The beach and sand flies

This is a ‘special edition’ on my Belize blog. My kids are due to arrive shortly, so I asked on the Facebook forum for advice.

What should I have in my emergency kit?

Of course the usual – bandaid, gauze, antiseptic cream – your general first aid kit. BUT there is more that should not be missing!

Big problem with new arrivals with the soft, untanned, yummy tasting flesh are the sand flies!

I brought along a ‘tropic strength’ insect repellent when I came. Well, yeah … these sand flies obviously can’t read. One evening during sunset I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. My legs were covered in bites. And they ITCH like HELL !!! For a looooong time – a VERY long time! So my advice is to really take precautions in the first few weeks. Once you have this leather skin, they leave you alone (I was told).

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Right now I am using a product called ‘OFF! DEEP WOODS’ by S.C. Johnson & Son. It contains 25% DEET. I am not sure if I want to put that on my skin on a long term base. But for now, anything is better than a week of itching!

 

vicks-vaporub
Vicks VapoRub is another recommendation (but not tested by myself) to repel Doctor flies & mosquitos and relieves bites of any kind.

 

baby-oil

 

Coconut or Baby Oil – if you don’t mind sand sticking to your skin after a walk along the beach. Tried it, but I felt so sticky.

 

 

avon

 

Avon Skin So Soft Insect Repellent – we have very contradicting information here. Some say it works, others say it doesn’t. I usually have a shower before I go to bed and have used the lotion afterwards. The lotion does have a nice feel to it and I am sure my sunbaked skin can use a bit of hydration. So far I have not been bitten during the night – but that might be due to the ceiling fan running all night.

 

Garlic – either eaten or mixed with beeswax and petroleum jelly as a body rub. I use grandma as a guinea pig – she loves garlic 😉

Vitamin B …hmmmm.. Again, some say it works, others say it doesn’t. That leaves me with the conclusion that every person is different. My kids will take a Vitamin B complex for 10 days before arriving. It can’t hurt.


Let’s move on how to treat once you got bitten.

DO NOT SCRATCH – DO NOT RUB !!!

benadrylSand flies – If I am at home, I quickly get my hairdryer and blow hot air for as long as I can onto the area. For good measure, I rub Benadryl cream on. And I have to say, the bites just disappear within the hour. No itching, no swelling. Just a red dot that can be forgotten.

Some people recommended to place a hot spoon on the bite. I have not tried that .. YET!

Benadryl is apparently also good for scorpion bites!

wd40

 

Someone else recommended WD40 for bites (from fire ants) – others say WD40 is toxic – take a pick 🙂

 

 

aloe

 

Aloe Vera – cut a piece of the plant and rub it onto stings or sunburn. Apparently it will also repel insects.

 

 

 

baking-soda

 

 

Baking soda and water for bites. Make a paste and let it sit.

 

 

 

bentonite-clay

 

 

Someone else suggested Bentonite clay.

 

 

 

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Apple cider vinegar works great for bites also…….especially fire ant bites. You should have a small spray bottle handy at the beach incase someone get’s stung by jellyfish. Pee is supposed to work too – especially when you don’t have vinegar close by. Ladies will have a problem aiming at the right spot though 😉

 

 

 

 

wintergreen

 

 

 

Another tip: Get the green colored alcohol. Has wintergreen in it. Great for mosquito bites and sand fly bites. The wintergreen opens the pores and alcohol does its thing. No itch. Old San Pedrano remedy.

 

 

 

hemp-oil

 

 

Many swear by Hemp Oil

 

 

 

meat-tenderizer

 

And someone else wrote: “Having been stung by a scorpion three different times I recommend meat tenderizer. Make a paste with little water and the spice powder and place on and around sting. It will prevent the fire like pain from going through your body from the site of the sting.”

 

 

 

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NO, not THIS meat tenderizer!!!

 

 

 

 


What to do if you DID scratch?

cetirizine

Well, if the bite is infected, swelling up and turning into a big red blotch, it’s time to treat it from the ‘inside’. Take an anti-histamine tablet.

cortizone

 

 

And to help the itch use a cortisone cream.

 

 

 


To protect from sunburn is just as important. For the first days I strongly recommend using the highest possible SP factor you can get. Apply it regularly – especially after swimming!

If you plan to go snorkeling, bring some UV resistant clothes. Your shoulders (and your bottom) will be burnt in no time. Sitting in a boat, ensure that your knees are covered! A hat doesn’t just protect you from sunburn, but also keeps your head cool. Do NOT wear a wet hat – heatstroke can be caused this way (happened to me when I was a kid).

I personally do not like to apply sunscreen when swimming around a reef. The oil will get into the water. Multiply this by a few thousand tourists every day and you can imagine what impact that will have on marine life.

Do not touch corals (or any other creatures). Attend a guided tour – it’s worth it! Your tour guides can explain who is who in the zoo …ahem … ocean I mean 🙂


 

Okay, you did get sunburnt after all – what now?

Aloe plant – not just good for stings, also helps with sunburn!

Rice vinegar or white vinegar for sunburn. Dab it all over sunburn. Takes away the sting and keeps from peeling.


 

This turned into a real long post 😉 Let my guinea pigs arrive and I will update this post with more info – what really helped my family.

Please feel free to comment and share your experience with all of us!

Let’s enjoy the sunshine! <pfffft pffffft – sound of the insect repellent>

 

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My second week in Belize

Gosh, I should really blog more often. So much has happened in the past week!

One day I drove all the way up to Corozol. You cross a couple of rivers. I just cannot pass a bridge without looking over the side. 🙂 Here and there you see kids swimming in the river.

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Toll Collection … nobody told me about that! Well, it was only 75c. I wonder if that is worth putting a guy into that little hut the entire day long?

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Corozal – It’s a beautiful little town. I did a video, but have no idea how to post it here 😦

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There is even a waterslide for the kids! One day I will return and explore the town properly. Unfortunately I had to drive all the way back again. As a ‘newbie’ to the country, I didn’t want to risk driving at night. After a short break at one of the beach bars, I headed back to Belize City.

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Somehow I took a wrong turn in in Orange Walk Town.  The short detour was well worth it though as I had a good laugh when I discovered that sign 🙂

A little bit more info about driving in Belize. Yes, generally you find plenty of speed limit signs: 55 Miles – this however seems to be boring on long distances. Some cars just fly by when you stick to the speed limit. Now if you are bored, I recommend you just pick one of those ‘racers’ and follow 😉 The locals know where the potholes and speed bumps are. Occasionally you come across a police checkpoint. They want to see your drivers licence. Being a good obedient citizen I had an international drivers licence made before leaving Germany. First checkpoint I presented this document. The policeman obviously never seen this kind of drivers licence before. Yes, it’s in all languages, but it looks ‘alien’. I then showed my normal german drivers licence and he was happy. At the next checkpoint I didn’t even bother with the international licence. The german one was good enough. And one checkpoint later I mistakenly showed my german ID card instead of the drivers licence. Well, that was fine too 🙂 It’s Belize – forget those rules! I LOVE THIS COUNTRY !!!