“Long-haul COVID-19”

What are the effects of post Covid?
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“Long-haul COVID-19”, or “long-COVID”

“Long-haul COVID-19”, or “long-COVID” occurs in a growing number of persons infected with the virus, where symptoms may be present for months after ‘recovering’ from the virus.

The British Medical Journal defines long-COVID as: “illness in people who have either recovered from COVID-19 but are still reporting lasting effects of the infection or have had the usual symptoms for far longer than would be expected”.  (Alwan NA, et al., 2020. BMJ, 370:m3565.)

Symptoms of long-COVID often include intermittent fever, fatigue, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, joint pain, muscle fatigue and a loss of smell and taste.  Other long-term symptoms may extend to immune system disorders (such as auto-immune conditions and histamine intolerance), brain health (depression, brain fog, memory issues), gut health (gut dysbiosis, intestinal permeability and irritable bowel syndrome), inflammation of the heart muscle and lung function abnormalities.

While it’s not known why some persons experience long-COVID, the theories tend to focus on the immune system:

  • An underactive immune system due to damage by the virus or a pre-existing condition.
  • A hyperactive immune system which fails to ‘switch off’ even after the virus is gone – attacking not only foreign invaders (‘pathogens’) but also your body’s own tissues.

What can be done?

Without a virus to attack, conventional medicine may struggle to treat long-COVID as it is only the symptoms that remain, rather than the virus.  Naturopathy and nutrition are well positioned to help dampen the root causes that can trigger these symptoms.

Some of the natural solutions available include the following:

  • Antioxidants to ‘mop-up’ some of the damage-causing free radicals caused by the virus.
  • Anti-inflammatory diet to dampen a hyperactive immune response.
  • Plentiful nutrients to replenish what has been lost to the virus and support the body’s natural healing mechanisms.
  • Elimination diet to identify foods which can trigger immune responses.
  • Improvement of sleep to allow the body to rest and recover, and to positively influence immune function.
  • Slow reintroduction of exercise – preserving any gains in energy reserves.

Working with naturopathy and nutrition, we can navigate this path together towards restored vitality.