A reporter contacted me about doing an interview about the my experience with chikungunya. The following is what I sent him. I’ll add a link when he posts the article, but I thought some of you might want to read it, too.
My feet had been hurting for a while, which I attributed to standing long hours on concrete floors in poorly made shoes. Then one Saturday morning, the pain on the bottom of my feet was so bad, that I almost had to crawl to the bathroom. It felt like I had severe bruises on the soles of my feet. I tried to go on with my day, and by afternoon, I was feeling exhaustion, and I had lost my appetite completely. By that night, I began a fever (I didn’t have a thermometer, so I don’t know how high, but I don’t think it was very high).
My symptoms the first 3 days were pain in my feet and aching in various body parts (hands, knees, neck), exhaustion, fever (on and off), and lack of appetite. On Monday, I went to work, but I was in pain and exhausted. I think the fever was gone by then. I stayed home from work on Tuesday. Wednesday was the final day of classes, so I forced myself to go, but again, the exhaustion was the worst part. Still, I ate very little. I was taking 800 mg of ibuprofen (which I had from the states— it’s not always easy to find in our city). A friend also brought me complex B tablets which she was told would help. I don’t know that either of those helped much. I would compare the aches in my ankles and wrists to that of having sprained them— painful to move, unable to do some basic tasks (opening a sealed bottle of Coke is sometimes painful). Because it was so much pain, I felt like it was going to be impossible to recover quickly. You know, when you sprain something, it takes weeks. But the severe pain only lasted a few days. Then came the itching. I didn’t have a very obvious rash, but for about 3 more days, my arms, legs, and back began to itch. During that time, though, I had no fever, and the pain began to subside. I slowly regained my appetite. In all, it was about 10 days until I felt like I was 100%. The heat here had increased, too, so it’s hard to say what was attributed to heat and what was a result of the chikungunya.
Now, about 20 days later, after feeling better for about 10 days, my wrists, feet, and knees have regressed into the similar pain. Along with that, my feet and hands are often swollen. My limbs and tongue often feel like they are going numb–that feeling or poor circulation. The pain in my hands is greater now—it’s in my wrists and fingers. Ibuprofen seems to help a little, but I don’t feel a big difference. I have at least 2 other friends who are experiencing similar regression. As far as mosquito prevention, I really only use repellent when I notice the mosquitoes are bothering me. I get bit a lot, so I figured I was bound to get it eventually, especially since friends who claim to rarely get bit had the illness. I haven’t really changed anything since the illness because I read that it’s unlikely you can get it again (similar to chicken pox).