I saw a travel doctor as part of my preparations for Guyana. I asked him about the Zika virus that has been all over the news, and also, is the main travel advisory from the Canadian government when you look up Guyana. He told me about two other viruses I should worry about, Dengue fever and Chikungunya. Those are way more painful, he said. I hadn’t even heard of that last one.
But I’m not going to the Amazon rainforest this time, I said, so I should be okay, right?
Actually, the doctor said, those mosquitos like to hang out in the cities.
The travel nurse gave me some super industrial grade DEET mosquito repellant lotion. Like, really, really strong. As in, the label says don’t wear it unless you have to. It actually kind of burns when I rub it on my skin, which I think is a good sign that it should work. I mean, if it does that to me, what will it do to the skeeters? I’m hoping explosions. Big juicy bloody explosions.
Besides testing me for TB (twice), they also gave me diarrhea meds. Like, different kinds.
If you’ve got diarrhea, the doctor said, take this.
My goodness, I hope not, I said. I like to think I have a pretty strong-
And if you have really bad diarrhea, he continued, like really, really bad. Like bad. Blood in your stools. Can’t leave the bathroom. Explosions. Big juicy bloody explosions. Causing pain-
Really, really bad, he went on, then take this. With the first stuff.
And wear sunscreen, they said. The sun is pretty strong near the equator. Not that they need to tell me to. I’m Korean and jealously protective of my awesome skin.
But I accidentally got myself sunscreen that only had 15 SPF. Why do they even make stuff like this? What is that going to protect you against? But maybe somehow it’ll be balanced out with the military grade DEET lotion. I feel like it’s strong enough to repel not just mosquitoes, but maybe also harmful UV rays.
Guyana, here I come.