Nurse's Notes: Humidity and Insects


August 20, 2017-- The hot and humid weather of August and September make for great beach days along Senegal's Petite Cote.  One can head to Toubab-Dialao, Saly-Portudal, or enjoy the beaches right here in Dakar, such as Plage du Virage - Ngor or the endless Plage du Yoff.


However, we must keep in mind that we live in sub - Saharan Africa, a region of the world that is home to many interesting little creatures.  And as we know, knowledge is power.  So the more you know about these little creatures the less opportunity they will have to hassle you and your family.


What creatures might be making an appearance right now?

The mango fly is endemic to the sub - tropics of Africa, and in it's larval stage, as a worm, it has a habit of burrowing under the skin of large mammals.  The mango fly will drop it's eggs into moist soil or sand, or moist clothing or bed linens (like those on a clothing line).  The eggs hatch into the "mango worm", and the worm may burrow into the skin of humans or dogs.  What to look for:  small boil - like sores or ulcers on the skin that may itch or become painful.  In the beginning it may be mistaken for a mosquito bite. How to treat it: the mango worm rarely causes severe complications.  To remove it apply petroleum jelly, Vicks vaporub, or Valda pommade to the sore to bring the worm to the surface and remove the whole worm with tweezers, pinching the skin may help.  Wash the area thoroughly with soap and water and apply antibiotic ointment.  How to prevent it:  iron all clothing and linens that are hung outside to dry (kills the eggs), and avoid skin contact with moist or potentially contaminated soil or sand (for example right after a rainfall or sand on the beach where there may be a lot of dogs running around).


The hookworm is common in sub - tropical regions of Africa.  Hookworm eggs hatch into larvae, and again can turn up in moist sand and soil. The hookworm larvae, like the mango worm, like to burrow into the skin.  Generally speaking, the hookworms that we may come across in Dakar are feline and canine hookworms, which rarely develop into adulthood in humans.  What to look for: red eruptions on the skin, often in lines, that are extremely itchy.  The eruptions often occur on feet and hands.  How to treat it: taking a pill, such as albendazole or mebendazole, for 1 to 3 days, should clear the infection.  Also taking an antihistamine such as Benadryl can help relieve the itching.  Wash the area thoroughly with soap and water and apply antibiotic ointment.  How to prevent it: wear shoes and avoid skin contact with moist or potentially contaminated soil or sand (for example right after a rainfall or sandy areas and fields with dirt and soil, where there may be cats and dogs running around).


At ISD, we are aware that precautions are necessary when kids are out on our fields and playgrounds.  Students must wear shoes when outside the classrooms.  The sand playgrounds are closed after it rains, and are only opened up again after the sand has sufficiently dried.


These safety measures can be enforced during school hours, and because knowledge is power, we encourage our families to take the same precautions when enjoying our facilities during the weekend, or when out and about at the beach.


The more you know...

Cheers to your Health,

Nurse Jen 

The International School of Dakar

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