What is Post Viral Fatigue?
Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome is diagnosed when a person fails to recover from a virus and is left with malaise, often still feeling as if they have remnants of the virus even though it has passed from the body. The body may have muscle ache, pains, nausea and feel too exhausted to do anything- just as it was when it had the flu/ virus.
Who gets Post Viral Fatigue?
Anyone can get Post Viral Fatigue.
In my experience, people who suffer from post viral fatigue are those who are extremely active, who do not give themselves permission to take time off from other responsibilities to recover from the virus or who feel they can’t ( “ I HAVE TO do my exams”, “ I can’t afford to take time off work” ). They may have had many challenges to deal with at the time of getting the virus and so their reserves were stretched and limited. These people are also likely to find it difficult to accept the post viral fatigue and may become frustrated, upset, worried and distressed about the symptoms and inability to function.
Fatigue often happens when a person has been “run down” at the time of the virus or pushing themselves to keep going when they had the virus rather than giving into it completely.
Many people notice that in hindsight, they have been affected by a virus post malaise regularly after “getting a virus”, sometimes for years before it became really debilitating and others can be “knocked out” by one very powerful virus such as Glandular Fever or Lyme’s Disease.
Why is the Body Stuck in Post Viral Fatigue?
The body perceives the virus as a foreign body which it needed, quite rightly, to attack. The Immune System sends out an army of chemicals to attack the intruding virus and protect the body from harm and then once the job is done, a second round of chemicals should kick in, instructing the army to retreat. Unfortunately, the evidence suggests that the 1st round of attacking chemicals don’t retreat and continue to fight the invader. This battle continues, maintaining the symptoms and exhausting the body. The body goes into over-protective mode and tries to shut down the system. This can then establish as a habit and run as the normal default mode, so the person is trying to do everything with a system that isn’t functioning and becoming even more exhausted.
What happens if it continues?
When the malaise continues for more than 3 months or 6 months, depending on the physician, the condition is usually reclassified as “ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”.