Chikungunya From Experience: On Christmas

It all started with pain in my intermediate phalanges. Well, I thought it’s normal since I just vacummed two cars simultaneously. Although I never had this before, I thought it could be different this time since I’m a bit older. So I went on with my day, not giving it so much of a thought. Later that day, after I took a shower, I noticed some red spots on my chest and much later I felt pain all-over my body.

Arm full of rashes
backside full of rashes from Chikungunya virus

Chikungunya is a viral infection spread to humans by two types of mosquitos called Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti which bite during the day. Fortunately, it can’t be passed from person to person. Outbreaks have occurred in Africa, in Europe, and in Asia. Symptoms of Chikungunya appears 3 to 7 days after exposure, and once bitten the person becomes immune to the virus.

Symptoms of Chikungunya from our Experience

Yes, our! I got it and a day after my husband followed suit. We both had it on Christmas! Here are the symptoms from our experience.

  • Joint pain particularly the middle or intermediate phalanges (hand) on the first day. As the pain progresses, there seems to be swelling as evident by redness on the skin around the joints. The pain stayed until the third day, then slowly lessened and was totally gone on the fifth day. Aside from the phalanges, we also experienced pain in the lower back, elbows, knee caps, sternum, and the ankles.
  • Rashes that started on the chest, upper back, neck, and face on the first day. Then it slowly spread on the abdomen, back, then the extremities. However it didn’t start spreading until the fever and the pain were gone. And yes, it’s super itchy. Luckily I didn’t have them in my groin area, palm of my hands, sole of my feet, and armpits.
  • Fever that comes and goes. I have this on and off fever for three days. When the fever was gone, the joint and muscle pain were gone too (or maybe vice versa). But then we noticed that our lymph nodes on the neck, behind the ears, armpit, and groin area were swollen and painful.
  • Muscle pain that seems like you’ve just workout for eights hours straight, non-stop.
  • General fatigue. In our case, we didn’t lose our strength entirely, we were able to walk though with so much effort but the duration with which we were able to do physical movement was short, and that there was an overwhelming sense of relief once rested.
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

As you can see the symptoms are very much similar to dengue. Doctor diagnosis involves hematology and urinalysis.

Cure?

Well, none. As it is viral one has to wait until it’s all gone from the body. Neither is there vaccine for this at the moment. My doctor gave me drugs for the fever, for the pain, cough, and cold. Basically that’s it. And it’s also essential to drink more tham ample amount of water.

Preventive Measures

Basically there’s just one preventive measure and that is an overall mosquito control. Normally, we don’t have mosquito repellents at home since my husband is asthmatic, and strong odor/chemical could trigger his asthma. This time we didn’t have much choice, although we would be immune to the virus as a result, we’ve got our children to think of.

Aside from this, there should also be mosquito fogging in the community as a way of controlling mosquitos. Unfortunately, if I could recall it correctly, there hasn’t been mosquitos fogging in our place for two years now. How could they have forgotten about this?

How about our Christmas?

Well, it didn’t go as we want it to be. Good thing though,I have prepared the kids’ Christmas presents a week before the Chikungunya terror. Although we didn’t have nochebuena, the kids were able to do their tradition of opening their gifts on the morning of Christmas.

Have you heard of or had Chikungunya before?

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