would you do??

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