Belize / Travel Tales

I’m Done With Dengue

Since I contracted Dengue Fever in early March, I’ve posted 5 times on my progress. I suspect that most of our loyal followers have read more about Dengue Fever than they ever imagined. And while I didn’t really plan on writing so much about the progression of the disease, this 6th and final post was inspired by our international blog readers.

Each and every week we get over 100 visits to our blog from overseas visitors. Frequently, the search terms that get them to our blog are:

“… in hospital violently ill with Dengue
… hair loss after Dengue Fever
… skin flaking during Dengue recovery”

When I discovered that I had Dengue, I did the same type of online searches, and all the information that I found was helpful. So, for all you Dengue sufferers out there, this is how things are going after 4 months.

I am almost 100% recovered. I say almost, because every couple of weeks there is still a tiny “itchy” event that has to be the result of the Fever. The most recent was an intense, poison-ivy type rash and itch on my wrist that appeared during a jog, and disappeared within 2 hours. Go figure!

In the hair-loss category, if my experience is typical, you won’t loose all your hair. A good bit will definitely go, but not all. And thankfully, the flaky skin has stopped completely, and there is no weirdness in food taste or tingling skin.

Also, after experiencing Dengue this time, doing some research, and re-examining my first episode in Belize in the early 80’s, I now know that I had Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, which resulted in a week in the hospital. For some reason, it was never diagnosed. I was very ill at the time, and was concerned, but had no idea that it was something this serious.

My final advice for our readers with Dengue is to hang in there. Slowly but surely you will get better, and hopefully, after the initial agony, the going will get easier.

And thanks again to all my family, and friends who hung in there with me through this ordeal.

Happy Trails,
James

42 thoughts on “I’m Done With Dengue

    • I’m glad that this helped Nick. I’ve had dengue twice, and in the most recent episode, all the internet research that I did helped me as well. As I said, for me, there were some weird, long term effects, but no big deal. Best of luck with your complete recovery, and keeping some hair. ~James

  1. Glad to hear you are nearly 100% well, Sir! In case of myself I contacted denque at the start of October , spent 6 days in hospital and after 29 days still feel extremely tired and stuck in the house all the time. My liver function test showed large readings and that could be the reason. Can I ask you how you felt after 1 month? Were you able to go for a jog and that? Cheers.

    • Nicholas, I’ve had Dengue twice, and my first time sounds more like your experience. In fact, my first episode was hemorrhagic and I was in the hospital a week. I was very, very ill. The second round wasn’t as bad (contracted in a different part of the world). Re: jogging. I’m a lifelong jogger, and so am very accustomed to the routine. I went for my first jog about a month after contracting dengue, and it was really, really tough. I took it very slow, but it was not easy. For me, it probably took a couple of months before I felt close to normal, and the weird symptoms stopped (itchy skin). I can understand your wanting to get outside, so I’d say go for it, just take it easy. Best of luck. ~James

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I have just had dengue and now my skin is peeling. I had not known this could be a side-effect. I appreciate you and the other posters letting me know my fatigue isn’t totally in my brain, that I’m still recovering. You all have encouraged me.

    • I’m glad that my posts have helped. As I said, I did lots of online research, and the personal accounts of other people helped. The doctors that I went to didn’t seem to have a clue, other than to say the normal, “take it easy, blah, blah, blah.” The peeling and itchy skin, and hair loss I could deal with, but the fatigue was another thing. After feeling tired for 3 weeks, like you, I worried that it was all in my mind. But, I just didn’t have the energy level that I was accustomed to. Hang in there, you’ll get back to normal, and when you do try to get out there, just take it easy. In my particular case, I listened to my body and it let me know a good pace. Best of Luck, and get well soon. ~James

  3. Thanks for posting and sharing information and your experience with dengue online. It’s a difficult thing to deal with, because most people don’t really understand it or know much about it. 6 weeks on, I am still shedding skin, my apartment floor is peppered with hair, which is falling out quite severely, and I still feel really weak. I’m hoping to feel back to normal soon. 😦

    • Thanks Samantha. Every week 5-10 people read one of my dengue posts. Dengue doesn’t get much attention in the press, but thousands of people contract it every day, and like you, are frustrated and tired of being sick. It’s a nasty, debilitating illness, and the because it takes so long to recover it becomes frustrating. In my case, it took about 2 1/2 months to get back to normal, so hopefully, if this is any indicator, you should be feeling better soon. My only advice is to take it slow and hang in there. You will get better. Best of luck. ~James

  4. So in Dec.2014 I was attacked by Dengue, I had Retinal Hemorrhage due to which I had hundreds of stars like round shapes in black, obstructing my view. 2 months passed and now I have been attacked by massive hair loss, of course due to Dengue. I panicked don’t know how long will it last. I had always been taking Biotin 5000 (even when I had dengue), now I’ll double the dose, also applying Clobetasol .05% solution. When I see the hair falling all over the rooms wherever I go makes me cry, a woman can not afford to be Bald. I’m worried, I will start taking “Follicle Booster” as some one suggested she had instant stoppage of falling hairs. Wish me Luck.

    • Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. I’m sorry to hear about your bout with Dengue. I know how distressing and scary it can be. I’ve had Dengue twice, and the first bout was hemorrhagic and I spent a week in the hospital. The second time was not quite so dangerous, but my symptoms were just as painful and distressing. My only advice is to take it slowly, and just hang in there. It will get better. The hair loss will eventually stop, and things will get back to normal. But I have to be honest, recovery takes time. I’m not a very good sick person, and it took real patience to wait it out. Best of luck to you and all the best for your recovery. ~James

  5. hey amigos; i’ve been ‘lurking’ in the background for the past week as i waited for a window to open ‘fast’enough to leave a comment. A double dose of dengue and chikungunya is sweeping the coastal area of ecuador and peru. columbia has a jump on us, s their numbers are really high for chikV…

    this was my second battle with dengue, and last week i was researching side effects, mainly the arthritis-like pain in the ankles and hands. i also have a shaky hand and at times if i don’t rest a lot, i get very faint and my pulse goes much higher. so for me, it’s trying to confirm if it’s chikV – which i hope will happen so then i won’t have to worry about getting it in the future!

    anyway, just wanted to say that i enjoyed all of the posts; misery loves company, and we love to swap stories and claim membership in the dengue club.

    an earthquake rattled the area last week around 1:30 in the morning.. it rattled me out of a deep slleep fog. the epicenter off the coast from esmeraldes. i seem to be one of the only peole in the jama area that felt it..

    it’s always a joy to read your posts and catch up with what’s happened in the past and what’s happening in the present. have fun settling into your new home base.

    siempre,
    z

    • It’s good to hear from you Lisa, and I am so sorry that you contracted dengue again. As you probably know from our posts, I’m in the double dengue club as well. It’s interesting to hear about your symptoms, because they seem different than mine. I contracted my first round of dengue in Belize, and it was hemorrhagic. I was very, very ill and spent a scary week in the hospital. My most recent bout had totally different, but equally strange symptoms. The typical aches, pains, and blotchy skin, but the worst things for me were the metallic food taste, incredible pain on the souls of my feet, and debilitating fatigue. In fact, it took about 6 weeks to get back to anything approaching normal. You didn’t say how long your’s has been going on, but hopefully you can bounce back quicker than I did. BTW, if you have any interest, your experiences with dengue would make a great series of posts. Lots and lots of folks get dengue and the ones that I’ve heard from really appreciate any tips and advice from someone who’s had it (not once, but twice). And here’s the silver lining, you and I now have immunity to 2 of the 4 types of dengue ;). Hang it there, take care and keep us posted. ~James

  6. Hi there, I caught Dengue on the last Full Moon 1st of July – so still deeply in the recovering process feeling like a snake at present peeling the skin of hands and feet. Living in Colombo/Sri Lanka we know about all the signs and effects well. I know from researches from Brazil that there are homeopathic remedies that help to keep your immunes so strong that Dengue cant catch up. My daughter regularly gets the prevention but I had stopped for some time as I was not able to get one of the main ingredients here but kept giving the remaining prevention to her-thats when I got it-as well 2 weeks before the outbreak I had to undergo a tooth extraction, so my immune s where very weak already. It caught me very sudden and quickly. Feeling unwell in the morning I went to an ayurveda hospital first and they adviced Panchakarma – a cleansing of the whole system. On the way back I started shivering, pains in all upper joints and felt the fever coming up 102. Then the vomiting started and I knew that this was not a regular flu. The test was done in the evening and after a night on the floor of the bathroom not being able to keep anything with me I was admitted to hospital the next morning. Throughout the time in hospital I was supported by homeopathic remedies which helped the nausea and slowly brought the fever down. I am not so good with antibiotics so I refused taking them. My platelets came slowly down to 35.000 within 3 days after the fever came down before going up again. It took me around 6 days to finally be able to eat something again. What helped me a lot afterwards was yogic breathing to strengthen the immune s and some Yoga exercises for adrenals and kidneys to release the fear. All liver and kidney supporting foods are strengthening the system-I stick to a juice made from papaya/beets/carrots/apple/orange/ celery/ginger/1clove/1/2 tsp tumeric/honey/ 1 tsp ghee every day. It really boosts the immune system and helps to flush out the toxins. Blessings of healing for everyone going through the experience

    • Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog Uta. And thanks for all the details of your experience with dengue. It’s interesting how many views and comments we get on this series on personal experiences with dengue. I think that all this info, including comments like your’s, is helpful for people who have contracted the disease. I’ve had it twice, and the first time was hemorrhagic, so it was very serious. I also know that when I was recovering in New Zealand, having online access to real personal experiences was really helpful for me. But in my experience, there really isn’t a great deal to be done about it except to let it run its course. Doctors are helpful to make sure things don’t get really bad, but bottom line is that they can’t really do much about the disease. I hadn’t heard of the homeopathic remedies you use, so thanks for that. Hopefully, I won’t get dengue a third time, but if I do, I’ll keep these remedies in mind. BTW, we spent a couple of weeks in Sri Lanka, and really enjoyed it. If you’d like to read our posts, just search Sri Lanka on our blog. Thanks again for the info and all the best in your recovery. ~James

    • Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. On another of my dengue posts I heard from a reader in India who recommended a holistic treatment using a variety of herbs as well. That’t good to know, because western medicine has virtually nothing to offer. Thanks for the info. ~James

  7. James, i started having dengue 3 months ago and i am just 17. I experience massive hair fall everyday and i am so sad about it. I hope that my problem will go away before i start my university soon. Thank you very much for telling your story, it helps me to bost my confidence. I hope and pray for all those who have dengue to recover and get our hair back. Anyhow thank you james, god bless

    • Thanks for the comment Shantinath and for dropping by the blog. I’m so sorry to hear about your dengue. I know how frightening that it can be. I did a few posts about my experience with dengue, and not a week passes that I don’t hear from people all over the world with experiences like yours. Symptoms and experiences vary, and most people seem to have some level of hair loss. But from the commenters that have contacted me, the hair loss isn’t permanent, and it eventually slows and stops. Hang in there, and I’m sure that things will be better soon. It takes time, but you will get over it. Best of luck for a speedy recovery, and best wishes for an exciting time at university. ~James

  8. I suffer dengue 3months ago stage 3, my problem is my hair is starting to lose now and then and I’m very nervous about it. I don’t know what to do, I started to treat it every night with the help of coconut oil and I don’t comb my hair because I feel so worried that I will be bald. But when I read your article my mind starting to calm. Thankyou for the info, it helps a lot.

    • Thanks for the comment Neena and for dropping by the blog. It’s always sad to hear that someone else has contracted dengue, but this painful disease is not going away. It’s interesting that this is one of our most popular posts. It seems that lots of folks like you are reaching out for information. Regarding your hair loss. I’ve had lots of comments from people who are concerned about their hair loss. And no one, including me, has lost all their hair. I lost quite a bit, but in time, it wasn’t that noticeable. So hang in there. You will get better and best of luck for a speedy recovery. ~James

  9. I have been down with dengue fever for about a week and will be discharged from the hospital today. Although everything seems to be fine, the itchy rash drives me crazy. It is impossible to ignore it, so I cannot sleep at all. Any ideas what might help?

    • Thanks for the comment Gwen, and for dropping by the blog. I’m so sorry that you’ve contracted dengue and that it required a hospital stay. As you may have read in the comments on this post, symptoms vary from person to person, and luckily for me, itchy skin wasn’t one of mine. I had the red blotches and any itch that I had was minor. So, sorry, but I can’t make a recommendation to help. But, if I were you, I wouldn’t be nervous trying any anti-itch cream. They certainly can’t hurt. So hang in there. It will take a while, but you’ll get better. All the best for a speedy recovery. ~James

    • Thanks Brick. Things are back to normal, and there is one silver lining. I now have immunity to 2 of the 4 types of dengue. But I hope I don’t have to test that. 🙂 ~James

  10. I had dengue last Jan 2016 and am experiencing extreme hair fall now. Thank you for sharing your experience and reading the comments helps me to cope in this sad situation.

    • So sorry to hear of your dengue Tere. As I’ve said to other commenters, it’s amazing how many views my series of posts on dengue get. I hope that they’re helpful, because when I got sick, it was comforting for me to read how others had coped with this miserable disease. I wish you a speedy recovery, and hopefully, the hair loss will stop soon. All the best. ~James

      • I returned from the Philippines two weeks ago. While there I was hospitalized for Dengue for 6 days. It has been less than 30 days since I came down with it. I am home now in the states and am tired most of the time. The skin on my feet are peeling. And just dont feel well most of the time. I see now this is not something for the impatient ones. I just want to get back to work but it looks like it may take a little longer then I had expected.

      • Sorry to hear about your dengue Richard. I’ve had dengue twice and the first version was hemorrhagic, so I was hospitalized for week as well. The frustrating thing about dengue, that I’m sure that you know by now, is that there’s really not much that can be done but wait it out. Which, as you say, takes patience. In my case, I had hair loss, peeling feet, and long-term fatigue. I’m a pretty active guy and have been jogging for 35 years, and it took me a month before I could even dream of going for a run. And when I did, it was not much more than a fast walk, and I felt like I was towing an anchor. And truthfully, it was two months before I was approaching having my pre-dengue energy level. So bottom line, hang in there. It will pass. I hope that you have an understanding employer, and maybe can start with some short days. Best of luck in your recovery. ~James

  11. Hi I contracted Dengue in May 2016 holidaying in Bali. It is a horrible debilitating illness, the headaches, fever and unbearable ache in my lower back In the first few days was awful. On day 5 of the illness (bed ridden in a hotel) I was fortunate to Get the doctors clearance to fly home to Adelaide but was hospitalised on my return for 3 days. My platelets count went down to 80 lucky no further so a blood transfusion was not needed. Fatigue stayed with me for weeks. My feet started peeling two weeks ago and are still peeling – 2 weeks now. My skin legs, arms have been so itchy for the last two weeks also where I itch so much I have bruises, has the appearance in places of a rash. Today the skin on my forearm has very itchy with small hives/bumps. Hair loss has started………I am not looking forward to that! I had one week off after hospital from work. In hindsight I wish I had longer off to rest and recover. I had not heard of Dengue Fever before I contracted it. Mozzies do not usually bite me! Like all that contract this horrible illness I have spent many hours googling information and am now a specialist on the subject. Wishing everyone who in unlucky enough to contract Dengue Fever a speedy recovery and take care of yourself! Thank you James for your posts.

    • Thanks for your comment and for dropping by the blog Avril. If you’ve read many of the comments on this post, you’ve seen that everyone’s experience is a bit different. I’ve had dengue twice, and the first case was hemorrhagic and very serious. The second time I had it sounds very similar to your experience, and in fact, I may have contracted it in Bali. It’s interesting to me how popular this series has been. When I wrote this series, my wife and I were on a RTW, and I wrote it to keep my family and friends posted on my progress. Since then, it’s amazing how many people have read and commented on the posts. Like you, I was bewildered, scared and confused when I had dengue, so I spent lots of time online trying to determine how it would progress. Your detailed comment will be helpful for dengue sufferers who follow. The only consolation that I can offer is that you WILL get better. It will take time and some hair will go, but eventually the itchiness will stop. The only real long-term effect I had was fatigue. I’m a jogger and pretty active, and it took a couple of months the get back to 100%. That sounds like a long time, but slowly you’ll get there. In the meantime, hang in there and best of luck. And thanks again for the detailed account of your experience. ~James

  12. hai, i was wondering is it possible to experience massive hair fall during dengue itself? i hear everyone saying tat it usually happens after 1 month or so but my hair fall started when i was hospitalised(dengue). i find it strange. please advice 🙂

    • As I’ve said to other commenters Gill, it seems that everyone’s experience is a bit different. I’ve had dengue twice, and the first time, which was some time ago, I didn’t have much hair loss. On my most recent bout, I had lots of hair lose, that for me, began within a couple of weeks. Best of luck with your recovery, and hopefully, most of your hair will stay where it belongs … on your head. ~James

  13. Thank you so much for this blog. It’s good to know I’m not alone. I’m in Bali and was hospitalised for Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever but only grade 1 but that was enough. At the moment the fatigue is the thing that is killing me. I was very very itchy until a couple of days ago and was prescribed antihistamines. I would have gone crazy without them. My skin is now list starting to peel on my legs and feet. Not looking forward to the hair falling out scenario. Does it grow back?

    • Thanks for the comment Sharon and for dropping by the blog. I’m sorry that it had to be for reading my dengue fever post. I’ve had dengue twice and my first time was also Hemorrhagic. I was in hospital for a week and was very, very ill. Luckily, the second bout wasn’t hemorrhagic, but I was was hammered nonetheless. As for hair loss, unlike what I’d expect, I had more hair loss when it wasn’t hemorrhagic fever. Anyway, everyone is different, and you probably will have some hair loss, but it won’t necessarily be really bad, and yes, in time it will grow back. And like you, fatigue was my longest term side effect. It took 2 months to get back to totally normal. I hope this helps Sharon, and hang in there, you will recover. BTW, I’m not totally sure where I contracted dengue, but I was in SE Asia, and it could have been Bali. Best of luck. ~James

  14. Hi! It has been a week since I’ve been discharged from the hospital due to dengue. Like you, it is also my second time to get dengue (the first was when I was still a baby). For the recent case, I was diagnosed with Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever. It was horrible. My lowest platelet count was 10,000. I had to be transfused with platelets from different donors twice and was also transfused with 3 platelets concentrates. It has been a week now and I did get fatigued most of the time (experienced shortness of breath and palpitations even with just walking short distances). My rash was the worst. Although it didn’t really itch (they gave me IV corticosteroids so that it won’t itch), it was covering most of my limbs. My legs were really red and both upper and lower extremities were somewhat edematous. My current problem is the hair loss. It’s only been a week but I’ve been losing so much hair thhat it makes me want to cry everytime a strand falls. It’s been stressing me out since I’m a 23-year old woman who’d like to keep most of my hair on my head and not on the floor. And it doesn’t help that I’ve read a blog about a woman who experienced thhe same thing but wasn’t able to recover from it anymore (I guess she’s still experiencing hair loss until now). Reading your post relieves me. It gives me hope that I won’t go bald (hopefully). Thank you so much for the post. I am sorry though for the long comment. I can’t help but share my experience since I can relate a lot to this post. Again, thank you so much for this post. Best of luck to you good sir 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment Jardine and for dropping by the blog. I am so sorry about the terrible experience that you’ve had with dengue, it sounds like a particularly bad episode. I’m happy that the post gives you a bit of peace of mind. As we both know, dengue is a scary experience and it helps being able to communicate with someone that can relate. I know that in both instances, even the doctors didn’t know much about the disease and while they cared for me, they really couldn’t advise of how it really was going to be. If you’ve read the comments, you see that it impacts everyone slightly differently. Regarding hair loss, if my experience is an indicator, you have reason for hope. My first bout of dengue was hemorrhagic, and I was 27 years old. I had some hair loss, but in time, it grew back with no problem. My second experience was years later (about age 57) and I had considerably more hair loss, but even at this age, my hair growth got back to normal – at least as normal as it can be for a 57 year-old :). So bottom line, hang in there. It will take a few months but you will get better, and your hair will come back. In all these comments, I’ve heard of no one who lost hair and never recovered. Just take it easy, and try not to worry. You’re young and strong and it will be fine. Best of luck to you. ~James

  15. I wondered if anyone out there now has CFS/ME due to dengue? I have CFS and feel like crap every day and it is 3 year since I got dengue.

    • Thanks for the comment Nicholas and for dropping by the blog. If you read a few of the comments on this post, dengue affects everyone a little differently. I’ve had it twice and each time was different. But the common denominator each time was long-term fatigue. I’ve read some medical folks saying that you get over it in a couple of weeks and to that I say BS! I’m in pretty good shape, and the last time I had it, it took about 3 months for me to get back to normal. It’s a strange debilitating disease that I’m not certain is totally understood. And while I have nothing to back it up, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least that there’s a link to CFS. I can’t imagine how agonizing this must be for you after 3 years. Hang in there and I hope that things get better for you soon. ~James

  16. Hi.

    Right now, I am experiencing lots of hair fall to the point that I am scared to wash and comb my hair since I lost a lot during this process. I have had thick hair but right now it seems that it is thinning. I admit that i colored my hair 6 mos ago and did brazilian blowout a month ago. Thid week i noticed that i had lots of hair fall with the white bulb. I was hospitalized 3 mos ago because of dengue. I stayed n the hospital for 7 days. I had blood transfusion too since my platelet was down to 16. Right now as well I am experiencing itchniness in my feet and hands, at the same time my skin in both my hands and feet are shedding. IS THERE A POSSIBILITY THAT THISBIS SIDE EFFECT FTOM DENGUE. THANKS.

    • Thanks for the comment Lyza and for dropping by the blog. I’m so sorry to hear about your dengue. I know how frightening that it can be. I did a few posts about my experience with dengue, and not a week passes that I don’t hear from people all over the world with experiences like yours. Symptoms and experiences vary, and most people seem to have some level of hair loss. But from the commenters that have contacted me, the hair loss isn’t permanent, and it eventually slows and stops. As for the itching feet and hands as well as the peeling skin, that’s normal and I experienced both and it definitely is a side effect of the dengue. Hang in there, and I’m sure that things will be better soon. It takes time, but you will get over it. Best of luck for a speedy recovery. ~James

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