An emerging risk of contracting Covid is the increased incidence of post-covid illness, or long Covid. A significant number of people report lingering symptoms after a Covid infection. These include persistent cough, fatigue and memory problems. Long Covid or Post Covid-19 Condition commonly develops after mild to moderate infection.
Check this article for some simple ways to support your immune system. If you do happen to contract Covid, having a good base of health can help you bounce back quickly.
Understanding of the underlying mechanisms is evolving, but is thought to involve persistent inflammation, oxidative stress and immune dysregulation. A number of pro-inflammatory biomarkers are detectable in blood samples up to 8 months after Covid infection. This confirms a biological basis for the symptoms people experience. For unknown reasons, women are more likely to develop long Covid.
A recent review of evidence by a UK Government agency found that people who are vaccinated before contracting SARS-CoV2 are less likely to develop long Covid. For people who are unvaccinated before contracting the virus, getting vaccinated afterwards reduced the likelihood of experiencing long Covid. Despite some variability the review strongly suggests that vaccination has a role in reducing long term symptoms.
Chinese Medicine Perspectives
In Chinese medicine theory, pathogens that remain in the body and cause a persistent immune response are called Lingering Pathogens. This pattern has been described in texts dating back 2000 years. Lingering pathogens can include viruses, bacteria and fungi, but also environmental chemicals, allergens and drugs. As well as long Covid, other common patterns caused by lingering pathogens include chronic fatigue syndrome, malaria and candida overgrowth.
Regardless of their original cause, lingering pathogens have some signs and symptoms in common. This might include fever, stiff or aching muscles, swollen lymph nodes and fatigue. There is often an identifiable illness or exposure marking the beginning of your symptoms “I’ve never felt quite right since I got sick with … “ Whilst the original illness may have been mild, you may have a feeling of having never fully recovered. Or you may experience a return or ‘echo’ of the original sickness when you are stressed or run down.
Whilst understanding and Western medical treatments for long Covid are developing there are other approaches to try when symptoms linger. Targetted nutrients, herbs, acupuncture and other natural strategies can support your body to resolve the underlying imbalance, steadily returning you to vital health.
Try Chinese herbs and Acupuncture
Treatment of lingering pathogens with Chinese herbs and acupuncture involves both strengthening the Qi and releasing the pathogen. Combining acupuncture points and herbal formulas to vent the pathogen from the body can allow you to feel better and move towards recovery.
Diet and Lifestyle are Still Important
It can be difficult to start or maintain lifestyle changes when you’re not feeling your best, but small, incremental changes will help your body gradually heal. Diet and lifestyle strategies to reduce inflammation, oxidative stress and autoimmunity may be helpful in the treatment of long Covid. A diet of whole, unprocessed foods, adequate sleep and moderate exercise are important steps to support healing and restoration.
Targetted supplementation to resolve inflammation and support cellular metabolic activity may also be important with long covid. Specialised Pro Resolving Mediators (SPMs) are compounds derived from fish oils. SPMs may play a key role in the resolution of inflammation as well as directly inhibiting viral replication. Viral infections, including Covid, can be toxic to the powerhouse of our cells, the mitochondria. Post-viral complications such as chronic fatigue/myalgic encephalomyelitis and long Covid are thought to be caused by mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress. CoQ10 supports mitochondrial energy production and has antioxidant actions. NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) and Vitamin C may also be important for reducing oxidative stress in long Covid.
If you are struggling with any symptoms that may indicate long Covid, or another post-viral illness, you may need extra support to feel well again. Chinese medicine, acupuncture and nutrients can correct underlying imbalances and return you to vitality.