Monday, September 22, 2008

Dengue Fever in Baja

Tis’ the season, unfortunately. In Baja, dengue fever outbreaks typically occur in September and October following hurricane season when water from tropical storms is available for mass breeding of mosquitoes. There are four different types of dengue fever, with no vaccines or cures currently available.

Classic symptoms of the illness are: a high fever that may last from 5 to 7 days; intense headache; joint and muscle pain; and a rash. The rash typically begins on the arms or legs three to four days after the beginning of the fever. Symptoms can range greatly in severity yet in general usually resolve within 1 to 2 weeks.

There is no specific treatment for dengue except well-intended advice to rest and drink plenty of fluids. After recovery from infection of one type you obtain some immunity against that specific virus but subsequent infections by any of the other three types of dengue viruses can be more severe.

Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever is the most serious form of this illness. In addition to the classic symptoms listed above, sufferers can experience internal bleeding, liver enlargement and circulatory shut down. Hospitalization is usually required. It is most common in children under 15 yrs of age, but is also seen in adults.

Health Alert: Dengue Fever & Children If you are the parent of a child who has had an episode of dengue illness, it is important to know that a second infection can be much more severe. Symptoms of Dengue Fever in infants and children are outlined on the Pediatric Oncall website.

The best tactic to prevent dengue is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. This includes sleeping in areas screened from mosquitoes, wearing long sleeves and pants and using mosquito repellents. Another protective measure is to destroy breeding sites containing standing water such as old tires, plastic packaging, pet water dishes, etc. Anything that holds standing water can breed mosquitoes.

Molly, author of Viva La Baja! Relocation & Real Estate Guide to the Baja California Peninsula

Monday, September 8, 2008

Learning The Language - For Kids

Note: This is an excerpt from the chapter “Children and Education” of the Viva La Baja! Relocation & Real Estate Guide. To view all topics covered in the eBook, click here: Table of Contents.

There are many alternatives for educating a non-Spanish speaking child in Mexico, and for acquiring language ability. An excellent way to start is to spend a summer in Mexico and have the child or teenager attend a summer program or camp. It is a fun, low-stress method of learning and can help you assess how quickly he or she will pick-up the language. It also gives a jump-start on the school year if enrolling your child the following Fall is your goal.

My son and I spent a summer in Morelia, Mexico (July, 2007) to beat the heat of Baja and had a good time. He attended a Mexican professional, arts school – Belles Artes – for a month-long program in dance, painting, theatre and music for $75 USD. I wrote an article that contains information on available summer programs for children in Morelia. It can be read online here: Traveling to Mexico with Children.

Even a few days or a week at a hotel day care program can be beneficial. While Mom and Dad play, kids have fun and gain the experience of being in the care of adults who speak Spanish and English. An easy trip across the border, Rosarito Beach Hotel offers supervised kids camp for guests. Detailed information can be found here: Rosarito Beach Hotel.

Ecotourism Kuyima, located in San Ignacio, has weeklong summer camps for Mexican and American children: Adventure's for Kids. Your child would have the opportunity to interact with Mexican children, who may or may not speak English. Interacting with their peers outside of a classroom setting is often times the most effective way for kids to learn.

Viva La Baja! Relocation & Real Estate Guide has additional listings of summer camps, volunteer programs, environmental studies in Baja and other programs for teens and families.

Molly, author of Viva La Baja! Relocation & Real Estate Guide for the Baja California Peninsula.