The terms postviral fatigue, postviral exhaustion, and postviral syndrome are often used interchangeably and describe similar clinical pictures. They are symptoms that occur after recovery from a viral infection. If these symptoms persist, they severely limit quality of life. Learn here how to get back on your feet as quickly as possible after a viral illness..
Viral infections represent a not inconsiderable test of endurance for the human immune system: The body feverish, antibodies are formed and released, the body’s own chemical stocks are used up. It is therefore no wonder that many people are severely weakened for several days after an illness.
To a certain extent, post-viral exhaustion symptoms are therefore completely normal. However, it is a different story if fatigue and listlessness or listlessness continue to affect the quality of life for several weeks after the infection. This so-called postviral syndrome can occur in principle after any viral infection – even after an ordinary flu illness.
Postviral exhaustion can affect anyone – but especially often immunodeficient
Particularly often affected by postviral symptoms are people whose immune system is weakened or compromised for various reasons. A severe course of illness can also be a trigger for postviral fatigue symptoms. Nevertheless, even physically fit people who experienced only mild symptoms during the illness may develop postviral syndrome after a viral illness.
Typically, postviral fatigue manifests itself in the form of a permanent, debilitating fatigue state that does not disappear even with sleep. In many cases, this is compounded by other symptoms such as muscle pain, headache, nausea, dizziness, impaired concentration, memory problems, and a general feeling of illness.
Exhaustion even after light physical exertion is not atypical for postviral syndrome. For example, even climbing stairs can trigger heart palpitations or breathing difficulties in a person who is actually fit, if he or she is suffering from postviral exhaustion.
These symptoms can occur in varying combinations and severity and are sometimes accompanied by recurrent fever. In the worst cases, postviral exhaustion can even lead to temporary occupational disability that lasts for several weeks.
Long covid or postviral fatigue: is there a difference?
In recent years, another clinical picture similar to postviral syndrome has also caused concern: long covid. This occurs as a result of coronavirus disease and, according to estimates by the German Society for Pneumology and Respiratory Medicine (DGP), affects about 10% of all covid 19 patients.
Although corona is known to damage the entire body, the late effects are not significantly different from those of a common postviral syndrome. Long covid should therefore be understood primarily as a term for a particular form of postviral syndrome specifically caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Postviral fatigue symptoms: causes unclear, but doctors have suspects in their sights
The specific causes of postviral symptoms have not yet been conclusively determined. However, it is suspected to be a misdirected immune response that occurs during convalescence, the final phase of the disease process. In addition, nerve damage resulting from the disease is a possible cause.
In many affected individuals, a low glutathione level can also be detected after viral illnesses. The tripeptide glutathione, which consists of the amino acids cysteine, glycine and glutamic acid, is useful in the body for a whole range of different processes – including the binding of free radicals and the activity of immune cells. In addition, if it is missing, the mitochondria of the cells can no longer produce sufficient adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This leads to a prolonged state of exhaustion as soon as the course of metabolic processes is disturbed by the lack of ATP.
Home remedies against post-viral exhaustion
If fatigue and listlessness or exhaustion occur after an illness, the only thing that usually remains is to relieve the immune system as much as possible. Depending on the general condition, various home remedies that support recovery are suitable for this purpose.
In any case, it is of primary importance to get enough rest. Try to incorporate enough breaks into your regular daily routine. If possible, take naps and go to bed on time. In the case of post-viral exhaustion, about eight to nine hours of sleep in one night is ideal.
Physical and mental stress should also be avoided. If you play sports or engage in other physically demanding activities, you should temporarily discontinue them until the symptoms of exhaustion completely subside. Likewise, it is better for you to avoid stressors whenever possible. These also affect the function of the immune system.
Last but not least, there is also the possibility of positively influencing immune functions through nutrition. Fatty foods should therefore be banned from the menu in the case of postviral exhaustion. Leeks and onion vegetables, on the other hand, have an anti-inflammatory effect due to the sulfides they contain, as does pineapple, which contains the anti-inflammatory enzyme bromelain. Make sure you eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables – fruits with a high vitamin C content such as cherries, soft fruits and citrus fruits are best.
If symptoms persist: See a doctor!
If symptoms persist for more than a week after recovery, a visit to the family doctor is strongly advised. Especially in the case of a Covid-19 infection, you should not take the late effects lightly. For example, the symptoms may be a sign of organ damage. If left untreated, these can lead to further complications and should therefore be ruled out as soon as possible.
After a thorough examination and diagnosis, we will put together the most suitable therapy for you individually. Among other things, infusions with various high-quality vital substances are an option for this, which support your body during regeneration and get you back on your feet faster.