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If you receive my daily travel tip newsletter, then you know that my family and I were island hopping in the Eastern Caribbean to kick off 2024. We were aboard the beautiful Enchanted Princess, which we sailed on last summer in the Mediterranean.

The 10-day cruise out of Fort Lauderdale had port calls in The Bahamas, St. Thomas, Dominica, St. Lucia (pictured above), Martinique and Antigua. It was an amazing trip but the day after we returned home, I got hit with a nasty virus. Even before we boarded the ship, I had been reading about a huge uptick in respiratory infections, which was concerning but I hoped for the best.

By the grace of God, we didn’t get sick while on the ship even though I saw multiple passengers coughing without covering their mouths. These bad manners were my biggest pet peeve even, before the pandemic but one would think that after Covid lockdowns, people would change their rude habits. But no, I think it’s gotten worse. On almost every flight (and now cruise) I’ve been on in the past year, I’ve seen people coughing and not covering their mouths. It’s worse in airports, which is why I still carry KN95 face masks in my carry-on bag.

I said that we didn’t get sick on board the ship although my daughter Olivia (4), complained of an ear ache the day before disembarkation. We immediately took her to the ship’s doctor ($99) and he prescribed her antibiotics ($58) for an ear infection and said she should be fine for the flights home to Los Angeles (via Dallas). Fortunately, Olivia was fine on both flights and so were all of us. In fact, we had multiple passengers commend me and my wife for having such great little travelers.

When we got home around 6pm, I went to the grocery store and my wife bathed the kids before an early bedtime. Although my kids were used to late nights on the ship, thanks to the four-hour time change, they were zonked by 7pm.

That night, I woke up with the chills so I knew something was coming on. I felt like I had a temperature but my wife said our no-touch, infrared forehead thermometer kept reading normal. I went to the doctor to have him check my lungs and to get a PCR Covid test and the nurse said I had a temperature of 100.8. Our kids’ pediatrician later told us that the infrared thermometers can be a bit tricky and to point them behind the ear (where you put perfume) for a more accurate reading.

However, I went back to my old school under-the-tongue thermometer for the rest of the week. My doctor said my test results for Covid and flu were negative and that I should keep testing for Covid. He also said I would probably feel worse before I got better. He wasn’t kidding. I had a fever for the next six days with a high of 104.4. I’ve never had a fever last this long and I took Extra Strength Tylenol every six hours to try and bring it down. It only went to normal once. I was miserable and could barely sleep. Today (so far, fingers crossed) is the first day I don’t have a fever. RELATED: 8 Items to Add to Your Toiletry Bag When You Travel

All week, I was so sick I couldn’t work so I watched a lot of TV. Our kids tested positive for Influenza A so they didn’t go to school all week. Our son still has a high fever so we’re not sure he will be able to go to school on Tuesday.

I posted my symptoms on Facebook to see if any friends or family were experiencing something similar and so many people from all over responded that they were. I also just read this headline on MSN: Winter tripledemic warning: 40 states have ‘high’ or ‘very high’ levels of Covid and flu.

I’m still not sure what I have but I assume it’s Influenza A since that’s what my kids tested positive for but I think there’s something else, too. In all my years, I’ve never been this sick. And I think the virus also awakened other latent viruses I had decades ago like sinus infections and for a few days there, I felt like I was being electrocuted on the side of my head, directly above my right ear.

So if you’re wondering why the radio silence this past week, now you know. The good news is that I lost all the weight and (and then some) that I put on while on the cruise. I just joked to my wife that she picked the wrong year to challenge me to see who could lose 10 pounds first, since I’m now down a dozen in less than a week. Who knew Influenza A is the new Ozempic?

In all seriousness, this virus wiped me out and took me down hard and I’m not sure if it’s even done with me. I know I could have contracted the virus even if I’d stayed home as many friends did, but it scared me so bad, that I just canceled a trip to a huge travel conference next week since I’m not taking the chance of catching any of the other nasty viruses out there.

Hope you’re staying safe and healthy out there!


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10 Comments On "There’s a Really Nasty Virus Going Around and I Caught It While Cruising the Caribbean"
  1. Linda Morgan|

    So glad you are feeling better Johnny. Fingers crossed that continues!! I know what you mean about people not covering their mouths when they cough or sneeze. It is really driving me crazy lately how inconsiderate people are about common manners and courtesies.
    Hope you and your beautiful family get and stay well!!!

  2. Debra P|

    Glad you are feeling better!

  3. Dougie|

    I assume you did not get the flu vaccine or you would have said so. I started getting the flu vaccine at age 42 in late 1998 after a really bad case of the flu during the final week of 1997. Now that I am over 65, I get the high dose flu vaccine the last half of each October. While the flu vaccine is not always made for the flu strain that hits the US each winter, I have never been as sick with any flu like illness since (includes Covid, which I have been vaxxed for a total of 5 times) as I was that miserable week in 1997. Johnny, considering all the travel time near coughing strangers, you and the spouse should be getting the flu vaccine, especially as you are no longer a ‘spring chickens.’

    1. Johnny Jet|

      I get a flu shot every year and got one in Oct

  4. April from Chicago|

    hey Johnny
    as a healthcare professional I work in the hospital and the cases of covid, RSV and influenza are thru the roof. hope you’re doctor checked you for RSV also. and did you get a chest x-ray? my tips for this tripledemic
    wear a mask ( don’t just carry it with you)
    wash your hands frequently
    protect yourself…
    move away from people who are coughing frequently

    go to your doctor’s office or urgent aid ( better than the ER in most cases you will be seen sooner) if your symptoms: get worse, last longer than a week, increase in severity, you have shortness of breath and or chest pain
    hope your feel better soon Johnny

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Thanks! He didn’t test me for RSV as he said it’s the same treatment as the others. He did give me a chest X-ray and it was clear.

  5. Kat|

    Cruises are nothing but a cesspool of germs you can’t escape. You will never catch me on one of those! Every single person i know has come back from a cruise sick with something. At least when you travel on your own you can somewhat control your environment, not so much on those ships with everyone touching everything and sharing constant inside air.

  6. Lorna|

    Wow, I had the same symptoms and illness that began the day before Thanksgiving. My 65 year old lungs then got a bit of walking pneumonia, late in December. I’m finally back to myself!

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Yikes! I’m glad you’re back to your old self.

  7. tgt|

    I was on the same cruise – did not see you. We had three generations on the ship. I (grandmother) was the only one who wore a mask all the time, but none of us were sick. Made the grandchildren change seats in the theater once as a man was coughing up a lung behind us – of course, not covering his face. Double-vaxxed, 4 boosters + flu shot. We went to Europe this summer for six weeks, wore masks, did not get sick. Feel better soon!

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