Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Vampire eyes!

There is a nasty outbreak of 'vampire' eyes here on the Rio. A number of the cruisers, and the locals, have come down with a very nasty eye infection that causes severe irritation, weeping and redness. Antibiotic eye drops are the treatment of choice and there are a number of opinions as to the cause... too much alcohol, too many parties! My thoughts are that there has to be something in the air causing it, with heavy rain again and humidity through the roof its an ideal climate for bacteria to grow in.

This Tropical climate is a hard one to live in and we often underestimate the challenges that our bodies face here. I am amazed how few people take anti-malarial tablets. We have met four boats in the last season that have had a crew member go down with Malaria.The National Health organization recommend that visitors to the Izabel(that covers the Rio Dulce) region of Guatemala take Malarial precautions and Dengue Fever is still common here.

We carry a very complete medical kit aboard, a variety of different antibiotics amongst the prescription drugs. They have proved to be invaluable as we have traveled this part of the world. Even a small cut can quickly become infected in the difficult environment and many is the time that we have been grateful that my sister, a doctor, kitted us out with a 'dummies guide to symptoms'! Along with the correct drugs to treat them.

The most useful things to date have been antibiotic creams for cuts and antibiotic eye/ear drops for infections. Some use of medium strength painkillers, when I broke my ribs and TBH crushed his hand. And an anti-venom pump that we have used for scorpion,centipede bites. Actually considering the places we have been to and the length of time we have been cruising we have had remarkably little use for the contents of the kit, thank goodness. But it's like an insurance policy, we hope that by carrying it with us we will never need to use it!

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