Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome
Society has been underestimating the long-term consequences of viruses, bacterial infections, and parasites for ages - Hank Balfour and William Hoffman
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It’s Not Just Long COVID
Despite the initial disbelief and remaining questions, the phenomenon behind long COVID isn’t entirely new. We’ve always lived with post-infection illnesses and underappreciated their consequences. A recent article in Nature Medicine lists 15 infectious agents—many of which are well-known viruses, bacteria, and parasites—that can cause these “post-acute infection syndromes.” Long COVID is unprecedented in terms of its scale—it has affected many millions of people in the U.S. alone—but we should try to understand and study it in the context of other long illnesses, not as something that emerged out of nowhere with no comparison or antecedents.
Researchers are closing in on long covid
Something similar is happening now, with the covid-19 pandemic. A wave of what has become known as “long covid” is emerging in countries where acute cases have been falling. Formally, the condition is called “post-covid syndrome” (pcs). But even the official definition of its symptoms is fluid, because knowledge of its details is still evolving.
What is post-viral fatigue syndrome, the condition affecting some COVID-19 survivors?
The symptoms are essentially the same as those of chronic fatigue syndrome, also called myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME, which is why the WHO places them under the same category of neurological disorders. If you went to see a doctor, the clinical assessment for post-viral fatigue syndrome would be the same as for chronic fatigue syndrome.
An Illness That's Hard To Live With—Or Define
Fatigue-related illnesses have periodically appeared over the past 150 years. Some have mistakenly compared CFS to what was called neurasthenia in the late 1800s.
Post-viral fatigue (PVF) and Post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS)
Some degree of post-viral fatigue (PVF) or debility is a fairly common occurrence after any type of viral infection. Fortunately, in most cases, this is short lived and there is a steady return to normal health over a period of a few weeks.
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When rest may be best for post-viral fatigue
What they require is a period of good old-fashioned convalescence at the start of their illness. This should be followed by gradual, flexible and cautious increases in physical and mental activity.
It’s Not Just Long COVID
Several months into the pandemic, a new aspect of COVID-19 started gaining attention from scientists, journalists, and health-care professionals. Instead of feeling better two weeks after contracting the virus, some people were reporting prolonged, life-disrupting symptoms such as “brain fog” and fatigue.
Recurrent or chronic infections, including chronic fatigue syndrome and chronic postviral syndrome, are characterized by a depressed immune system.
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Last Updated : Tuesday, September 27, 2022