Dengue Mosquito

Dengue Mosquito

With the recent increase of rain in the Dominican Republic is coming an increase in the number of mosquitoes and mosquito bore diseases like Dengue. New dengue cases are being reported through out the island on a daily basis so it is time to start slathering on the mosquito repellent again!

The Dominican Republic has a history of dengue as can be seen by the other Dengue reports from past years. Most cases are preventable. Basic tips like putting some chlorine in any rain water that you might save, putting screens on your windows, applying insect repellent and removing any areas where water may get trapped and become stagnant can greatly reduce the mosquito population and reduce the spread of the disease.

When traveling in areas where there is a denser population of mosquitoes (more…)

Something to be careful of if you buy peanut butter here in the Dominican Republic. the US Food and Drug administration has announced a recall on peanut butter sold here in the Dominican Republic under several brands. There have been four reported cases of salmonella linked to Peanut Butter produced by nSpired Natural Foods Inc.

nSpired Natural foods markets and sell peanut butter under the following labels Arrowhead Mills Peanut Butters, MaraNatha Almond Butters and Peanut Butters and specific private label nut butters sold under the Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Kroger and Safeway brands. 

While likely if you are buying peanut butter from the larger market like La Sirena, Nacional, Jumbo and other larger supermarkets the affected product (more…)

Chocolate beans

Chocolate beans

Chocolate – the food of Kings!

Chocolate is an extremely versatile food that is used in drinks, deserts, candy and often as a main course. Cocoa or in Spanish Cacao is grown in parts of central and south America as well as in the Caribbean island of the Dominican Republic. Because I now live in the Dominican Republic I will be focusing on the variety grown here.

Organically grown Cacao can found throughout the island. And several times a year you will find the beans drying in the sun on the side of the road. Walking through the country side it is not uncommon to see the yellow, red or brown pods hanging from trees. So, how much do you know about the cocoa bean?

Dominican Hot Chocolate

Home-made Hot Chocolate Recipe

Chocolate is often bought in bars or cubes with very little processing. It’s even possible to buy chocolate where nothing else has been added. This is frequently the base for the Dominican Republics Unique Hot Chocolate.

Usually when people make hot chocolate here it is for a group. A large pot is used and all the ingredients are simmered over an open fire or a stove. Unlike the normal hot chocolate of the US where you just add some processed powder into some hot milk, hot chocolate here is made from scratch starting with pressed cacao bars. (more…)

Right now if you plan on staying in the Dominican Republic the chances of you getting the Chikungunya Virus is very good. Well over ¾ of the people I know here have gotten the virus. Even after taking all the normal precautions it still gets passed around. If you are here for vacation and you are looking up information on how to treat it, sorry there isn’t much to do but take some pain medicine and wait it out.

However what you do while you are waiting it out can make a big difference on how comfortable you are and how long it lasts. Pushing through and remaining active will just complicate things and may even lead to more serious complication as you will see from the experiences I relate below.

The short answer for treating Chikungunya is: There is no real treatment; you just try to lower the symptoms. If you go to a hospital the first thing they will usually do is connect an IV and try to get you hydrated. With the IV they will often give you pain killers, vitamin B and also an anti-inflammatory.

Chikungunya Symptoms

While Chikungunya usually doesn’t kill, it is a very painful disease. It usually starts with pain in the feet  or other joints (more…)

Feeling brave? Or maybe just desperate! Yes, you can get dental work done in the Dominican Republic! If you thinking of moving to a “developing country” likely one of the last things on your mind is getting permanent dental work done while you are here. However when you get here the option is to just live with the problem or fly back to the States (or where ever you are from originally) and have the work done there. That may not be necessary though.

Recently after breaking a molar I needed to make the decision, live with an exposed nerve or get some local dental work done. If you have ever had a broken tooth that was exposing a nerve you can guess that making the decision didn’t take long. Actually my decision had a little other help. Over that last few years I have noticed that several of my friends that travel back and forth to the states have a tendency of waiting until they get back to the DR to get most of their dental work done. The reason is pretty simple, it is a whole lot cheaper to have it done here. But is it safe?

My dental experience in the DR

One thing is for sure, it is a lot different getting work done here than it is back home. First it is a good idea to get some recommendations before you choose which chair to sit in. As in any other country, some people are more skilled and more careful than others. It’s best to find out from others instead of being a guinea pig (more…)

The official death toll has reached 59 with cases continuing to rise. The reports of the disease save been scattered through the Dominican Republic, with the many being reported in the Dominican Capital of Santo Domingo.

Dengue is a mosquito born disease that can be avoided with mosquito repellents, screens on window (very unpopular with most Dominicans), and if needed screens over your bed to keep you from getting bit at night (having a fan blowing on you works well too).

To try and combat the spread of this disease trucks have been driving up and down our street spraying mosquito spray into the air. So… (more…)

Lifestyles restaurant food poison

Take Care when at restaurants

OK, this one seems pretty obvious. Avoid Food Poisoning. Definitely should be high on the list of things to avoid on any vacation including your exotic vacation to the Dominican Republic. But… the question “How to Avoid Food Poisoning?” can be a little harder. This is something even the most experienced traveler can fall victim to at times as can be seen by my most recent experience.

Food Poisoning at Lifestyles Resort

If you’ve read much of my blog here you have probably heard me mention Lifestyles Resort in Puerto Plata several times. This is kind of a favorite “cheap” vacation for (more…)

Mosquito that transmits dengueNew cases of dengue fever have been reported in the small campo town of Fantino de Cotui, Dominican Republic.

Dengue also called “breakbone” or “dandy fever” is a serious disease that causes high fever and intense joint and muscle pain. More serious cases of dengue can also cause bleeding gums, sever pain behind the eyes and red palms and soles.

Dengue is transmitted by mosquitoes (striped Aedes aegypti mosquito) so one of the best ways to prevent contracting this illness is to (more…)

While this isn’t one of the more popular subjects when visiting a vacation based travel website (at least not a subject many people want to read about, unfortunately it is a necessary topic at times. I’ve included many posts on this site about food and water precautions (You can scan through my health section for those tips) but at times no matter how careful you are, you get a parasite or cyst.

Symptoms of Parasites

Symptoms of parasites, amoebas (amebas) and cysts are all pretty similar. Usually diarrhea is the main symptom. This can also include stomach cramps especially right after eating. Heavier parasite problems can also include nausea and vomiting although that seems to more often mean you have amoebas (amebas) which can be pretty serious. If you are throwing up with diarrhea don’t wait, collect samples and go see a Doctor right away, you don’t want to add dehydration and other more serious problems to your discomfort.

If you start to get some of these symptoms (single case of Diarrhea or some nausea) don’t panic. First remember it is likely you’re eating food that is not your normal diet, quite often that means more alcohol, deserts, strange foods and quite often just more food. Any of these can cause temporary stomach problems. However, if they persist it’s (usually more than 1-2 loose bowel movements), it is probably time to go get checked out.

Getting diagnosed really isn’t that bad (well a little gross). First you need a small sample of the offending body excretion be it the diarrhea or vomit (or both). While there are many methods to do this, it is probably easiest to get a few plastic bags from the local colmado (neighborhood store). Open one up and spread it below you as you sit down on the toilet and …. Well, collect your sample. Being that there is usually no was to shut down diarrhea and you only need a small sample, that is what the other bags are for. Turn one inside out, cover your hand and reach in and collect a few table spoons worth of your sample and pull the bag back over your hand trapping the sample inside. Tie a couple knots and stick that into a second bag to ensure there are no leaks.

Good point to remember is that you don’t need the entire job, just a small sample will due. That is a lot easier to carry around, hide, hand to the lab assistant (man what a job that must be) etc.

Finding a Clinic

This part is a lot different than the States. You might have had the travel company try to sell you expensive travel insurance to cover all the possible hospital bills that your normal health insurance doesn’t cover. It is very unlikely (more…)

The public health department of the Dominican Republic has reported more deaths due to dengue over the last few days. While dengue is always a risk due to humid air and frequent rain-showers (leaving pools of tepid water for mosquitoes to breed) , certain times of year seem to produce more reports.

As of today 10/11/12 there have been 10 recent reports of deaths with 3,538 probably cases of this mosquito born disease. Pretty much anywhere is the Dominican Republic is at risk (more…)

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