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Post Viral Infection

Welcome to January where every other person you know is sick or recovering from something including me.  In previous blogs, we have talked about what to do when sick, what supplements to take etc.  But what about the lingering symptoms that commonly occur which can scar people into thinking they have long covid symptoms or other chronic viral issues.   Long covid is a completely different animal and we can save that for a different blog. Did you know that most viral infections will have lingering symptoms that can last easily up to 8 weeks?

Symptoms of a post viral infection (you are typically no longer contagious at this point):

  • Fatigue

  • Headaches

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Cough

  • Stiff Joints and muscles

  • Viral Hives

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Rhinitis or drainage

Most of the above symptoms will get better in 6-8 weeks but some can last up to 6 months without long term side effects past this.

In some more extreme cases, a patient can get Reactive Airway Disease (RAD) which is a condition where the virus causes an asthmatic reaction of the airways.  This is self-limiting meaning it will get better on or around  6 to 12 months.   Reactive airway disease will present as a cough and wheezing with exercise or when laying down for bed at night.

Well, that was a lot of discouraging news so what do we do about it?

Life doesn’t end when it looks like you are going to have lingering symptoms. Here are some steps, I have taken myself and how I advise my patients.

  1. Chill – healing takes time and having to remind yourself that and give yourself permission to rest and recover is paramount in the process.  (By the way this is my personal hardest step…I want to be better… yesterday.)

  2. Tulsi tea – Tulsi tea is extremely helpful to ease the respiratory wheezing and cough that can linger.  It works on the tissue in the body to help with asthmatic symptoms. 

  3. Monolaurin – In some of the National Institute of Health (NIH) studies, it shows that monolaurin prevents viral replication up to 80%, this makes it really great for getting rid of post viral symptoms where the virus is kind of prone to be latent and hiding.

  4. Vitamin D – It has been a rock star through the whole Covid pandemic and it is still the most common vitamin deficiency that can prevent us from getting completely well.

  5. Sleep more – go to bed really early just like when you were actively sick. You will be surprised at how much you still can sleep in this state.

  6. Colloidal Oatmeal – If your children (most common in kids but some adults do get it also) get a rash about a week to 2 weeks after being sick, this is most likely viral hives. They usually start on the legs first and can move to the rest of the body.  Colloidal oatmeal baths will help soothe the itching.  Hives can last up to 8 days but not usually longer than that.

  7. See a Homeopath – Homeopathic remedies used heavily in Europe, India and other parts of the world work wonders on lingering hard to treat symptoms.  If you don’t have one in your area, many homeopaths will do telemedicine calls.  We have a Homeopathic Practitioner (Reena Abraham)in our office.

While there are many other remedies I use for my patients when their infection just won’t go away, here are 6 really great easy to use remedies. 

And here is my story:  On Christmas this year my girls and I got Influenza A this has a no productive cough, fever for days, severe headache and body aches.  This was the sickest my girls ever remember being and probably the sickest I had been in a long time.  The symptoms can last up to 14 days and they definitely did in me.  What lingered afterward was fatigue and a cough that would keep me up at night.  Although I found that it mostly was worse when I first laid down at night so I would just let myself cough it out then with a slightly propped position I would fall asleep.  I also got viral hives, (I am the only adult I currently know that does this) which meant hives and itching all over my legs.  So the good news I guess was that this happened over Christmas which meant I didn’t miss much work and the girls didn’t miss much school, but when I first started back to work, the fatigue was so bad that I could barely do anything at home.   I also slept in the guest room so my husband wouldn’t get sick and I wouldn’t keep him awake with coughing. 

My self-treatment plan:

  1. Taking Epsom salt baths – they help with muscle aches and shown to improve symptoms.  Must be in the bath 20 minutes to get full benefits.

  2. Nebulizer and steam machine – the nebulizer binds with particles in the lung and throat.  I use eucalyptus in the steam machine and hypertonic salt solution in the nebulizer.

  3. Zinc Picolinate – I did 30 mg 2x a day with food since this sickness left me feeling nauseous.

  4. Acer Campestre – It is comprised of maple buds in a liquid tincture that is a strong anti-viral and helps reduce the duration of the illness.

  5. Sleep – Each night I would go to bed very early around 7:30-8 pm to cough then fall asleep.  I would often use a heating pad on the chest to help with the cough.

  6. Tea – Tulsi tea and throat coat were my go to which aided with wheezing and asthma symptoms and dry throat since this bug didn’t come with a sore throat.

No matter when you get sick it never feels good, and functional medicine doctors like us are standing by to help with tinctures and herbs to help speed healing time especially when it lingers like some viruses do. 

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