[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

#2186: Health safeguards in Haiti : Russell comments

From:  <avrussell@hotmail.com>

re: Larium issue, etc.

While I am not a doctor, I have been counseled by many doctors and nurses 
NOT to take anything stronger than chloroquin for malaria in Haiti.  
Apparently, the malaria strain in Haiti has not yet developed an immunity to 
chloroquin and does not need the stronger dosages of larium and other 
malaria-fighting agents that are needed for stronger strains found in Rwanda 
and other parts of Africa.  In fact, when you introduce Larium and the other 
malaria-fighting agents into an environment where mosquitos still cannot 
resist chloroquin, you can make them chloroquin resistant.  This in turn 
makes it more expensive to fight malaria because while chloroquin is 
relatively cheap, especially in Haiti, the other drugs are much more 
expensive (I believe).

So please!  Take your shots and pills(speaking as someone who has had 
Malaria, Typhoid, AND Dengue), especially if this is your first time to 
Haiti, but make sure they are appropriate to the strains of disease found in 
Haiti.  Otherwise it can cause more environmental and personal harm than 

And take extra precautions when you want to eat and/or drink anything local. 
  It's only once you've been there for a while that you can start to devleop 
some of the basic antibodies that you need to fight some of the local 
strains of diharreah.  However, this does not keep you from getting any of 
the more serious disease. I got typhoid in my own house after living in 
Haiti for four years and making sure to take all the appropriate safeguards.

I have found that eating street food is done best from a trusted vendor who 
keeps her/his oil hot.  A rule of thumb is not to eat anything that hasn't 
1) just been prepared, 2) been prepared in front of you, or 3) isn't piping 
hot.  This pretty much rules out anything room temperature unless it is well 
packaged.  And fruit is fine as long as there is a peel that you can peel 
away and that has not been punctured in any way.  If worst comes to worst, 
you can always make a meal of Dominican or Haitian crackers and La Vache Qui 
Rit cheese and fresh fruit.  I must admit though I have often broken the 
rules by being tempted by fresh mamba ak pen or dous (let, makos, cocoye, 
etc.) or tablet nwa.

As for drinks, bottled water is a must.  But if you are in the middle of the 
country and no bottled water is available, the best thing is to drink Coke 
or Sprite -- they are great rehydrators and are readily available throughout 
the country, often already cold.  However, drink them without ice and 
through a straw if possible.

If you are really "an deyo" ask someone to open up a coconut for you -- 
coconut water is full of vitamins and is great stuff when you're really 
thirsty.  The best part is amusing the local kids with your obvious 
inability to master the art of drinking without getting your shirt 
completely soaked. Once you're finished with the juice, you can watch in 
disbelief as a child no more than six or seven years grabs a huge machete 
and whacks the coconut open for you and makes a spoon out of the skin -- all 
just so you can eat the wonderful coconut meat inside -- with the mastery of 
a neurosurgeon.

One thing's for sure, no one should miss the chance to visit Haiti because 
of health concerns.  Common sense will keep you healthy, and if you do fall 
sick, there will always be plenty of support from locals.  Some of my 
nastiest health problems have been cured by the common local "remeds" for 
all of the local illnesses.

Good luck on your visit!


Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com