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Land of the six-week dengue flu

Published: 
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

It’s been a nasty September-December flu season. Lots of runny noses, sneezing, coughs, fevers, snoring, mouth breathing (if the nasal cavities are partially blocked you snore, if they’re totally shut up, you mouth-breathe) and wheezing. September is the worst possible month to start new, young kids off in school. It’s the middle of the rainy season; kids get wet and stay wet. Despite the science, any mother will tell you that once that happens, the runny nose and fever is not far away.  

 

The days alternate between hot and not so hot. Temperature instability causes excess phlegm production. Air-conditioned classrooms are now all the rage in day care centres. Air-conditioned air is cold and dry. Cold air causes you to cough even if you do not have a runny nose. So does dry air. Carpeted floors, another new “advance,” capture dust, breed house-dust mites and stir up allergies. 

 

New viruses come down to us from the north just as a fresh group of immunologically virgin children start mixing with each other. So do their viruses. 

 

 

The most commonly heard cough this year was the classical “dog cough” or “seal barking” indicative of “le croupe” or laryngitis in small children but often heard, if in a diminished way, in their accompanying mothers. In the old days, before steroids, there was no pharmaceutical treatment and “vest” was a mainstay of management and one still sees children coming in out of the hot sun with a “vest.” To keep the chest warm, you know, Trinidad being a country known for its cold climate. 

 

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