Lingering Pathogens….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 even just as soon as you finish the anti-biotic the symptoms return with a vengeance. In Chinese Medicine they are given a separate treatment category known as ‘lingering pathogens’.
They take many forms and guises, such as re-occurring thrush or urinary tract infections or even tinea. The problem is a combination of not only not clearing the infection from the system completely, but 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 functioning as a result of prolonged drug treatment or simply the pathogen is a very strong one and your immune system becomes run down as a result of the long fight.
A good example is tonsillitis, this disease responds well initially to a course of anti-biotics and most people’s immune systems kill off the rest of the infection. In some cases however the infection can re-occur over and over until tonsils become enlarged and may even obstruct swallowing. In these cases repeated anti-biotics often drive the infection deeper into the body and in these people swollen glands can be felt in the neck even when they are not experiencing symptoms. Over time the immune system can become run down trying to clear the pathogen ‘bug’ 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 VitaminD and C are all important for you immune systems effective functioning so seek foods that are high in these nutrients or take supplements if you are not eating a wide balanced diet or getting enough sunlight. Seeing a health professional is vital for appropriate diagnosis. Treatment is usually long term, especially with problems like recurrent thrush, ear infections and re-current tonsillitis, however you feel better with each passing day with renewed energy and vigour!
Until next time
Dr Angela Palmer
B.AppSc Human Biology