May 7, 2012

Orange peels, rain and dengue fever

On April 18, Edwar Garrido and Isela Barrios represented our preschool in a “science experiment” competition. They took first place with their demonstration of why an unpeeled orange floats in water while a peeled orange does not (because the orange rind is full of air pockets). Edwar turned five years of age on April 26 and Isela will turn five on July 7.

Anyi, Edwar s sister, celebrated her second birthday on April 13. They both received birthday cards from the Sunday school children of St. Michael's Lutheran Church, Bloomington, Minnesota, for which we are grateful. Their grandmother, Luz Maria, celebrated her birthday on May 5.

On April 12,  the city of Barinas was struck by the most intense rainstorm in 40 years. A record 162 millimeters (one liter of water per every square meter)  fell in four hours. The roads in and out of town were closed,; electricity, telephone and Internet services went down; and more than 100 families were left homeless. About 800 houses were flooded to some extent., including that of Luz Maria s sister, Rosaura.

Normally, the rainy season does not begin until late May or early June, but we already are in the thick of it. Cumulative rainfall for the first 12 days of April on the average is 123 millimeters, but by the end of the  day April 12 had reached 327 millimeters.

We have not been directly affected by the heavy rains. However, all the moisture has resulted in increased mosquito populations, including the species that carry dengue fever. Anyi and Edwar's three-year-old brother, Jose Ignacio, this week was diagnosed with dengue.

Dengue fever is caused by one of four different but related viruses. It is spread by the bite of mosquitoes, most commonly the mosquito Aedes aegypti, which is found in tropic and subtropic regions. It begins with a sudden high fever, often as high as 104 - 105 degrees Fahrenheit, 4 to 7 days after the infection. A flat, red rash may appear over most of the body 2 to 5 days after the fever starts.

Other symptoms include:
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Joint aches
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Vomiting
There is no specific treatment for dengue fever. Fluids are necessary if there are signs of dehydration. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is used to treat a high fever.

Please remember Jose Ignacio in your prayers.
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