Why do I still feel like crap 2 weeks later?
March 4, 2013 7:31 PM   Subscribe

A little over two weeks ago, I came down with what I suspect was norovirus. While the nausea and worst of it is long past, I still feel crappy. Some icky details inside.

The bout lasted the typical 24 hours with about 3 days recovery. The first 24 hours were marked by several rounds of projectile vomiting, fever, chills and the inability to keep even water down. The next 3 days were simply recovery ... lots of sleeping, gradually moving from broth and applesauce to more substantial, if bland foods.

Here it is 17 days later, and I still feel do not feel anywhere near 100 percent. Symptoms include multiple body aches and low-grade headache which no amount of ibubrofen helps, on and off ringing in the ears, and, worst of all, general exhaustion. I'm sleeping about 9 to 10 hours a night (I usually get by on 7) and, this past weekend, napped for 3 hours each afternoon (as I did the previous weekend). There have been at least 3 nights where it was closer to 12 hours. I've also found that twice in the past week, I've had low-grade fevers (100.2 to 100.8) which last a couple of hours at night and are gone the next morning.

I'm not having any gastric issues other than some slight constipation; and that my stool is a very pale color.

I've had the flu/stomach bugs many times in the past and don't remember this post/recovery period being this long. I know YANMD, but it this normal?

I am seeing my GP, but the earliest I can get in to see him is a week from today. Have mostly felt this is not worth an ER visit, but over the weekend, I seriously considered it.
posted by jrchaplin to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
First things first, I would get a probiotic or some kefir to get your guts back in working order. I feel your pain. It went through my family this fall pretty bad.
posted by checkitnice at 7:34 PM on March 4, 2013

I always hate to hear the words "It's going around" at school - but this sounds exactly what's going around at our school here in Toronto. In fact, I am typing here with my bucket on the coffee table in front of me. The kid had it Friday (her best friend had it Monday-Wednesday; her teacher had it the Wednesday-Friday before...) I have it today, and the husband came home from work with it. The parents at school whose families have been through it are calling it "Spring Cleaning" and many, many people have mentioned the fevers, cramps, aches and ringing in the ears lasting, and I have it all too. It has been a miserable couple of months for our whole community.

Fluids, vitamins, rest and above all good hand washing and hygiene are all anyone's doing when we commiserate. The playground is empty, nobody's having playdates much and the post-viral fatigue is like a badge of honour. You've joined the club. Take it easy and do whatever helps you feel healthy after any virus. This one's just a real jerk, that's all.
posted by peagood at 8:19 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Some of that sounds like dehydration. Are you getting enough fluids? I ask because I often don't pay enough attention to this after the acute stage.
posted by kamikazegopher at 8:28 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

It took me a whole month to feel completely myself and eat stuff again. Just keep hydrating & getting enough sleep.
posted by gadget_gal at 8:46 PM on March 4, 2013

Get your glands checked. Sounds like mono.
posted by Yowser at 9:38 PM on March 4, 2013

The headache that's resistant to painkillers sounds like dehydration. Make an effort to stay even more hydrated than normal, like maybe twice what you normally drink in a day.

The low fever, fatigue, and aches suggest you're still fighting something off. I second getting your glands checked, or even giving them a cursory feel yourself. Are they still tender or swollen? It's probably not worth an ER visit, but could you get to an urgent care or minute clinic or something if you're still not feeling better in a couple of days? They may tell you it's a viral thing you just have to wait out, but at least you won't have to wait a week.
posted by yasaman at 9:54 PM on March 4, 2013

I had mono, and it wasn't like that for me. With mono I remember a miserable sore throat that turned into nausea, and then the nausea stuck with me for a year. (I never puked once, but was on the brink of it for 12 months straight. Mono is the devil.)

A doctor visit could be a good idea, but I suspect this is just something you need to ride out.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:45 PM on March 4, 2013

I got this in November and was at a low ebb for a full month after, including weekly migraines, probably caused by dehydration. Consider what your local pharmacy can offer to rehydrate and go easy on yourself for a couple of weeks, ie lay off the rigorous exercise, have some comfort food as well as copious fruit & veg and obey your body's need for sleep.
posted by biffa at 12:30 AM on March 5, 2013

Recent post of someone else with persistent symptoms (not as persistent or troubling as yours sound.) I think the strain that's going around is just really potent. Keep up the supportive care until you can see your doc, and be very careful to stay hydrated.
posted by gingerest at 3:13 AM on March 5, 2013

Then again, if your stools are really pale, like grey, you should call back and mention it to your doc because it could be a liver problem.
posted by gingerest at 3:20 AM on March 5, 2013

Viruses are weird. Remember, the bug you had just destroyed a bunch of your cells to replicate itself. Your body is still healing.

But it couldn't hurt to go to a doctor, just for confirmation.
posted by gjc at 3:21 AM on March 5, 2013

I had norovirus (confirmed) in mid-December, it was just about mid-January before I could say that I felt fine. The more water I drank the better I felt but I didn't feel like you feel. I had the headache and the just general run-down/tired feeling and it got slowly better.
posted by magnetsphere at 7:23 AM on March 5, 2013

I had a virus in December (which courteously waited until the day after Christmas to hit) and I felt like crud for weeks. It seemed to do a number on my guts; I'm still taking probiotics. I recommend probiotics and rehydrating yourself with Gatorade and not eating anything that will be too hard on your stomach (like fiery spices or heavy greasy foods). By all means go to the doctor if you feel you want to get checked out but if it's a virus you just have to ride out the symptoms.

I find that as I get older I just don't bounce back from viruses the way I did when I was younger.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 8:18 AM on March 5, 2013

I also had this around New Year's and it took 3 weeks for me to feel normal even though I was only too sick for life for about 3 or 4 days. Agreeing with others above to up the hydration; get some Gatorade in addition to the water.
posted by fozzie_bear at 9:37 AM on March 5, 2013

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