Post-COVID 19 syndrome – does not exist officially, it has been a name or title manufactured to fit the illness, there is a huge amount of press and media focusing on Post-COVID 19 Syndrome, but they may have had a hand in creating that name. However, officially there is Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome (PFVS), or Post Viral Fatigue (PVF). These two are well documented and officially recognized. COVID 19 is a virus, so a link is there.
Fatigue – as per the Oxford Dictionary “a feeling of being extremely tired, usually because of hard work or exercise synonym exhaustion physical and mental fatigue.
Everyone feels this at times, that is completely natural. However, when it lingers for an extended period after being affected by a virus such as the flu, it is known as Post Viral Fatigue.
Fatigue in the main symptom, both physically and mentally, the feeling of exhaustion, even when you are sleeping well and getting a good amount of rest.
- Other symptoms:
- Inability to concentrate or focus, difficulties with memories and recall,
- Sore throat
- Swollen Lymph Nodes
- Unexplained muscle and/or joint pain
It seems to be caused by a viral illness, but there are no clear cut reasons why one person will be susceptible and another will not. Nor how long it will take for recovery, many believe there is a clear connection with Cronic Fatigue Syndrome, except the PVF and PVFS and preempted by a virus and CFS is not. The World Health Organization classifies CFS/ME as a neurological illness.
There is no generalised agreement as to why PVF and PVFS vary in patients with viruses, some thoughts are:
- An unusual response to a virus, that can remain latent in a body
- Increased levels of proinflammatory cytokines, which promote inflammation
- nervous tissue inflammation
This is often hard, as the term fatigue and the feelings caused are common in many conditions, so an actual defined diagnosis can take a long time and a variety of tests.
Before you see your doctor keep a record of your symptoms, dates and whether you had a viral infection prior to the symptoms starting. Mental health issues can also be taken into account because depression and anxiety have symptoms of fatigue, a physical examination, plus blood and urine tests can rule out a lot of causes of fatigue like diabetes, anaemia and hypothyroidism.
Other tests for elimination could be an exercise stress test, to rule out cardiovascular or respiratory conditions, a sleep study to rule out sleep disorders, apnea or insomnia which could affect sleep quality.
However, do not despair, even though there is nothing clean cut about who gets it or why, the Royal College of Occupational Health has formulated the practical 3 Ps.
Pace, Plan, Prioritize, there are some specific guidelines endorsed by the Intensive Care Society, rehabilitation post-COVID 19 or extended illnesses of any virus is methodical and takes time. Wishing it away, or treating it as nothing will not make you well. There are two precise support plans available one for people who have been hospitalised and one for those who have not. These are full of practical and supportive information.
COVID 19 is not the cause of PFS or PVFS, even if it is renamed, but it has shown that viruses for many people globally are not just two weeks of sniffles and shivers, there is also a deadly aftershock, that nobody knows they are susceptible or not until it hits. Early detection is important, self-care is essential.
Here’s to your wellbeing – take care.
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