6. HEALTH CONCERNS. Are there any Hawaii tropical diseases or health issues we should be aware about?

27 Feb

Hawaii Tropical Diseases

Hawaii is the most isolated group of islands in the world with over 2000 miles of ocean to the nearest mainland. We have little heavy industry in our state. As a result, Hawaii has the cleanest tropical equatorial air in the world!

Nevertheless, we do have some Hawaii tropical diseases and health issues which visitors should be aware of so they can take any necessary personal precautions.


Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease caused by a particular bacteria called Leptospira. 7-10 million people in the world contract Leptospirosis a year, with symptoms ranging from that of a light flu, to the more severe symptoms that can negatively affect the liver, kidney, and lungs. However, studies have shown that over 90% of all Leptospirosis cases are so mild that they are commonly mistaken for the flu or a bad cold. But because of the more serious symptoms, and a death rate of 0.1%, we remain vigilant to prevent this disease.

Leptospirosis is spread via infected animals, usually rodents, and the soil/material they urinate on. Infected materials that come into contact with your eyes, nose, mouth or open wounds can spread bacteria. This means that you should be aware of any wounds, and be sure to keep them covered during any muddy adventures, as well as staying out of still freshwater, and washing all fruit you eat. With these easy preventative measures, any fear towards Leptospirosis can be a thing of the past!

Click here for more information about Leptospirosis, symptoms, and treatment.

Dengue Fever on The Big Island

The Hawaii State Department of Health has recently confirmed the presence of Dengue Fever on The Big Island. At Hedonisia Hawaii we work very hard in taking the proper measures to minimize the mosquito population on a regular basis, especially now. Please refer to the links below for additional precautions you can take and current information about the outbreak.

Generally, Hawaii doesn’t have the kinds of diseases that are prevalent in many tropical areas. However, we recommend that you wash fruits and vegetables that you harvest from the land as there have been isolated cases of Rat Lung Disease. We also suggest disinfecting all scratches to prevent Staph infections.

Mold & Damp

In the desert, the air is dry and dusty which brings its own set of problems. Hedonisia is a community located in the rainforest. In other words, it rains!  At our jungle location, there is naturally occurring mold on most plants on the property and on any surface that is left alone for a couple of weeks. That is what happens in a rainforest; things can smell slightly damp and musty.

Many volunteers and guests are used to the over-sanitized life on the mainland. As a result, they have wanted us to bleach, scrub and scour our jungle kitchen, lodgings, and community facilities to a level more suitable for a hospital than an eco-friendly community. In ‘normal’ households,  cleaning agents used liberally despite being full of unhealthy chemicals.

In fact, some bacteria and germs are good for humans as they build up our immune systems. In the Daily Telegraph, Dr. Molly Fox of Cambridge University describes the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ whereby an overly clean environment has been linked to higher risk of certain allergies and auto-immune diseases.

Our response to ‘germophobia’ is to be pragmatic and eco-friendly. We use more muscle power to scrub and a minimum of chemical cleaning agents.

This is a tropical rainforest and we are an eco-community that does not employ energy using climate control to regulate nature (heating or air conditioning). We only use heavy cleaning chemicals when absolutely necessary! This means a healthier vacation in nature for you!

However, our lodgings are open air so most tourists are not affected as they would be if they were sleeping in a close confined space. If you have any acute sensitivities to mold then please take the necessary precautions or medications.

The vast majority of our Eco-tourists understand that and enjoy the beautiful aspects of living in green, lush nature. They appreciate that as a ‘green’ community we do NOT want to continually use bleach in a futile attempt to sanitize nature. It tends to be the “normal” tourists who are used to climate controlled environments who we have the most difficulties with.