I have only just recovered from a case of the spots. In medical terms, it’s called a viral exanthem, an infection that manifests itself through an outbreak of rashes all over the body. Yes, it sounds a lot like measles, but it isn’t because I’ve gotten my shots and have graduated from chicken pox as a child. Thankfully, it’s all but gone today, save for peeling skin on the face from where most of the rashes were concentrated. It’s not exactly a riveting tale, but I’d like to share it all the same:

Wednesday of last week, I was out of town on a day-trip for a project. It was all well and good, and the weather wasn’t bad either. The crew ate lunch and dinner on-site and was on the way home at about 9pm. I got home, was understandably exhausted, took a bath, and went to sleep. No incident.

On Thursday, I was still feeling extra tired and had a migraine, so I was basically in bed for most of the day and slept through the afternoon. That evening—also known as the eve of Chinese New Year—we were supposed to eat over at my grandma’s house, but we cancelled at the last minute because there’s some random custom about needing to eat in your own house on Chinese New Year’s Eve. My appetite was so-so. I wasn’t really hungry, but the food looked good, so I ended up eating anyway. That night I started to notice swollen lymph nodes on the back of my head. I thought, Okay, great, I’m coming down with something. Probably that once-a-year flu. Called it a night and that was that.

Friday morning, I noticed rashes on my nose and forehead. Thought it was the bath soap I used on my face the night before. (I was in a hurry and completely forgot to take the face wash into the bathroom, so what the hell.) I found it odd, since I’ve never had a reaction to the occasional use of bath soap as face soap before. I used toner because I thought it was just a mild reaction. However, by nightfall it got worse. My entire face had red, slightly raised spots. There was a slight fever too.

By Saturday afternoon, the rashes started to spread to my neck, chest, and back. The swollen/tender number of lymph nodes seemed to increase, and I had a fever to boot. I decided to consult with my aunt who happens to be a doctor. She told me it was probably a viral exanthem that had to run its course. I was asked to take Paracetamol to keep the fever at bay. If I didn’t get well by Monday, I had to go get a blood test and visit an internist doctor. By evening it was forming on my arms and legs. Was I turning into a zombie? I started googling furiously to find some sort of cure or remedy, but all I got was the advice to rest in bed and drink plenty of fluids. Some sites claim that drinking vitamins throughout the sickness helps recovery along. Okay, let’s try that. I took multivitamins.

On Sunday, I took my cure-all solution of two 1000 mg vitamin c tablets, one in the morning and one in the evening. The spots were still red but didn’t seem to be increasing anymore. My fever didn’t return for the rest of the day. Was this the start of my getting better? *Fingers crossed*

By Monday, I was still taking the vitamin C tablets, and the spots had started to fade by then. The swelling finally disappeared completely. Up until that point I had some trouble sleeping because the tenderness of the lymph nodes wouldn’t allow for certain ways of turning my head on a pillow. Tuesday, the spots turned into a dark brown that just peeled furiously. More peeling on Wednesday and Thursday. Today, I notice they’re all but gone. Just a few tiny spots on my chin that are continuing to peel. Still taking the vitamins, but not in such a high dosage anymore.

It spread fast, but disappeared quickly too. Thank goodness I’m done with with it! The weird part is I have absolutely no idea where I got it from, unless those around me had it but were asymptomatic. I think exanthems have a week of incubation prior to exhibiting the rashes. Has anyone else in the Philippines gotten a viral exanthem recently, what with the outbreak season of measles for the kids?


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