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Private Island Health

Unless you’re in perfect health, living on a very remote private island is not a good decision. Even for those in perfect health, a private island should be located within an hour of a hospital.


You should not consider buying an island where medical attention cannot be found in less than 90 minutes unless you really enjoy living on the edge. Heart attacks strike out of the blue and aneurysms have no warning signs. Getting quick medical attention isn’t so far fetched if your island is helicopter accessible or close to the mainland. Most people believe they are healthy, but accidents happen to the best of us. As an island owner, you should be well trained in first aid and keep your supplies up to date. Your health is a very serious consideration when it comes to island living. For that reason, islands with access to health care retain their value.

Falling Coconuts

coconutsCoconuts kill around 150 people worldwide each year, which makes them about ten times more dangerous than sharks. This contentious coconut fact floating around the internet may or may not be statistically exact, but it’s still true that falling coconuts can cause serious injuries. The world’s foremost expert on the matter, Dr. Peter Barss, a Canadian physician, wrote an award winning paper titled, “Injuries Due to Falling Coconuts”. Barss lived in Papua New Guinea for 7 years and Angola for 2 years. His paper documents an important preventable injury in tropical climates. When he was in Papua New Guinea between 1978 and 1985, he was director of a remote provincial hospital and the only doctor for 130,000 people. It was then and there that Barss gained his real life experience with tree-related injuries.

Most coconut related injuries occur because people take naps under palm trees. People can be injured, and in rare cases killed by falling coconuts. This may sound like the stuff of a comedy skit, but simple physics reveal that the world is indeed a dangerous place. A coconut tree can reach 25 metres in height. A coconut can weigh more than two kilograms. A falling coconut can reach a velocity of 80 kilometres per hour on impact, the equivalent of being hit in the head by over a ton of metric force. Victims can suffer fractured skulls, unconsciousness and sometimes, death. Falling from a 30 metre coconut tree is the equivalent of falling off a ten story building! According to Barss, one should avoid walking under coconut trees when possible. It goes without saying that napping under a coconut tree is a foolish pastime. In fact, resorts around the world employ people just to knock coconuts out of trees, lest they fall on sleepy vacationers.

Facts about Mosquitos

mosquito-netThe annoying little mosquito is another harbinger of bad health. This pesky little critter thrives in tropical locales, transmitting all sorts of diseases. The mosquito has two peak periods of biting activity: in the morning for several hours after daybreak and in the late afternoon for several hours before dark. Nevertheless, the mosquito may feed at any time during the day, especially indoors, in shady areas, or when it is overcast. Mosquitos love to breed in water containers like discarded tires, uncovered water storage barrels, buckets, flower vases or pots, cans, and cisterns. In an area with mosquitos (and the diseases they carry), mosquito repellent must become a way of life. And all of your tropical sleeping should be done under mosquito netting.

Malaria, Dengue Fever, West Nile virus and Yellow Fever are the most common mosquito transmitted ailments. Dengue is found in most tropical areas of the world, in regions like the South Pacific, Asia, the Caribbean, the Americas and Africa. No vaccine is available for Dengue – the only protection is covering your body, using insect repellant with DEET and avoiding becoming a meal for the mosquito. Yellow fever occurs in tropical regions of Africa and in parts of South America. Vaccination can be used to prevent infection.

Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite, probably the most prevalent disease caused by mosquitos worldwide. Malaria lives in many parts of the world, including Central America, the South Pacific and Africa. People with malaria often experience fever, chills, and flu-like illness. Left untreated, malaria can develop severe complications and cause death. Malaria transmission can be reduced by preventing mosquito bites with mosquito nets and insect repellents, or by mosquito control measures such as spraying insecticides inside houses and draining standing water where mosquitoes lay their eggs. If you’re living in a malarial area, you need to take anti malarial medication at all times.