Updated: Sep 15
Post viral fatigue refers to a diffuse collection of symptoms that individuals can suffer from after suffering a viral infection. These symptoms may vary from severe to relatively mild and may include: breathlessness; lethargy; apathy; sore throat; headaches; unexplained joint or muscle pain; swollen lymph nodes.
It is unclear why an individual gets post viral fatigue though it is generally thought that an individual will for some reason have had a harder time fighting off the virus leaving their system exhausted. Another theory is that these individuals are still fighting this virus on some level even though all blood tests will show negative for the virus. Why? Because viruses will migrate out the bloodstream into other tissues and obviously blood tests don't then pick them up. Viruses have the potential to affect all different types of tissues within our system which is why they can cause all sorts of symptoms including nerve symptoms. It is possible that blood tests show elevated white blood cell numbers which is indicative of the immune system reacting to something - just like the swollen lymph nodes is. Another is that an individuals immune system has become "hypersensitive" to certain things and so is just permanently on a state of alert when it could actually do with calming down. Each of these require a different approach in rehabilitating.
Unfortunately in these cases the Western medical system doesn't really have an answer as these people return normal (or within normal) test results and so people are at a loss of what to do.
While post viral fatigue has been around for ever it has become more prevalent as there are now large numbers of people suffering with long-covid. The reason this has led to a surge in numbers is that the coronavirus was a novel type of virus that we had not been exposed to before and so has led to an influx of post-covid symptoms post-pandemic.
Unfortunately there is no telling how long these symptoms may persist for. Typically it may be a months, but it is not unusual to find people who are still experiencing post viral symptoms years down the line. Whether this is likely the case with long covid we don't yet know.
So what to do?
There are a number of small incremental lifestyle changes that may be easily incorporated that may have a cumulative beneficial affect. These include:
Anti-inflammatory diet - avoid processed foods particularly those high in sugar and high in histamine.
Take cold showers - or more realistically at the end of your shower run it as cool as you can tolerate for 60+ seconds. Boots the immune system and helps shift lymphatic fluid around (effectively our sewage).
Try and decrease daily stress where possible.
Practice good sleep habits - sleep in a cool room, no screen time in bed, go to bed early and get up early.
Get out in the morning sunshine for a gentle walk (or supplement Vitamin D in the winter).
Gradually increase your load by doing more or for longer, try and not overdo it on a day when you feel good as this will likely set you back further. Slow incremental improvement here.
Get your significant other to watch your breathing and count your breaths when you're asleep. If you have an elevated respiration rate look up Buteyko breathing and play around with this to get your respiration rate down.
Make sure you are well hydrated, limit caffeine intake to no more than 1 or 2 coffees in the morning.
How can we help?
When we start working with a client we take a comprehensive history to try and get a proper look at everything going on. We use a combination of lifestyle changes, dietary intervention, and also a targeted supplement driven approach to help support someone's system in combatting whatever they are dealing with. There are a number of fundamental things that a person needs to be able to do in order to successfully fight off a virus and it can sometimes be the case that this person needs help in restoring these fundamentals.
Different people require different input and approaches and this is why unfortunately just doing all the general recommendations won't be enough for a lot of people by themselves.
If you want us to review your history and see if we think we can help you out then get in contact or book a free 30 minute functional health consultation.