Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Chikungunya

This may or may not be the type of mozzie that carries it but aren't they all bad!

Or Chicken G or Chick G or as we call it aboard s/v Honey Ryder, Chicken Chimichanga.  While the rest of the world is talking about Ebola, the cruisers and locals here are all talking and whispering about Chick G.  *I don't know why but wherever something is bad, people lower their voices to a near whisper to talk about it.  While chicken G is not fatal, it is some nasty stuff.  Early symptoms are like the flu with high fever and aches but the severe joint and muscle pain that lasts for a longtime along with bad headaches is the stuff people whisper about.
Here are the full details if you are interested.  Chikungunya (CDC) and here (WHO). 

Mosquitoes are to blame.  Bastards!  Some places spray against them but most islands simply can't afford to spray.  Plus there are just so many places in these islands that are ideal for mozzies.  
There isn't a cure and the only prevention is to not get bitten.  Yeah right.  We are trying our best.  We have mozzie spray including some with 25% deet but it feels so nasty on your skin and inevitably I end up getting it in my mouth some how.  Yes, I know...that is bad too.  Plus I am fully convinced deet melts fiberglass.  Completely covering up is an option if you don't mind heat stroking. I have the coils to burn while in the cockpit and even in the boat but these must be monitored very closely as we don't want to scorch the fiberglass or worst yet, fire.  Not all coils are made the same.  Some smell ok while others are more like a campfire.  Additionally it's smoke and that leaves a soot like coating on things like fans and such.  I also have some natural stuff I have been testing out.   It seems to work somewhat but the affect wears off pretty quickly.   It has citronella, peppermint and other things. I like it but Tom hates the smell.  It's super strong.  He says he feels like he is sleeping with a big can of Pledge furniture polish.  On the positive side, it leaves my skins soft.  We have all the cockpit enclosure screens up - including the new one I made for the front windshield of the dodger.  However no enclosure it 100% in terms of shutting out mossies because of all the ins and outs of the cockpit, dodger, bimini, and arch.  We have all our screens in place on our portlights and the Zarcor doors are up with screens in but we still get mozzies below as we come and go the 100+ times a day from inside the boat out into the cockpit and beyond.  

Even with all this, they are finding ways to bite us, especially me.  They really like me.  The other day I got a bite 2 seconds after I got out of the shower.  Oh yeah, there is nothing like taking a cool shower to wash off the day's sweat and stink only to immediately cover yourself in deet.  Ugh!  Get this,  I got a bite over the weekend on my upper, inner thigh as I was pulling up my shorts after a quick pee!  I know, TMI but I am sharing to give you an idea of what I have been up against.  Little Bastards! They don't fight fair.  And please don't email me with mozzie bite prevention and fixes.  I know you all mean well but I just don't have the strength.  I have tried most of them and still get bites.  

And what good are mosquitoes?  It seems to me they only spread disease, pain and death.  I wish Bobby the Bat that lives outside our KC house was here to feast on these vicious suckers.    

Update - After writing this over the weekend I actually came down the chick chimichanga on Monday evening.  Looking back, I might have had some symptoms as early as this past weekend and just didn't realize it.  Sometimes it's hard to distinguish boat bite aches and pains from regular aches and pains from something is seriously wrong aches and pains.  By dinner time Monday night I knew.  Let me tell you Chicken G is some nasty stuff.  Over night I thought I was going to die and by early morning I was hoping I would.  This is the worst stuff I have experienced.  Horrific pain everywhere.  Any slight move causes pain.  I feel as though my body has been thrown down a flight of stairs.  My feet, ankles, hands and wrists are especially painful.  My feet feel like I have walked 20 miles in shoes 2 sizes too small.  I can't straighten my fingers completely.  Instead I look like one of those Lego people whose hands are the constant shape of a C.  Smirk - I feel too yucky for a full ha ha.
On a positive note, our dock neighbors that have been holed up for a week in their boat with chick g finally emerged yesterday and even ran an errand, so there is hope.  And to date Tom has escaped.  Knock on wood - ouch.  Why would they bite him when I am right here!  Crooked fingers crossed it stays that way.  Smirk.

Update Day Three - I am feeling slightly better.  I no longer have C's for hands but my fingers still aren't 100% straight and it hurts to use them for any sort of lifting, carrying, opening, pulling, pushing.....much of anything.  I still have aches and pains everywhere but much less.  That first night was such a dozy.  This morning I have developed a rash on my arms that is itchy.  More fun.  

Rumor has it that once you get chick G, you can't get it again.  The CDC website says specifically -
  • Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.
 I would love something that says 100% vs likely but that just isn't the way things work with nasty viruses.  

A fellow cruiser and also doctor has been advising me so that is helpful.  

One a positive note, I am hoping to use this down time to catch up on blog postings.  However typing is slow going with tender, crooked fingers and the internet connection is of course super slow.  Ten mins to upload one picture!  But then again, what do I have to do but watch a spinning ball indicator?  Ugh!  I am going back to bed!  

4 comments:

  1. Ouwee!
    Stay hydrated, helps with recovery time. Ibuprofen better than aspirin for the pain.

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  2. I am SO sorry! It sounds absolutely wretched. We have tiny mozzies here in Mexico but their bites only itch for a few minutes. I hope we don't have the chicken disease here. Guess I better go research. Feel better SOON!

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  3. As a nurse I have seen many conditions but not this. There were a few cases in the US this year and it actually made the news. Sounds so very painful and I am sorry you had to go through that. It is good to hear you are doing better. I hope Tom manages to escape getting it too. I guess it is good news that you can't get it again.

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