From Dr. Harrington:
We have many, many stories from our trip to Africa where we visited our oldest daughter, our son-in-law and two beautiful grandchildren. Most of them are anecdotal and are more interesting to someone who has also taken a trip there. However, some experiences do translate into helpful hints to the average American. Keep in mind; I am actually more of a homebody than a natural traveler.
I grew up in Montana, where the 6 months of below freezing temperatures is nature’s perfect mosquito abatement. Mosquito abatement in California is big business and largely effective. Suffice to say that we Americans don’t really have a mosquito problem, unless you live in the Louisiana Bayou or Florida Everglades. In Africa, you must sleep under a mosquito net. I spent a few sleepless nights battling a solitary mosquito that got into our mosquito net. Of course, mosquito’s love me and seemed largely uninterested in Julie. One night I fell asleep with my elbow/forearm against the netting. I can’t confirm how many mosquitoes were called to the banquet, but I was clearly the buffet offering, receiving over 50 bites in a 6” by 6” area.
Here’s the advice of the locals: never scratch a bite.
Not only will it not itch...ever...but it will heal faster. They are absolutely right. On a 1-10 scale of itch, when you first notice a mosquito bite it is a 1. If you can resist the urge for a couple hours to scratch the bite, it will disappear fairly quickly and never go above a 1 on the itch scale. However, if you scratch it, even a little, the itch factor goes up exponentially; as does the healing cycle. Scientifically, by scratching a mosquito bite you are activating a histamine response. It’s a lot like purposefully exposing yourself to something that makes you sneeze.
Having chapstick/lip balm is also very common in America. Just last week a client came in and empited their pockets and had two identical lip balms...one to use and one as a backup. Such obsession with dry lips is not uncommon. Observe and/or survey the next 10 people today. Almost all will admit to having a lip moisturizing agent nearby.
Here’s the advice from a different culture, keeping in mind that 999 of 1000 Africans have never used lip balm. In America, we have been trained into thinking that the first sign of dehydration is a headache. Actually, the first sign of not having enough water in your body is dry lips. Try to remain hydrated enough that you no longer feel your lips are dry and likely you found the source of the problem. Obviously, everyone is different , and of course I have some chapstick in my car also, but let’s raise the bar for having enough water in our system and not rely so much on chapstick. You should be drinking 8oz of water for every 8oz cup of coffee (or a single shot of espresso) just to equalize the dehydration that coffee does to the body. Coffee is a strong diuretic and causes urination. Shoot for 64 ounces of water a day. If you are a coffee drinker, add 20 ounces of water (on top of the 64 ounces) for every coffee drink consumed.