What Is A Post-viral Syndrome?
Post-viral syndrome, also known as post-viral fatigue, refers to lingering feelings of tiredness and weakness after a person fights off a viral infection. This condition can occur even after common infections, such as the flu.
Post-viral Syndrome Symptoms
The major symptom of post-viral syndrome is fatigue. The significant lack of energy creates the feeling of exhaustion, even with plenty of sleep and rest.
Other symptoms of the post-viral syndrome that vary from person to person include;
- Trouble with concentration or memory problems
- A sore throat
- Swelling of lymph nodes
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain or stiffness
Other warning signs include increased heartbeat, fainting, feeling cold, and post-viral syndrome numbness.
Causes Of The Post-viral Syndrome
Post-viral fatigue is triggered by a viral infection. There is another condition similar to the post-viral syndrome called chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) that causes extreme tiredness with no known cause, while post-viral fatigue has a specific cause, a viral infection.
Almost any viral infection can cause post-viral syndrome. A few examples include;
- Common cold
- Epstein-Barr virus
Scientists are not sure why some viruses lead to the post-viral syndrome, but they believe it may be because of;
- An unusual reaction to the virus itself that remains latent within the body
- Virus overloading the immune system that causes reactions that trigger the symptoms
- Increased levels of proinflammatory cytokines, which induce an inflammatory response
- inflammation of the nervous tissue
The response of the immune system to the virus causes stress and inflammation in the body that often leave people feeling fatigued.
How Long Post-viral Syndrome Lasts?
The post-viral syndrome may last for a few weeks or months and may vary from person to person. Some people can get back to normal daily activities within 1-2 months, while it can take a few years in some cases.
Studies report a better recovery rate in people with early diagnosis and a lower recovery rate in people who have had the condition for a longer period.
Treatment For Post-viral Syndrome
As scientists are not clear why post-viral syndrome happens, there are no clear treatments available. Instead, treatment aims at managing the symptoms that often include using over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen to help with lingering pain, if any.
In some cases, treatment may not be required at all. Managing the symptoms by following a few home remedies until they feel better is enough.
Natural Remedies For Post-viral Syndrome
Few lifestyle tips support the body as it works through post-viral syndrome and reduces the recovery time. The home remedies are;
- Getting 7–9 hours of sleep each night
- Getting plenty of rest
- Taking frequent naps throughout the day and resting in between activities
- Simplifying work and conserving energy
- Drinking plenty of water
- Engaging in light exercise during the day
- Using a calendar to help with concentration or memory problems
- Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet containing fresh fruits and vegetables and anti-inflammatory foods
- Avoiding fried and fast foods that are heavy and greasy
Few people may feel more rested with stress reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, and acupuncture. Massage may also help relax the body and cope with muscle pain.
If the symptoms persist for more than a few weeks after recovering from the viral infection and the symptoms are not relieved with natural remedies, one should consider consulting a doctor.
Vasavi Attada specializes in creating content for Medical/healthcare domain. She has written articles for Indian Health Organization (IHO), American Diabetes Association, and for magazines such as India Today and Dignity Dialogue.
Vasavi Attada holds a Master’s degree in Microbiology from Bangalore University.