Post viral syndromes and Long Covid
Long Covid is grabbing the headlines right now with many voices calling for formal recognition of this as a condition (Nature 2021). The condition has striking similarities to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Both conditions involve an initial viral infection from which a full recovery is not achieved. Those with a diagnosis of ME, CFS or Long Covid are left after an acute infection with periods of overwhelming fatigue which doesn’t not get better with rest. Other symptoms include ‘brain fog’ (difficulty thinking and concentrating), dizziness and pain. Patients with ME or CFS can struggle to find treatment or be taken seriously by healthcare practitioners as there are no definitive tests to aid diagnosis. For Long Covid, healthcare practitioners are using a set of symptoms to diagnose the condition. These include chest heaviness, muscle pains, palpitations and fatigue. It seem to affect 1 in 4 of those infected for up to 4-5 weeks from onset and around 1 in 10 after 12 weeks.
Sufferers and those representing them are keen to avoid the problems experienced by those with ME and CFS – encouraging the use of ‘Long Covid’ as a condition descriptor rather than using the words ‘chronic’ ‘post’ and ‘syndrome’ which carry connotations which have led to those people with ME not being taken seriously and marginalised (Nature 2021).The World Heath Organisation (WHO 2021) has heard the call and is urging practitioners and health care systems to take into account this condition and plan long term care an interventions for those affected
Conventional treatment for post viral syndromes tends to concentrate on dealing with individual symptoms. As a reflexologist I would work all the body systems through organs, skeleton and glands (all reflected on the feet). I would then return to treat the individual symptoms experienced by my client. Currently there is little evidence of effectiveness of any treatment for Long Covid. More evidence is needed for all appropriate treatment modalities.
Nature 2021: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02796-2
United Nations UN news: https://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/health-emergencies/coronavirus-covid-19/news/news/2021/2/new-policy-brief-calls-on-decision-makers-to-support-patients-as-1-in-10-report-symptoms-of-long-covid