Dengue Fever

Dengue Fever Is Nasty & It Made Me Cry

Derek Indonesia, Personal Stuff 150 Comments

Dengue Fever

Hunched over, with my hands on my knees, I tried to breathe but found it difficult. My head was pounding, I was covered in sweat despite the air-conditioner blasting cold air throughout the room and the dizziness made it difficult for me to even remain standing. I remember mumbling some nonsense. I remember a tear or two or three dropping from my eye and down my cheek. I remember thinking, “I’m so damn tired” as I felt worse and worse with every passing second.

It had been my plan for the month of July to take a break from the blog. I had decided to take two weeks off from writing so that I could rest a little and spend some much needed time away from the laptop. Those two weeks passed and I actually managed to enjoy some rest, but as soon as I was ready to return to blogging, I found myself unable to do so.

As luck would have it, during my two week ‘holiday’, which I took with some friends in Bali, I contracted dengue fever. Yup, dengue fever. And I kid you not when I state that I have never been through anything in my fourteen years of travel that has knocked me down, destroyed me and completely obliterated my sanity, as much as this experience with dengue fever.

For three days straight I had an extremely high, uncontrollable fever, which all led to that very night early last week when I found myself hunched over in my hotel room at 3am, barely able to breath, dizzy and nauseous, feeling as if I wouldn’t even make it to see the morning.

On the fourth day, the fever began to subside, and I forced myself to leave my hotel and visit a hospital. Some blood tests confirmed the dengue and I then experienced a week of on again, off again fevers, a bad lung infection, painful coughing, constant congestion, frequent headaches, body aches and a level of exhaustion that had me in great need of a major rest after less than three hours of being awake.

The range of feelings that I went through during those initial stages of the dengue fever included a strong desire to get rid of the illness as quickly as possible and return to my normal routine all the way to a strong desire to throw my laptop into the ocean and hole up in a small beach bungalow for the rest of my life. I have never felt so up and down, with moods and levels of discomfort changing so rapidly and so often, and I have never spent so much time in bed either.

The fevers are now gone, but there are still occasional headaches and I am absolutely exhausted most of the time. My white blood cell count hasn’t returned to normal yet and I certainly don’t feel even close to being my 100% normal self. Just the amount of effort it took for me to write this post up until this point has led to a guarantee that there will be a long nap in my near future.

The good news is that I can breathe and that I’m no longer awake in the middle of the night, dizzy and feeling hopeless. And if I’m able to complete this post, that will be a good indication that I can slowly – very, very slowly – start returning to my work.

So, my apologies for not being able to write for almost one whole month. It was weird not to, but it just wasn’t possible. I’ve also been quite slow at replying to emails naturally, but I will get to them all in the end, that I promise. For now, I just plan to continue resting and to continue drinking plenty of fluids, scattering some work in between, and making sure that I rid myself completely of this dengue fever sooner rather than later.

With that, I shall now leave you so that I can go and take my nap. Before I do though, I do want to sincerely thank you all for sticking around even though I haven’t been able to write. It certainly does mean a great deal to me, assuming that there are some of you who have stuck around!

Hope you’ve had a more positive July than me so far and for those of you who are out there traveling, I definitely wish you dengue-free adventures ahead…

If you wish to share any of your own tales of being sick on the road, please feel free to do so below!


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Comments 150

  1. Gosh, that’s really awful to be so devastated by a disease while traveling. I’m quite shocked you got it in Bali. I go there a lot and hadn’t encountered it, though I’m obsessive with mosquito protection myself. I even travel with a bed net, especially for bungalow type accommodation. In Timor they call dengue “Break bone fever” because that’s how it feels. I hope I never get dengue.

  2. Hi Earl,
    Sorry to hear you had Dengue Fever. One of the worst tropical diseases.

    I have traveled thoughout the world and have had a few terrible illnesses. Had Boutanesse Fever (Rock Mt. Spotted Fever) from a tick bite that was infected with the rickettsia bacterial parasite. With that one, I thought I was going to die. I came down with it in the USA after an extensive travel in Africa. I got the tick bite on a safari in Zimbabwe. The doctors in the USA really don’t know much about tropical diseases and I was suffering without any help from my regular doctor. Finally I went to a CDC doctor and they diagnosed it right away. Not many cases in the USA and they took many photos of me with all the red spots where the rickettsia were killing my red blood cells. But after a few days on Doxycyline, it killed them off and I was on my way to recovery.

    Another time I went to the Amazon Jungle of Peru. In the city of Iquitos where Dengue Fever is a common problem with thousands affected. Dengue is actually spread by the same mosquito as malaria, but is more common in the city. They reproduce using any standing water source in the house. When I came down with the Dengue Fever, I though my eyes were going to come out of my head with so much headache and pain. All joints and muscles were inflamed. I could not eat and only lay in bed sleeping with fever. I remember thinking this is the end and I am going to die. Only by taking Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) could the head pain be somewhat tolerable. After about 11 days of this torture, the fevers started to subside, a little less each day.
    Then I started to feel much better and to start eating some soup. After a couple of days I was still having some fever, but had to go to Movistar to get credit for my cell phone.
    When I was in the Movistar office, I started to get very light headed, with some vertigo. A bit nauseous, and then my vision blurred and things went white. I passed out and fell to the floor. My friend grabbed my head to prevent my head from hitting the floor. After a couple of minutes, I woke up. They were telling me to just lay still. I laid there for a few more minutes and was able to get up with assistance. We took a 3 wheeled moto taxi to a local clinic. They immediately put me on an IV and then ran some blood tests. The doctor came back after a while and told me the good news is that the Dengue is over. But the bad news is that I have Malaria tres-cruces! As it turns out, I may have had the malaria in my liver for quite some time as it frequently stays dormant in your liver. Then when my system was weakened with the Dengue Fever, the malaria came out and flourised! So after a few days of malaria fever and taking malaria medications and protocol, I was over the malaria.

    One good thing from that month of dengue and malaria is that I lost 25 kilos. Even though I needed to lose the weight, I would not recommend the Dengue diet to anyone!

    All in the life of a traveling writer and television producer….

    Now I have been living with the indigenous natives in the Amazon Jungle for the last 5 years without any further problems other than Dengue once more ( a different strain). There are only 4 strains, so half way to being immune.

    Best wishes in your travels,
    Cliff Tulpa

  3. Hi,
    i got dengue fever in Koh Phangan as well (it looks like a lot of people get it there). I’ve been in the hospital for 6 days, then i thought “Oh nice i made it throught so fast!”
    Not really, it happened 1 month ago and i’m still feeling sick. My hands peels off, still weak and tired. I was feeling energetic 2 days ago so i made some movement (actually a lot of) and the day after totally broken in bed again, tired muscles paint, sadness :-((( I’m just wondering how long it will take to feel better again! My blood check last week wasn’t perfect yet, and i just wanna leave again for some other places as soon as possible, but now i just have to surrender myself to this damn dengue fever. Wish you all my best for your journeys and wish all of you NO dengue fever anymore!!!

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  5. I’ve been traveling for the last four years, mainly solo and almost always hitchhiking. I found your blog about two years ago when I was finally planning to leave the states and hitchhike around Mexico and wrote to you to ask what you thought about me hitchhiking solo as a female in Mexico. I appreciate that you did not tell me not to do it. Not that it really mattered, every one I know told me not to and I did. I loved it. I actually ended up hitchhiking all the way to Colombia (for the Darien, I ended up getting lucky and actually getting paid to “work” on a ‘commercial charter yacht’, my boss was a crazy Slovenian dude). Thanks for your support 🙂

    Anyway, I’ve been living in Indonesia for 10 months now doing a one year scholarship program to study Indonesian culture. I specialize in music, but I’m lucky that my teacher doesn’t care about attendance and obviously I choose to learn about the culture by hitting the streets. I lived in Yogyakarta or about 6 months, about three weeks in Sumatra, two months in Bali, and 3 weeks in Komodo (got lucky with another one of those boat ‘jobs’, free trips 😉 I noticed you’re doing a trip there soon, if you want the contract for my captain he’s really awesome!) And about two weeks in Sumbawa and Lombok.

    In Yogyakarta I got dengue as well. It’s actually a hilarious story to me so I figured I share it:
    A few days after coming back from Bali the first time I went to dinner with a friend. Around 8:30 I started feeling tired (that is so unusual for me, for instance is 3am and I’m awake reading your blog) I’m a night owl. I knew it was weird. I could only manage to stay awake until about 9:15. I woke up at 11 because I set my alarm so I could pick up my roommate from the airport at 12:30 (very far from our house). My head was throbbing and I stood up and I thought “my legs don’t really work…? And my legs immediately collapsed under me. So I dragged myself on the ground to my motorbike, got on the bike and barely able to open my eyes drove to my friend’s place first. He wasn’t home yet so I laid in the dirt and fell asleep for like 5 minutes when he got home… ” I’m really tired Mas, maybe I’m sick? We should drive slow ” He drove fast and I really could have hurt myself and others but I was in denial that I was just tired. We got to the airport early and I immediately get off the bike and fall asleep in the dirt again until my roommate find me there and wakes me up.. I tell him he had to drive. I slept on the motor, got home and slept for like 12 hours until the pain was so bad I was laying on the floor of my Indonesian mandi constantly throwing cold water on myself. Then, like 12 more hours sleep.. Then cold shower ritual again, and sleep more. I wake up and my roommate is there, he asks if I feel better, “I’m just REALLY tired…..? And my head hurts.” “Mas, I think you got Dengue… You should probably go to the hospital. You’ve been sleeping for four days and you’re still ‘tired’? And you haven’t eaten anything! You can’t even walk dude! Go to the hospital!” My response: ” Mosquitos don’t bite me Mas, its science ” the next day I was like 50% better than day 6 I just had a little fever and still couldn’t walk… Actually I don’t think I could walk again properly until day 8.. But I did drive motorbike with dengue.
    About 20 of our 36 foreign students had dengue.. My teacher said that every five years there’s an epidemic. We were the fifth year….

    Hope you’re well 🙂

  6. I never had dengue, but I know it’s epidemic here on my city. I had chikungunya when I was 14 years old, and I spended two days of high fever, a week with an intense thirst and 8 months with an excruciating joint pain and I experienced a terrible headache. This was so awful. I had all the symptoms of disease, except the cutaneous rash and I don’t was vomiting, but I lost 7kg. I was crying of pain, but never in the front of anyone. I picked so much Tylenol to alleviating my suffering. This was so horrible! Dengue isn’t matter, if compared to chikungunya.

  7. Dang Earl, you definitely weren’t exaggerating. I’m 7 days into my Dengue here in Koh Phangan…brutal! Thanks for sharing the tale!

    1. Hey Ryan – Hang in there…you’ll pull out of it soon. And then, rest. Make sure you stay in one place for a few weeks without moving around much at all. It will play a big role in how long your body will take to recover.

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  9. Hiya Earl,
    I am reading the post now in September, so I am really glad that you are well again. I think this whole year is a bit wierd (/-ly clensing) in that way. I had a simmilar experience back in January – it could be the way of getting rid of stuff our body/mind doesn’t need any more allong with a test about our decisions – if they’re still so sound, valid…or as a crossroad for if we need to change the path quite a lot.
    I’ve also read the next post and I fully agree – it is about our decisions, we can’t expect the list of what exactly we shoul do – even if it worked for someone, our situation and life are different – so it can’t work 100%, maybe not even a half…
    Have a good time anywhere,
    Blanka

  10. Hi Earl,

    I really hope you’re well dude! I was wiped out in a similar fashion by giardia, last November, in Southern India. It last about 2 weeks, and I lost 20 pounds during the time frame.

    Then, 2 to 3 more weeks to recover. Most I’ve ever suffered in my life.

    Sending my healing energies your way. It’s been a while, so I’m hoping your back to normal.

    Ryan

    1. Good wishes from me too. I hope that at the end of your recovery you are stronger than before. I bow to your courage and bravery in being open and honest throughout this whole episode you’ve been having. Namaste 🙂

    2. I’ve only just discovered your site today – looks just great. I wanted to comment and send my hopes that the dengue has long left and you are feeling your usual self. I wanted to say that this past March I was in Saint Martin and the mosquitoes were just horrible – everywhere…could not leave any doors open, etc. I was concerned the whole time about dengue and chikungunya which is less life threatening but the joint problems can last five years…I will choose another destination next time.

  11. In 2010 I arrived in La Ceiba, Honduras, all ready to begin my internship for an environmental organization. Sadly, three days into my internship I woke up sick and shaking like a leaf. My pillow was soaking wet so I’d clearly had had a fever. I phoned my boss and asked for a day off since I wasn’t feeling well. Immediately, he asked what was wrong with me and asked me to be specific with the details. Knowing he wasn’t a doctor, I answered his question with much confusion-why ask such a personal question when everyone has the flu every now and then? Wasn’t that crossing some sort of employer/employee line?

    It turned out whenever you are sick in Honduras, the first thing they check for is the symptoms for Tropical Fever….better known Dengue Fever to the common man. I was admitted to the hospital the same day and was sick for two looong weeks before the extremely high fever finally broke and I had more than an hour of clear consciousness. I lost 10 kilos and all I remember from those two weeks are the pain and being oh so tired and sore in my entire body 24/7. Def. one of the worst experiences in my life, so you have my deepest sympathy. Be careful with your body right now, you’re more fragile now after the trauma of the Dengue. “Rest, eat at least two small but solid meals a day, drink lots of water and take a walk once a day so you get your body going again” was the advice I was given.

  12. DAMN! Can’t even imagine being that sick.

    My worst experience was when I decided to eat Chinese food at the Mexico City airport on my way back to Miami. I managed to make it back to my apt, but the second I entered the door, I felt my bowls drop and I LITERALLY couldn’t take more than 5 steps away from my toilet for 3 days straight. I had to call my neighbor to go buy me medicine and liquids. Montezuma’s Revenge is pretty ruthless but don’t think it’s on the same line as Dengue!

  13. I hope that you are feeling much better! For medical purposes it would be helpful for you to find out the Dengue Fever Serotype with which you were infected. If in the future you were to be infected by a different serotype of dengue virus, you would be more likely to develop very severe disease. At the very least you would want to tell the medical personal that you had been infected by Dengue Virus in the past. Take care of yourself!

    1. Thanks Jen. I’m definitely aware of all that and will always tell medical staff that I’ve had dengue before just in case!

  14. I remember that you felt energized looking out from a high place, or being near water … maybe there is a place like that, near where you are?

  15. I know how scary it can be, to be sick and on the road, the insecurity of not knowing who will take care of you if you are too weak yourself and too confused to make decisions. I trust that you are well on your way to recovery. If that’s true, then maybe now is a better time than before to let you know your readers are with you always in spirit. Hope you are feeling better.

  16. Oooouch! Hope you are all healthy by now! The worst is to be sick on travel! I was once food poisoned in Nigeria. Without water and electricity in the house, it was not very pleasant! Having to run out to fetch water outside every time I to go to the toilet, which was every 2 minutes. Yeah, that is one of my stories. Thanks for sharing yours! I am really enjoining reading your blog, Earl!

  17. Ouch! Sounds nasty! I’ve been checking in now and then and wondered if everything was ok, as I noticed there hadn’t been any new posts recently. Remember that work isn’t everything, and without your health you won’t be able to continue on your epic adventures. Take some (or indeed a lot) of time to get your head straight, and make sure you are 100% better before continuing.

    Wishing you all the best, and hope you get well soon!

  18. I thought I was the luckiest traveler in the world–I found a non-touristy island off of Hoi An, Vietnam during a national holiday. I spent the night in the glowing light of the fire drinking beer, enjoying local food, and laughing with a local family that had taken me in for the night. The next morning, around 4am, I ran into the bathroom feeling that the world was going to end. Without getting into too much detail I spent the entire day naked in the bathroom, showering after every attack, unable to even drink water.

    The island was small, so by the following morning I was the infamously sick foreigner that the entire town had heard about. People did try to help, but without knowing English a lot of them just rubbed their bellies and looked at my sadly. I’d gotten food poisoning before that was the worst I had ever felt. I thought I would never eat again and–considering I was so far away from modern conveniences–I’m so glad it wasn’t more serious.

    https://becausetravel.blogspot.com/2013/09/because-communism.html

  19. Man, that sounds terrible. I’ve been lucky not to have gotten sick in my 17 years or so of working in travel. But it does remind me of malaria that I had as a kid.

    I just found your blog recently, so I’m looking forward to you being back to good health so that I can read more!

  20. Sorry to hear about your Dengue episode. I didn’t even notice that you haven’t posted in a while because I have been doing a little traveling myself. My wife and I sent the kids to spend some time with aunts, uncles and grandparents, while we spend three weeks in Eastern Europe (Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Serbia.) It was incredible and best of all, my wife loved it. That means maybe more travel in the future. I’m not in the position to travel full-time, but a good 3-5 week trip once a year is feasible. Meanwhile, I get my travel fix by following Wandering Earl and researching my next trip. Hope you feel better and get back in the game soon.

  21. I first had Dengue after Hurricane Marilyn in The US Virgin Islands. I slept most of the 2 weeks that my boyfriend suffered with the fever and the break-bone symptoms. Then another couple of weeks to get back to myself. The 2nd case was in Venezuela and that was SOOOO MUCH WORSE than the 1st! I knew I had dengue before the blood test knew it! and I suffered for 6 weeks. The last symptom was the spots before my eyes! I seemed to be looking thru a windshield covered with flies, and that continued after I was feeling fine! I thought it would never clear up! It was the last symptom to appear and the last to leave! You have my SYMPATHY!! Also when I was in Bali, I got Bali-belly for 24 hours, I think maybe some bad milk/yogurt??? I wish you continued good luck for your travels! This world is to small not to experience as much as you can, while you can!!

  22. My son is in the Philippines and contracted that fever last year. It tore my heart out to see the videos that his wife sent to us me of him in the hospital. I still think it is taking a toll on his health because he has lost so much weight. Good travels..be safe

  23. I’ve seen a few friends get Dengue Fever and it seems horrifying. I’ve become pretty paranoid with mosquitos in Southeast Asia and carry repellent whenever I can.

  24. i am from pakistan. which i hope you have visited in your 88 countries tour so far. i have learned about you and your site while surfing on yahoo site. i think you are enjoying life at the most as you have seen the beautiful world that the God has created for us. You must have seen God in spirit while seeing his creation. That must have changed you. recently you are recovering from dangue. i suggest take apple juice with planty of lemon squeeze on it on regularly basis which will improve your strength level. that i have listen it from somewhere. i am not much of a talkative person. i speak very little and have almost have no social circle. i am married with 3 children. my wife like to travel she will be very please to hear about you when i will told her. But seeing you, make me feel like to say this. this life is very little so go for lifeafter death which is very long almost infinity. so EMBRACE ISLAM.

  25. Earl you made the yahoo news page a couple of days ago I saw the article today! I go to yahoo/the guardian at least once a week to catch up on the world news – I couldn’t believe it when I saw your picture on one of the articles! You inspired me to take my gap year and see other parts of the world last year and it’s changed my life 100% for the better, so this was pretty cool seeing a story about you on a major webpage! Congrats man, that’s awesome! Here is the article for anybody who wants to read it there’s also a video!

    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/how-i-saved–24-000-while-traveling-the-world-172416894.html

    1. Hey Kyle – Thanks for that and I’m just happy that you’ve taken that gap year and are having such a life-changing experience! That’s the best news I could possibly hear!

  26. Wow…that sounds horrible. I hope you feel better now.

    A travel story: Back in the 1990s I spent four months traveling alone in Syria as part of a longer solo backpacking trip. At one point, I was in Palmyra in the eastern desert and was given the opportunity to go inside a large locked oasis by a local young man. While wandering through the garden, I was offered water from a fountain. Instead of politely saying no, because of the strong tradition of Arab hospitality I accepted a small drink of water. Big mistake. That night I became violently ill, with fever, headache, chills, vomiting and painful, gut-wrenching ‘abdominal distress’. For one of the only times on my entire trip, I had gotten a room with a private bathroom, which I used…often. After three days of not seeing me, one of the hotel workers knocked on my door to see what was up and I gave him money and asked him to buy me some bottled water, bananas and oranges … fruit that could be peeled. I spent a few more days getting back on my feet and took a bus to Damascus.
    Once in Damascus, I got a hotel room and then wandered around the shops. I asked a man in a jewelry store if he knew of a good place to get some simple roast chicken and plain rice. He didn’t speak a lot of English so he called his brother who worked at another shop a few doors down. His brother came and I repeated my question, adding that I’d been ill and just wanted some simple food. He asked me where I was staying and I told him. He said to go back to the hotel and that he would bring some food by for me. I figured what the hell, I’d thrown myself on the fates before. I went back to the hotel and about an hour later the two men showed up. They had pots of food: plain rice, roast chicken, pita bread and some broth. They had called their mother, who had cooked food for me, a complete stranger. They said not to worry about the pots, to just leave them in the hotel for someone else to use, as the hotel had a small kitchen area. I thanked them over and over again, moved to tears by their extraordinary kindness. They waved off my thanks and left. I never saw them again.
    Early the next morning I left to go to Aleppo but before leaving, I dropped their clean pots at the door to the first brother’s not-yet-opened shop.

    The experience was the most amazing display of kindness I’ve ever known and is one of the reasons I cry thinking about what’s happened to Syria.

  27. In case you come down with this fever, or any, there is something that will help you feel better, that will raise your white blood cell count, the reishi or lingzhi mushroom, is used in traditional chinese medicine.
    Safe Travels

  28. Just wondering how much the hospital bill came too? Also which insurance company do you use and did they cover 100%? I use to have travel insurance but I don’t even bother now as I travel in poorer countries. I figured I’ll just pay out of pocket and take my chances (I know I could have some crazy injury but whatever).

    1. Hey Nan – The hospital bill came to around $200 USD including all blood work and tests. And I use a private health insurance from back in the US which covers 50% of such costs overseas.

  29. Hello Earl! I thought I was sick during my summer trip to Maui, but it was a mere flesh wound compared to what you endured. Pardon my ignorance, because I have never heard of Dengue Fever, what can travelers do to lower their chances of getting such an illness?

    I really enjoy reading about your travels, without your sickness of course, and often think about teaching abroad during my summer vacation. Any tips?

    Get well, and please continue to share.

    Best,

    Paul

    1. Hey Paul – The best way to avoid dengue is to avoid mosquitos. Wear repellent in areas where there is a high chance of dengue and that will reduce the risk. As for teaching abroad, there are plenty of opportunities, although usually they would want a commitment greater than a summer…you can find opportunities over at eslcafe.com to give you an idea of what’s out there.

  30. Hi Earl,

    I have never ever emailed someone I don’t know. But I thought your life is quite interesting. I work for myself as an Entrerpenuer with a new Company that stated just 4 years ago here in the State of Texas. The opportunity has been spreading abroad helping people to earn money they never thought they could. This may be an opportunity you will want to look into. Since the Nerium International is now open in US, Canada and soon to Mexico and around the world. You are traveling around the world and it only makes sense to leave your foot prints every where you go letting other people take advantage of the same opportunity. You can make money so fast thru your downline of people.

    Ok so what is it? You are young and may say “I don’t need it”. But people over 40 do. I am 65 and just started using the antiaging product that was accidently discovered at M.D. Anderson Research Center in Texas. It takes 10 years off your face, neck, ect. That’s what people want to look better and feel better. I hope you take a look at our company and if you think this is an added line you can work by telling people about the wonderful product (which are 3 of them now) please let me know to sponser you or anyone you might think would like to make the money and also travel to countries the Company is opening to share the product. Why am I not traveling? Well, I take care of my aging parents and can’t do it now. Maybe later but I am contacting people I know from US, Mexico, Puerto Rico. Don’t know anyone in Canada.:(
    So take it and run with it or share it with someone else. My website is adlinar.nerium.com

    Take care, I once got Dengue in P.R. I know how you felt. Adlina

  31. Hi Earl, I’m new to your site! I just stumbled upon it after reading a story you wrote on Yahoo! The first post I get to see is a warning of what my future can be once I embark upon my grand adventure! I am a magnet to mosquitos so the possibility that I’ll survive Dengue is not likely! On a good note, your story will remind me to overdo the bug repellent lotion and wash my clothes in Citronella before getting dressed! I cannot wait to see the world a little more through your eyes while I patiently wait my turn at adventure!

    Rest and be well, those of us waiting our turn are depending on you!

  32. This is just terrifying to read. I’m so relieved you have made it through the worst and my prayers go out to you that you are feeling 100% soon!
    Hang in there, kid!

  33. Dengue is my biggest fear when travelling, I’m so sorry you had to go through it! I’d never really heard much about it before I started reading travel blogs, but it seems like it’s surprisingly common. I’m such a magnet for insect bites, every headache I get I start to wonder if it’s dengue descending (I’m also a hypochondriac, can you tell?). In Panama, I counted and I had two hundred bites across various parts of my body.

    Hope you feel fully better soon!

  34. You’re a courageous guy Earl. I’m glad to hear you beat it – looking forward to hearing some new adventures. Don’t let it get you down.

  35. Ouch Earl, really sorry to hear you caught dengue fever. It’s a horrible thing and very prevalent around the world. I try to keep up to date with health and security risks on travel and thankfully have avoided it so far.

    There is little worse than being ill when away from home. I hope your travel insurance covered everything?

    Wishing you a speedy recovery and return to your normal writing timetable.

  36. So that’s where you’ve been! I’ve been checking in every now and again and it did strike me as strange that I hadn’t seen a post in a while. I wish it had been for other reasons!

    My ex got dengue in Colombia and it kept him in bed for a good week, but your case sounds worse. I actually tested out the Mexican hospital system last week, being admitted with a kidney infection! Not sure how I got it, but luckily I’m feeling much better now.

    Take care and don’t worry about us abandoning you!

  37. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re ill Earl. I’m afraid that even the best of us fall when nature catches up with us. Get well soon and stay rested.
    We’ll be waiting for you whenever you feel ready. 🙂

  38. I’m so sorry to hear about your ordeal! I have never been so unlucky as to have dengue. I have only ever had stomach upsets, which I don’t feel I should complain about in your comments as they were not a big deal.

    Get better soon!

  39. Feel better soon! I’m happy to have discovered your blog. I also have an unceasing case of wanderlust. Hope to read that you are feeling human again soon.

  40. Without rubbing it in Earl, I can safely say I had a far superior July gallivanting around Thailand and Laos. However I can also share your pain from an experience earlier this year in Nepal, and it really is the lack of sleep and almost paranoia not wanting to sleep that is the worst. All the best and hope for a speedy recovery mate.

  41. Buna Earl,
    Sper ca iti este mai bine acum si ca vei putea calatori in curand. Am vazut ca ai fost la Brasov, am fost si eu acolo, e un oras frumos. Iti urez toate cele bune in continuare si o
    sa-ti urmez aventurile. Wishing you the best in your life. Vali, Boise, ID.

  42. I’m so sorry to hear about the rough stuff you’ve been through. It sounds absolutely horrendous. Wishing a quick recovery and renewed energy!

  43. Oh Earl, you really have my sympathy. I got dengue haemorrhagic fever in Bali. 12 days in hospital on my own (over Christmas), with two drips, bleeding all over the bed every time they changed the drips, unable to walk to the bathroom unaided. It was grim at times but I had excellent care.

    It took me weeks to fully recover after I got home (though the nerve damage caused by the virus has meant I’ve not regained normal feeling in my feet a lower legs). So, take it easy till you get your strength back. If you feel you owe your followers anything then it’s a fit and healthy you to continue your adventures 🙂 Being a little lax on the blog posts for a while is no great disaster. And if you fancy coming to Chiang Mai to rest and recuperate then give me a shout. Feel better soon!

  44. Have you gone home to the US? I only read your blog, so Sab saying ‘enjoy your time back home’ may indicate there is other news too?
    An idea for a post might be ‘Good Places to Recuperate from Dengue.’ Higher-altitude Eastern Europe maybe? Decent food, quiet, clean, inexpensive.
    Good wishes! Even if you can’t travel for a while, I think you learned most of the life lessons already. : )

    1. Hey Carolyn – Yes, I have returned to the US to rest up for a bit and clear my head. Quite a few things going on this past month and I just need to take a break for a while as a result.

  45. I haven’t written a post in 2 months and I wasn’t even sick 😉
    I hope you get better soon, Earl! So sorry you had to go through all this. That’s my biggest fear when traveling, getting badly sick. I hope you had friends on your side that helped you and brought you food and water… Enjoy your time back home, get some rest!

  46. Get well and be safe only positve energy for you.
    Get a bottle of Vodka and a couple of wild natives and boogie.

  47. Earl, heed to healing and healthy again. The effects of any illness takes months to be back to normal. You are very fortunate. Even when you think your better, take it easy with lots of rest in between all activities. Stay in cool air too. We were very fortunate, as my husband fell to illness while crossing the Atlantic . Thankfully, the medical team placed him on antibiotics and we had to get off at our first port. He was hospitalized for 5 days with antibiotics 24/7 pumping through his veins. Our retirement celebration of life on our 52 day dream vacation journey was shattered. But those places will always be there, and of course all that matters is he is well now. It’s difficult to be ill even at home, but so scary abroad . You are strong and smart , you will find that Earl again. Time is a healer.

  48. So frightening to be so sick & by yourself. Hope you are continuing to recover–don’t rush it. I am sympathizing with your mother—she must be a wreck!

  49. My husband got Dengue – on a 3 day bus ride from South-central Borneo to Kota Kinabalu. Not fun. Sorry you’ve been feeling so low and hope you feel better!

  50. Hey Earl, this sounds awful! On another note, your situation would make an awesome “live from…” episode – so raw and real, don’t you think? Kick that Dengue fever to the curb and get back to your healthy self! And because I am not insensitive or impartial (only a bit wicked) to your pain and sufferings, I will concoct a magic potion (learned the craft from an Eastern European gypsy, hahaha) to help you get rid of that vicious illness! Chanting and sending you positive energy…

    1. @Sugar Plam Fairy – Thanks for that. Not sure if I can manage a video but if I can at some point, I’ll do my best. Let me know when you have that potion ready!

  51. Hey Earl
    Hope the recovery is strengthening. Thanks for describing symptoms; really useful to know what to expect.
    Gecmis olsun
    Martin

  52. Dengue Fever – the band is awesome… the virus sucks.
    so glad you survived, a lot of people don’t. Imagine you’ll need to take it slow for a little while but do it so you’ll be strong again. Looking forward to where you’re headed next.

  53. Blah! The worst! I had dengue a month and a half ago on the coast of Ecuador while in the shittiest city getting a visa extension. I feel your awful pain and am here to say, it gets better. Slowly. I had to take a 3 day bus journey to get up to Quito to get to a proper hospital while having the worst stomach problems I’ve ever had in my life (I had to do it in bouts because it was too much). I’ve never felt so awful in my life, I thought several times I might be going into dengue shock syndrome. Finally, I got an IV in Quito so I could rehydrate and after two weeks of nothing but bed I could take a walk around the block. Then take a nap. I was actually trying to write a post about it today but the thought makes me cringe. I wish you the best recovery, there’s nothing like being sick in bed for weeks to make you want to get back at it. Oh, and for anyone who gets dengue, I was not getting better at all until I got an IV. I improved tremendously within hours and was up and moving within days after it.

  54. What an experience! I’m sorry you’ve been so ill. I definitely missed you! I refreshed your tab more than a few times a week, just assumed you were busy. Now I wish you’d been busy instead of being so sick 🙁 I’m definitely glad to see you’re on the mend and hope you are 100% soon!

  55. Ahh man, that sucks. Was wondering what was going on and was just about to post somewhere on the disappearance of Wandering Earl. Being sick in the third world suuuucks! Amoebic dysentery put me on my back for about a week in Cebu in 2011. It hurt like hell and when I got online what I found led me to think it was kidney stones. Lucky for me the Philippines medical system is not so bad and cheap. Unlucky for the people in the room next to me at the hotel, Adele had just came out, I felt sad and spent a night or two singing sad songs. $100 bought me 6 hours in the hospital and medicine for a week. Early 2013, I flipped a motorcycle on Bohol and had to spend a few days inside out of consideration for other people. I also found that there was not one pirate eye patch on the whole island. Just when I needed one. Dash!

    Anyways, hope the insurance you recommended worked out for you. That might make a good next blog post or an update on an old one. Hang tough. Have house guests now or would invite you up to Shenzhen to recuperate for a few days.

  56. Another plus for Kyrgyzstan, your favorite … no mosquitoes? But I guess to travel there now would be too tiring. Only imagine you are at that nice lady’s guesthouse where nights are so silent and calm … Good thoughts to you from here in Tennessee.

  57. Wow that sounds like an experience I am sure you wanted to skip. 🙁 I really hope you are feeling well and that you have a good recovery. Stay safe.

  58. I love reading your posts and I was wondering what happened to you. I’m so sorry that you’ve been through such an ordeal but hopefully you are looking at the other side. I hope you get back to your life sooner, rather than later.

  59. I live near Santa Weird and get the same feeling everyday when I see the macho gang banger crackheads driving the streets in New Mexico.

  60. OMG I feel so bad for you Earl. My husband contracted it last year in Chiang Mai and thankfully got a very mild dose. After reading your story out to him, he is extremely thankful that he got the gentle nudge of it, rather than your full on bulldozer of dengue. I do hope you are now recovered. Do be careful though, if you get it again, it can come back worse.

  61. Glad to hear that you are at least on your way to being okay. My prayers are with you for a speedy recovery. Enjoy your nap.

  62. Ugh- so sorry to read you’re reeeeally under the weather :/ My worst was hellish dysentery in Egypt. Oh MAN, I don’t know how I survived.

  63. Hello,

    On my travels i got “stuck” in thailand and i live there now. Dengue is really big here and i had it too so i know how it feels. Obe very very good thing you can do or yourself is drink a juice from young papaya leaves, it does wonders in raising the amount of white blood cells, only thanks to that i didnt have to go to hospital and survived and recovered within 2 weeks. I also helped various other people with this. Check internet and youtube for recipes, one recomendation, drink fresh juice, not the tea. Good luck!!

  64. oh, this sounds terrible!

    i had shigella once while traveling through south india. it was so very bad- i felt like my intestines were attempting to fight their way out of my body through my abdomen. i’d so much as smell food and have to take a trip to the loo. luckily i was staying in a room by myself, because though i was maybe 30 feet from the bathroom i had a tough time making there from my bed before collapsing on the marble floor (which felt wonderfully cool on my face. i have distinct memories of this.)

    i was also just over a compound wall from a big shiva temple where a high pitched voice would chant ‘om nama shivaya’ in about 4-5 second intervals 24 hours a day. i certainly don’t mind- and actually rather enjoy- experiencing religious culture but in this case i felt as thought i died and went to hell.

    shigella definitely made me cry. 🙂

  65. Dengue Fever…NOT on my bucket list! These days I try and avoid travel involving risks of mosquito-borne diseases. Having spent 10 hours once in an airplane bathroom with food poisoning, been on a flight over the amazon with the plane engine on fire, been through two class 5 hurricanes, an Earthquake, gangs taking over a city in Brazil, etc. etc. I just don’t want to temp my misfortune too much… Get well soon!

  66. We’ve been in several areas of Central America with dengue but have so far been very lucky although we keep running into locals and travelers alike who haven’t been so fortunate. We’ll keep crossing our fingers that our luck holds. Wishing you a speedy recovery!

  67. And yet you gave us all another prove that we should all make the most of our lives, because we never know what is around the corner. I got really sick at the beginning of my trip through South America. The initial diagnosis was malaria. When I first heard it I started crying. I have never felt so hopeless in my entire life, but doctors reaction in a hospital and the way he stayed calmed also kept me calm. In the end it turned out I had some nasty tropical fever that caused similar symptoms as malaria and antibiotics brought me back to life, but it took good few weeks before I could say I felt myself again. Even tho this happened 3 weeks into my trip it didn’t stop me going, it just slowed me down and till this day I think that it happened for the better! 🙂

  68. It was only a matter of time based on how long you’ve been traveling in these high risk areas. I’ve been wanting to go to the Caribbean and now with the outbreak of Chick-V I’m going to wait until that passes.

    I have been reading great research articles on intravenous of vitamin C for curing all kinds of things. Getting a mega dose of 60,000 has cured or helped all kinds of things, from cancer, snake bites, and others. Something you might want to look into right now to get back up on your feet faster.

  69. I got dengue in rural Laos a few years ago. It was awful. I definitely feel for you. I was no where near a hospital at the time and went to a local clinic that had no clue what I was saying. I had a rash over my entire body and high fever. I had to take a 7hour bus ride while sitting on the engine as there were no seats left (to add to the fever), to get to an international hospital. I hope you feel better soon

  70. I also got dengue fever about a year ago in Thailand. It was three days before I was supposed to fly home after a 6 month trip. I spent a miserable three days between a hot guesthouse and the hospital. Luckily I was in Bangkok where the hospital care is good – so it could have been much worse. I barely convinced the doctor I was OK to fly. Over 20 hours later I was back and home and couldn’t have been happier to be in my own bed. The worst part is the itchy feet and hands near the end of the sickness, it drove me CRAZY. Did you get that??! Hope you’re feeling better now!

  71. You don’t need to worry about dengue in Turkey but the Mosquitos are quite vicious. Use plenty of repellant and a plug in at night.

  72. Hey, everyone . . . if the thousands of us that follow Earl and appreciate his work and his wisdom got together and prayed for a miraculous recovery quickly (instead of in months), the power of our combined intentions and awesomeness of our combined prayers could do amazing things. We have been the recipients of Wandering Earl’s hard work and insights every single week. It’s our turn to work for Earl and get him back on his feet, get him back traveling, and sharing more little-seen corners of the world for our benefit.

    Let’s begin RIGHT NOW, as soon as you read this post. Then set an alarm every hour to do it again. Earl deserves our support; this is the least we can do in return for all he does to enrich our lives. PRAY for EARL NOW! He will get better quickly with everyone’s help. Let’s show him how much we care; let’s show him our power!

  73. Hey Earl, hope yer feel’n better now. You did a good job on your first post after being down with the bone breaker and being so dizzy. If it isn’t fish curry in India, it’s those circling, dive-bombing mosquitoes. It’s a war zone out there in third-world land!

    Not to be the wise-guy fixer, but the device I “invented” before my RTW trip, which included a year and a half in dengue and malaria areas, helped keep those pesky mosquitoes and all the other insects at bay during the vulnerable night (sleeping) hours. In a nut shell, it’s a way to put up a mosquito net over my bed, anywhere, even when there is no way to hang it from overhead. First, I position two straps (under the mattress, corner to corner). They’re about six feet long, fastened together in the middle to make it cross shaped. Each end has a grommet for attaching a couple fiberglass tent poles that are bent over the bed, and fastened at each corner of the bed to the straps. I use a twisty to secure the two poles together overhead in the center of the bed. Then, it’s a simple matter to throw a regular mosquito net over the top and tuck it in around the perimeter of the mattress. I used this everywhere, every time my bedroom couldn’t be secured from flying insects. It’s another couple pounds in my pack, but surefire insurance for flying pests at night, when asleep. You don’t need to smear toxic insect repellant on your skin or smell toxic mosquito coil smoke every night. It’s a great smug feeling, laying in bed at night, reading, while listening to all the bugs buzzing around just outside the net.

    No, it doesn’t protect you from food poisoning, but I’m working on that. Will you be doing an in-depth post on everything we should know about dengue fever, like you did when you were down and out-of-it in India with food poisoning? That really got my attention! It’s always good to get information from someone who’s experienced what they’re talking about. I hope I never get dengue fever to add to my list of show-stopping miseries.

  74. That sounds horribly nasty Earl, I hope you can get back to health and wandering soon. I can’t have my ‘number 1 blogger hero’ out of action for too long. Touch wood I have never been sick on my travels! If I did I can imagine how ‘grumpy’ I would be!

  75. WOW …… Glad to hear you are on the mend, makes my diarrhea and prijectile vomiting in India, found like a cake walk. All the best.

  76. Yikes! How awful. Glad you’re over the worst of it!!

    The worst I ever got was messing up my back riding a quad in the moon valley outside of La Paz in Bolivia – that was a crummy two weeks (I had a terrible headache as well and there was a terrible parrot in the courtyard of my hotel that screamed “Dor-i-tos” all. day.)

    Get better soon!! 🙂

  77. Hi Earl,
    Being ill away from home and family is one of the worst things. It happened to me on a couple of occassions. Please fight that bug and get well! Love reading your blog, and I am sure everyone will forgive you no updates in a while. Take care x

  78. I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been unwell Earl. I feel your pain totally. I have been sick on the road, kind of. In 2004 after going to Sydney for new year’s, I was returning home to Melbourne where I lived at the time. I was taking a benzodiazapene as directed by my then treating physician for bipolar, I suffered my first and only seizure at the airport on the way home at the terminal picking up my luggage. I blacked out and next thing you know I’m in an ambulance on my way to hospital fighting to breath for my life. Luckily two things happened: the first is that there must have been some good samaritans who came to my aid whose deeds I can never repay, and second there had to be an ambulance out the front of the terminal at the time to get to me so quickly. The end story is that I was rushed to hospital, stabilized and was okay to go home the next morning. I got rid of that doctor, the benzodiapenes and have never had a seizure since. As for you, may you get well soon 🙂

  79. I just recently found your blog and i’m glad I stuck around long enough to see a new post! I really wish you the best and hope to send you some good vibes. Get well soon! I can’t wait for your next post :).

  80. Earl,
    So sorry you have been so sick. Twenty years ago I was told that if a dengue victim contracted the disease again, it would be fatal. Something about antibodies in your bloodstream. Yes. Dengue goes away, but itf my information is still correct, it will impact the geographical areas into which it will be safe for you to wander.

    Do investigate and make sure your future wanderings don’t lead you into places where a bite from a dengue-infected mosquito will take your life.

    Hope you are getting stronger.

    All best

  81. Dengue fever is worst, and I’m so sorry to hear that it knocked you down. I’m currently living in Jakarta as a TEFL teacher, and I got dengue a few months back. I was hospitalized for the first week, home but bedridden for the second week, and trying to function despite being dizzy and week for two more weeks after that. It felt like I was never going to be healthy again, but finally I managed to return to my previously dengue-free existence. Hope your recovery is going well!

  82. I am really sorry for your pain and awful experience, hope you will find your energy and refill your batteries very soon. We are leaving for Tanzania in two days, your post made me thing we should be more cautious than we planned to 🙂 I was afraid only of malaria, but it seems that this fever is a real threat too! Keep in touch!

  83. I think we need to get you in a mosquito net body suit type thing to keep you safe . Hope you recover and the dengue symptoms don’t stick around. Also, thanks for a post warming us of the dangers of Mosquitos , you can read travel advice on health websites but it never seems real .. your post describes how serious mosquito bites are and I will be taking more precautions from now on.
    Best wishes 🙂

  84. Wow, that’s just awful. I’ve had friends and family come down dengue before, and it is definitely no joke. Don’t even waste any energy feeling bad about taking the time to rest. Hope you feel 100% healthy soon! I know I’ll still be here reading what you have to say.

  85. Earl that sounds horrible! Sorry to hear it knocked you around so bad. I’m going to Turkey this week and am worried about the mosquitos – any tips to steer clear from dengue??
    Thanks

  86. My first thought, I hope you are not in India, for it will spoil your love for India for ever. Dengue is not a fun thing to get. However, I have known people who has recovered from Dengue and back in the saddle again. Looking forward to reading your fun filled adventured. Wishing you a speedy recovery!

  87. Glad you are on the mend…..my story is nothing like yours. I was in Santa Fe, mainly because i had always wanted to see the Santa Fe Opera, It was summer, and I was not prepared for the altitude of Santa fE, SO i was already feeling yucky. Then the morning of the day I had tickets for that nights performance, I woke up sicker than a dog. I did not leave my bed for 3 days, gave my ticked to friends, and people literally had to stop by my hotel to bring me food. I was delirious for about a day, and probably would have walked out of my room naked if a friend had not stopped me and sat with me the rest of the day. It was a horrid flu.
    I have found there are two types of sick people….those who want to be babied, coddled, and constantly want attention, and those who just want to be totally left alone. I am the latter….

    Get better, and take it easy.

  88. Wow thats scary!! Good thing you are recovering. Rest as much as you need, your fans/readers will all still be here. Your health is more important than a few posts. 🙂

  89. Living in Aruba I too contracted dengue. It’s the absolute worst feeling I’ve ever had. Be warned though, that tiredness can stick around for another 3 months, as well as the headaches. After that: heavenly bliss! Careful with the mosquitos, if you get dengue for the second or third time, it’s way more dangerous, so keep ‘m at bay! Get well soon!

  90. So sorry to hear this! I have been in Brazil for the last month, and there has been a dengue epidemic in many places here, including one city about 30 miles from where I’ve been staying. I have been very careful about mosquitoes because I heard how awful dengue can be (e.g. calling it “break-bone fever”). Glad you’re getting better.

  91. That’s terrible Derek!
    Really glad you are on the mend – take lots of naps and keep your fluids and meds (if any) up!
    Thanks for sharing the experience, at least I know what to look out for while travelling through Asia in October!

  92. Glad you’re feeling better! It’s been a bad year for travel bloggers and dengue: you, Jodi, Matt Karsten. I was very paranoid about contracting it in Mexico (we were living in the same town as Matt) but thankfull avoided it. It sounds very unpleasant! Glad you are OK.

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