Post Covid Syndrome

What is Post-Covid Syndrome/Long Haulers & are Some People at Greater Risk?

What is going on with patients and Post-Covid Syndrome also called Long Haulers? I remember getting that horrible flu in February 2020. At that time, there was no testing or any ability to identify if the flu was Covid. Months later, it logically seems like it was Covid. But during that time, no one knew. 

ANTIDOTAL VACCINE EXPERIENCE

After my husband and I had recovered from the flu, we both had lingering symptoms. We just never made it back to our pre-flu health. My husband would get “allergies” a lot. We had to stay on top of them to make sure the allergies didn’t sink into his lungs. I was feeling fatigued, had allergies, was experiencing progressing joint pain. Our sleep was crap.

Well, then I got the Covid vaccine, and we got so much better. The really big things went away. To read more about my experience, check out my blog, “My Second COVID 19 Vaccine – the Health Improvements I Experienced.” 

But, how many people besides my husband and I got that flu and felt like they never made it back to their pre-flu health. Well, everybody in my clinic. They noticed little things. They thought they got sick easier or more often. They might have anxiety, racing heart, sleep problems, stomach issues, muscle and joint pain, chest pain. They might feel ice cold or find themselves wheezing, pressure in their head. 

Yet, the issues could be played off to something else. Because there are so many allergy complaints this year, I checked the pollen counts. You know, this year in the PNW, pollen counts are low. The counts have been running at a seven out of twelve. I’ve had years where the counts were up around nine to eleven. So, not a bad pollen year. Yet, a whole lot more “allergies.” The allergies flared up when the region I live had a surge in cases, and the area was moved back to Phase 2. At that time, almost everybody in the clinic who wasn’t vaccinated got sick. The rest of us had “allergies.” Not bad allergies. Just a weird leaking nose.

HOW MANY PEOPLE GET POST-COVID SYNDROME (LONG HAULERS)?

Well, I was on a call with a doctor out of China last week. The discussion was post-Covid syndrome. Post-Covid syndrome is where the patient still experiences weird symptoms after getting over the infection. It is also called long haulers syndrome. The current research shows that 80%-87% of all infected patients experience post-Covid syndrome to some degree.

Here in the United States, the figures are lower at 33%. I wonder if that is because of the mRNA vaccine? Pre-vaccine, everyone in my clinic who had gotten sick in February 2020 had reported not getting back to their pre-flu health. And then we got the vaccine. Pretty much everyone who got the vaccine noticed a health improvement. 

And then I wonder if it is because the patients are just blowing off the symptoms. You know, saying things like they have allergies this year. Or, saying things like their joint pain is worse because the weather has been so damp this year. 

In the United States, we tend to be a sick society. I think most of us would probably faint if we experienced excellent health. What would it feel like to not be overweight, to be active, to not have heartburn or allergies, no fatigue, no brain fog, no high blood pressure, no diabetes, no back pain, no arthritis, no medications? The list goes on and on. 

So, I think the reduced numbers for post-Covid syndrome in the United States may come from a couple of areas. First, the mRNA vaccine, especially the Moderna, seems to help some people with post-Covid symptoms. Not everyone. Second, we have a fantastic ability to discredit our health concerns and blame something else like allergies. That means I believe in the higher numbers for the post-Covid syndrome.

WHO IS GETTING POST-COVID SYNDROME?

Here is why I bring up this conversation. I had been getting some post-Covid syndrome patients. Not a lot of them. They would come in with some bizarre thing happening. They would have gone through all sorts of Western medical tests, and everything came back normal. So, they ran out of Western medical options. I was surprised to hear that Western Medicine was hesitant to prescribed meds for these patients. I thought that was weird because Western Medicine prescribes medications for everything. But, later in this article, I’ll highlight why Western Medicine may be hesitant at prescribing drugs. 

So, with no options, these patients would show up at my door. It’s not easy to treat. Every one of them is different, which makes treating this a bit scary. It takes some time, a lot more time than most people want to spend. But, probably 80% of them are getting better with Chinese Medicine, which is better than the 0% with Western Medicine. Some of them are feeling good enough to stop treatment.

Either way, the infection rate in the U.S. has dropped from over 200,000 new infections in January to about 20,000. So, 1/10th of the January 2021 infections. The death rate is 1/3rd of what it was at the beginning of the year. Everyone is feeling cozy and comfy, including me, even though these rates are still pretty high.

I had written Covid-19 off and was moving on. I pretty much didn’t think I’d see much more of that nonsense. And what a nightmare of nonsense it’s been. It’s challenging to treat, and being that I hold myself to such high standards, it has been very stressful for me.  

And then last week happened, and people started showing up in the office with weird symptoms. Most of them were unvaccinated. One was vaccinated. Not that being unvaccinated is a problem. I’m sharing what I see…antidotal information. I’ve only had one vaccinated client in the clinic with crazy symptoms, and they had a very mild case of Covid followed by a severe, rapidly progressing post-Covid syndrome. Due to the delay in the vaccine roll-out, the symptoms were advanced when they received the vaccine.  

I have a high vaccinated client percentage. About 75% of my clients are vaccinated. Not one of them has shown up with weird symptoms to treat. Pre-vaccination, most of them had that February 2020 flu and were coming in for fatigue, allergies, and stuff. Post vaccine, many of them I haven’t seen. 

That is why I think the vaccine, especially the Moderna vaccine, might positively impact long haulers or post-Covid syndrome. 

WHEN DO PEOPLE EXPERIENCE POST-COVID SYNDROME?

Using inhaler

Now here is the thing with post-Covid syndrome. It doesn’t have to happen right away. It’s not unusual that it waits for months to show up. In the meeting with the doctors from China, they suggested eight months. It could take as long as eight months. I have one client who had mild Covid and had been fine for months. Seven months later, they started experiencing heart issues, wheezing, shortness of breath.

But we don’t know, right? Remember the movie Awakenings with Robin Williams playing the doctor who used the drug L-Dopa to revive the patients. Here is what captured my attention with the movie, the patients were survivors of the 1918 Encephalitis lethargica. Encephalitis lethargica is not typical encephalitis. It attacks the brain, leaving some people in a statue-like condition, speechless and motionless. Encephalitis lethargica came after the first wave of the 1918 flu pandemic. 

What bothered me is the cause of encephalitis lethargica is unknown. Some studies have explored its origins in an autoimmune response or an immune response from a viral or bacterial infection like influenza. There is a clear link between the flu and regular encephalitis. Like there is a link between a viral infection and bells palsy. Right now science thinks everything for encephalitis lethargica is inconclusive just highly suspect, right? Because it came right after the first wave of the 1918 flu, stayed around until 1926, and disappeared after that. 

Here is the other thing that has bothered me about encephalitis lethargica. Scientists were studying its origin as an autoimmune response. Well, can post-Covid syndrome be an autoimmune response?

There is another piece of this that bothered me. The aftermath of encephalitis lethargica. 

“Many surviving patients of the 1915–1926 pandemic seemed to make a complete recovery and return to their normal lives. However, most survivors subsequently developed neurological or psychiatric disorders, often after years or decades of seemingly perfect health. Post-encephalitic syndromes varied widely: sometimes they proceeded rapidly, leading to profound disability or death; sometimes very slowly; sometimes they progressed to a certain point and then stayed at this point for years or decades; and sometimes, following their initial onslaught, they remitted and disappeared.”

Oliver Sacks, Awakenings

Post Covid Syndrome/Long Haulers

Felix Stern was a German neurologist who examined the encephalitis lethargica patients during the 1920s. He documented that encephalitis lethargica became worse with time. The early symptoms would be either sleepiness or being wide awake. Later, the disease would progress to a prolonged, involuntary upward deviation of the eyes. The third phase started with a recovery, later followed by Parkinson-like symptoms.

So, here’s the thing, science indicates that post-Covid syndrome can show up eight months later. We’ve only had a year with Covid. So, who knows and who knows where it ends.

From an antidotal perspective, what am I seeing in common? The majority are not vaccinated. I had one who did vaccinate after showing post-covid syndrome also known as long haulers. Many showing symptoms report a mild case of the flu or Covid.  

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF POST-COVID SYNDROME?

The second part is post-Covid syndrome seems to get worse over time. 

There is a pre-print study of over 3,700 patients who were sick for more than four weeks. The results were published at the end of December 2020, updated in April 2021 and are waiting for peer review. The study identified over 205 symptoms patients experience post-Covid. 

POST-VIRAL SYNDROME MORE COMMON THAN YOU THINK

Post-Covid Syndrome is a “post-viral syndrome.” A post-viral syndrome is where a person experiences symptoms long after the original viral infection has gone.

I didn’t know post-viral syndromes are fairly common with viruses. Not only did we experience a post-viral syndrome with the Flu of 1918, but we can also experience it today with recovery from strep throat turning into rheumatic fever. Or fatigue and other symptoms after Epstein-Barr, Zika, West Nile, Dengue, and other viruses.

Post-viral syndrome is not studied in Western Medicine. That means it is not well understood. With this Post-Covid Syndrome, the Western medical labs and tests are coming back normal. No issues. But, the person is sick. And when the doctors do try to prescribe medications, the medications don’t work. Sometimes it seems like the drugs encourage whatever this is.

TREATING POST-COVID SYNDROME WITH CHINESE MEDICINE 

The bottom line is this is all information. We don’t know anything right now. All we have is history and supposition. What we do know is post-Covid syndrome is real. Post-Covid syndrome is a type of post-viral syndrome and post-viral syndromes are not studied in Western Medicine. It’s not unusual for the patient to come back with clean labs. Everything can seem normal for a long-time, and then it shows up. In the clinic, I’m noticing that Chinese herbs can help. It’s a little bit tricky to treat because, just like in Western Medicine, where nothing shows up on the labs, in Chinese Medicine, you have to think beyond Traditional Chinese Medicine and really go into your theory on cold pathogens. If you don’t, you’ll usually treat the wrong thing, and they won’t get better.