Harper’s Bazaar Senior Digital Editor shared with her readers that she was recently diagnosed with the Zika virus after a Caribbean vacation.
Chrissy Rutherford, who lives in New York, noticed that her skin had developed a rash three days after she returned from Jamaica. While taking a selfie, she noticed her skin was uncharacteristically bumpy.
“I started to Google my symptoms on the train, and the word ‘Zika’ stared back at me, along with all my [ailments]: joint pain, muscle pain and a rash. Obviously I was convinced I had it—despite not having every symptom listed,” Rutherford wrote in Harper’s Bazaar.
Prior to the rash, she writes that she started to feel pain in her feet and thigh, but the rash was a major sign that something was really wrong. A doctor later confirmed that she had Zika when she got “violently sick” a day after noticing the rash.
Rutherford continued that for days, her skin was covered in a rash, her eyes were swollen and the itching was unbearable. Now, it’s been almost three weeks since and most of her symptoms are gone minus feeling exhausted. She stressed that she shared her story to help raise awareness that it can happen to anyone.
“It was interesting how little people knew about the virus. Most people’s immediate question was, ‘Are you going to be OK?’ As if I had just told them I was diagnosed with a potentially fatal disease. ‘That will clear up with a round of antibiotics, right?’ asked one of my co-workers. Nope, it’s not bacterial. There’s nothing that can be prescribed for the virus. I also had countless friends who tried to persuade me that doctors are often wrong, and suggest other illnesses I could potentially have,” Rutherford wrote.
“But at that point it didn’t really make a difference to me if it was Zika or something else—the virus had already taken control over my body. Even two weeks after the first sign of my symptoms, I learned that a married couple was too afraid to attend a function I was invited to, even though the virus isn’t contagious and only spreads by insect bites or by having unprotected sex.”
In the end, she says she learned a huge lesson from this dilemma: “If this experience taught me anything, it’s the importance of being informed—and the importance of bug spray.”