One of the buzz terms in Jamaica in 2014 was “Chik V” (in reference to the Chikungunya virus). As I watched colleagues and friends fall victim, I increased my dosage of mosquito repellent and started my own personal war against the dreaded mosquitoes. I remained unscathed until Christmas week. Christmas day came and went and in the few days prior I had been feeling a bit exhausted but summed that up to running myself ragged the weeks prior and still not slowing down. On Boxing Day I had pains in two fingers and just feeling off (nothing really to write home about) and I just summed it up as fatigue. It did not affect my activities on Boxing Day or the day following. On Sunday I felt feverish, was going to the bathroom often and started itching. I thought I was possibly having an allergic reaction to something I had eaten. By afternoon, I was sniffling and thought that maybe I was getting the flu. I continued itching on Monday and Tuesday while taking some antihistamines and still just feeling not myself. On Wednesday, I had a rash on my arms so I went to see the doctor. He examined me and told me the rash was also on my back, that I had Chik V and prescribed antihistamines, pain/fever reliever and Vitamin C.
I guess the only comparable feeling based on my personal experience is the chickenpox. I felt like I did when I had just gotten the chickenpox just not as bad. The joint pains and fever never came (or should I say have not come), but the itching, still has not stop. It has been greatly reduced but has not stopped completely. The rash itself was gone in a couple of days but the itching was bad for at least 11 days straight. It did not seem the antihistamines were working so a friend suggested “Bizzy” (kola nut) I stopped taking the antihistamines and started drinking the Bizzy and the itching reduced dramatically so I am not certain if the itching had just reached it acme and was on the decline or it was the Bizzy that worked. Apart from the itching, I have been having these crazy dreams every night. I had to ask a friend if this happened to her and she said the Chik V messes with your head. The dreams have not stopped I just don’t always remember them.
Now I am even more paranoid about mosquitoes and worry that even though I supposedly got the virus, this does not make me immune to another strain. Let’s face it, we do not know enough about the virus or the disease so I am erring on the side of caution, keeping my war paint on and keeping my immune system in the best shape possible.