Dengue: Uninvited and Unwanted, Came to our House

Well I finally got dengue, I knew the chances were good, the numbers for Manabi were high but we hoped that we had taken all the precautions necessary to avoid these mosquito borne diseases.  We were wrong and I am now part of the growing statistic for the disease here in Ecuador.

My symptoms: first for about three days prior to the first big symptoms I had this awful feeling that I had bad breath, had not changed toothpastes, or eaten anything different but my mouth taste/odor was not right.  On Tuesday I had this headache pain right about my left eye…a sharp pain that lasted only a few seconds, it happened a few times and it was gone so I basically forgot about it. Early morning Wednesday after 1am I got up with the chills and a fever, had a terrible headache and pain in my eyes. I got up added another blanket and attempted to sleep.  Early the next morning I felt even worse, could hardly get out of bed, but assumed it was some sort of flu and was going to ride it out.  After sleeping on and off during the day on Wednesday, Joe was taking my temperature which stayed around 100-101 all day, he gave me Tylenol and as much water as I would drink.  I finally gave in and called my friend Eva around 6:30 pm to call Dra. Christina for me.  Dra. Christina arrived within 30 minutes, along with mi amiga Eva as my translator, and assessed my symptoms and diagnosed dengue…She gave me three shots, two in the backside and one in my arm, left a prescription for three items to get and to start taking 2 Tylenol every 6 hours starting the next morning…Drink plenty of water and get lots of rest.  Within 10 seconds after the first shot I could feel the difference and the headache started to dissipate.  No chills or measurable fever during the night.

Woke Thursday morning feeling beat up but with only a slight headache, tired and a slight fever.  Several things can happen over the next week or so – I can get a rash over my body, get the chills and fever back, and watch it doesn’t progress to something worse.

I guess the reason for writing this is to let folks know that it is not easily going to go away by itself.  As soon as you feel any of these symptoms go to your local clinic, call your general practitioner and please DO NOT TAKE any ibuprofen type products……..

We are pretty proactive people and when it comes to dengue, hemorrhagic fever from dengue, zika and chikungunya we take what I consider good precautions. Our yard is kept neat and all low hanging branches, bushes and flowers are kept cut back. We use Detan repellent every day, Joe fumigates the yard and house for mosquitoes every week and we walk around with cans of spray when we are outside.  We rake up leaves each morning and have no standing water around.  I do attempt to water early mornings so that the topsoil is not wet during the night hours. But none of those precautions help with this one mosquito. I could have been bitten while taking my morning walk but again I put on Detan before I leave the house, I could have been bitten at a local restaurant on Saturday night while out for dinner but again I wore Detan or I could have been bitten in my own home or yard where I always use Detan.

Everyday seemed to have a different symptom, first the headaches and eye sensitivity, next the fever and chills, next just sweats, total exhaustion, sick to stomach with diarrhea, after 12 days I finally feel back to my normal self.

Joe did get fresh papaya leaves from a producing tree and put them through the juicer added lemon juice and sugar and I drank that three times a day towards the end.  this was advice from a friend in Panama. I do think it helped.  World, look out. I’m back!!

Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever

This morning two military officers came to the gate wanting to add something to our cistern. This has happened in the past as a preventative of mosquitoes living and breeding in our house water system.

Within 20 minutes three people from the local municipality came by to fumigate the entire house.

They told us that this was due to two people in our neighborhood having contracted Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever. Not to be taken lightly – when we lived in Panama there was a dengue outbreak and a number of deaths from its evil twin, Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever. It comes on the same way, similar symptoms. People think they have a cold or the flu and start self medicating.  NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can turn dengue into hemorrhagic which can be fatal.  Folks who regularly take aspirin for their heart, ibuprofen for pain and soreness and the like are at risk as well.

Salud Making House Calls

Yesterday morning after our walk and coffee on the beach, a nurse from Salud stopped to ask if we wanted flu shots. Both our neighbors Paola and Gina were standing behind the nurse and her assistant, looking hopefully at my reaction.

This is not the first time Salud has come to the house and will not be the last I’m sure. I honestly did not think of getting a flu shot in May but they must feel like there is a threat of an outbreak.

Maria and Javier were just lovely.

San Clemente 5.29.2014 014There is always something new to look forward to. What really nice people we have met on our adventure!

AH 1 N1 Virus – Coming To a Country Near You

While Joe and I were sitting at the bank in Portoviejo on Friday we saw an article about the growing number of deaths attributed to AH 1 N1 (swine flu virus) in some Central and South American countries.

As of Friday, Officials had confirmed six deaths so far in Ecuador and believe that one local death may have been from the virus spread through a local Catholic Church. The Church has changed their procedure in giving communion and even with shaking hands so as not to spread this disease further.  It has hit Columbia, Peru, Costa Rica and now Ecuador. Peru is cancelling some of their Festivals and some other areas of Ecuador are requiring face masks to enter health facilities.


An Update: From Today’s Portoviejo Newspaper, El Diario: On Monday afternoon, the website of the Ministry of Health (MOH) reported that, until Monday July 29, there have been 137 hit by the H1N1 flu virus, “of which 11 died.” As reported by the newspaper El Universo, the deaths are in seven provinces in the country: Pichincha, Tungurahua, Azuay, Manabi, Napo and Pastaza Rivers. One death is in Portoviejo, near us and another in Guayaquil to the south. In some of the areas, notably around Quito, visits to hospitals is being restricted and face masks are being worn.

Medical Testing in San Clemente Centro

Early this morning I got an email from my friend Libby letting me know that there was medical testing being done in downtown Clemente from 8:30am on. Well I read the email after about 9am but quick jumped on my bike to find out what was available.

First – Libby took a bunch of pictures and it will be posted on her son David’s blog so go to:

By the time I got there the place was pretty packed with folks waiting on the various test being preformed – each test for a $2 fee.  I know that $2 for a blood test or a mammogram, well this is unbelievable to me.

San Clemente 4.19a.2013 005 San Clemente 4.19a.2013 004 San Clemente 4.19a.2013 003 San Clemente 4.19a.2013 002 San Clemente 4.19a.2013 001

San Clemente Salud – Flu Shots Available through Nov. 30th

We found out last evening at Meiers that the Health Department had been around last weekend giving out the flu shots and we were missed. I called Patricia and asked her to find out if the Health Department (Salud) was giving the shots. She is such a doll and called me back within a few minutes and gave me the details.

We took a walk into town and found the clinic office, located one block from the Catholic Church at the entrance to San Clemente. We walked in and found that this clinic has two  doctors, one dentist and a nurse that work Monday-Friday from 8am to 4pm. This is the nurse and the two doctors:

We were given our shots within 5 minutes of coming into the office, handed a Flu Vaccination Card and were headed back home.

Flu shots will be given through Friday, Nov. 30 and they are free.

Very professional staff, she was the most gentle of the past several nurses that have administered flu shots. The cost for any resident of Ecuador to see any of the doctors is free.

Finding a helping hand: Continued

This is the continuing saga of the “package in customs”. To recap: I found out that a package that we ordered from the US back the middle of February was shipped on February 25 and was received in Ecuador on March 9 and on March 15 went to customs. I received no notification and discovered after several visits to the post office on March 30 that it was being held up in customs.  First I was told that I required an authorization from Salud before it could be released to me, but after many trips back to the post office all they were looking for was a description of the herbal item that we had ordered. Yesterday, May 24th I finally received the package.

The aggravation level, telephone calls, visits and trying to explain yourself is way beyond what is necessary to have a quiet and peaceful life here. I must thank Belen from Salud and Solomon from Ecuador Correos for all their help with phone calls to customs finally getting my package released.

I just found out about a service that the Ecuador Post Office offers  that is called Club Correos. I am going to look into this service for those items that are impossible to find here. You can view their website at

Now back to my sandchair and book!