Lingering Pathogen and Long Covid…The one’s that just don’t go away.
Many of us have experienced it, just when you think you have got over that cold, sore throat, earache etc it returns. Sometimes weeks later, sometimes a few months later when we get a bit run down, or as soon as you finish the antibiotics the symptoms return with a vengeance. In Chinese Medicine they are given a separate treatment category known as ‘lingering pathogens’. Lingering pathogens have a cyclic nature, the immune system rallies to clear it causing a fever or glandular inflammation, then if it fails to clear it you will sometimes feel cold, tired and foggy headed.
They take many forms and guises, such as re-occurring thrush or urinary tract infections, shingles and cold sores, tinea and of course lingering symptoms of “long’’ Covid. The problem is a combination of a compromised immune system unable to clear from a virus/bacteria/parasite completely and also your system being an environment that is very ‘pathogen friendly’ and they cannot resist flourishing there. This can be from being run down as the result of long-term stress, poor immune function, or a result of prolonged drug treatment. Or, it could simply be that the pathogen is a very strong one and your immune system becomes run down as a result of the long fight. In the case of the spike protein, it’s a foreign pathogen new to the human immune system.
According to government web sites, the WHO and MAYO centre for health; long Covid tends to cause other lingering symptoms such as foggy head, deep fatigue, body and joint aches and pains, chest discomfort or pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, blood clotting issues or other organ issues with the kidney, spleen, lungs, brain and stomach. This is due to the ACE receptors found in many cells throughout the body, providing an ‘access gate’ for the spike proteins to bind to and cause problems. Unfortunately, if the immune system is chronically over stimulated, certain auto-immune systems may be affected such as diabetes, Rheumatic arthritis and vascular disease, SLE and sarcoidosis. (ref:pubmed.ncbi.nim.nih/gov/34944099). Exact mechanisms have yet to be fully established so it is important not to ignore these symptoms. There are many things that have shown promise in assisting the body to fight infection and repair damage such as Boswellia (frankinsence), Dandelion, Circumin (Tumeric), cinnamon, Emodin, NAC, Pine needle tea, star anise and Prunella Spike.
Other persistent viral infections can create chronic issues such as tonsillitis or shingles. In these cases, repeated anti-biotics often fail to clear it completely and may result in swollen glands long after the symptoms subside. Over time the immune system can become run down trying to clear the pathogen ‘bugs’, leaving the host fatigued. Many years of this can even result in Chronic Fatigue, especially if there is a history of Epstein-Barr virus infection as in glandular fever.
In a recent seminar on this topic, it became clear that professional help is required to kill off these persistent little critters, as the immune system needs support whilst the pathogens are cleared.
Some remedies that are available that can be effective, depending on the condition, include Olive leaf extract combined with Astragalus to boost immune cells, shitake mushroom is also great at stimulating white blood cell production. Zinc and Vitamin D and C are all important for your immune systems. Ensure you nourish yourself with whole foods, get out in some sunlight, and get good quality sleep.
Seeing a health professional is vital for appropriate diagnosis, as treatments are often symptom specific and is usually long term, especially with problems like recurrent thrush, ear infections and re-current tonsillitis, or post viral syndromes such as Long Covid.
Until next time
Dr Angela Palmer
B.AppSc Human Biology