Post Covid Syndrome

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

Updated June 18, 2021 with latest research study out of the U.K., “Brain imaging before and after COVID-19 in UK Biobank.”

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.  

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 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?

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

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’m not sure why there are such large differences in numbers. The big difference between the U.S. and other countries is the mRNA vaccines. The U.S. has the largest roll-out of the mRNA vaccine. Other countries are struggling to roll-out a vaccine or are using less effective vaccines.

There are probably other reasons for the large difference in numbers. In the United States, we tend to be a sick society. I think most of us would probably faint if we experienced excellent health. We tend to blow things off especially when it comes to our health. Could that be part of the reduced number of long-haulers?

WHO IS GETTING POST-COVID SYNDROME?

I had been getting some post-Covid syndrome patients. Not a lot of them. Western Medicine was hesitant to prescribed meds for these patients. I thought that was weird because Western Medicine prescribes medications for everything. Later in this article, I’ll highlight why Western Medicine may be hesitant at prescribing drugs. 

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.

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.   

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.

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.

WHAT CAUSES POST-VIRAL SYNDROME

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 which may be the post-viral syndrome of the 1918 flu. It appeared right after the first wave of the flu. Encephalitis lethargica was a new type of encephalitis that had not been seen before and disappeared around 1926. It attacks the brain, leaving some people in a statue-like condition, speechless and motionless.

Some studies have tried to explore the origins of encephalitis lethargica as an autoimmune response to influenza. Science has found a link between the flu and regular encephalitis. Since encephalitis can be a post-viral symptom of the flu, it seems reasonable Encephalitis lethargica could also be a post-viral syndrome to a new flu strain.

If encephalitis lethargica was a post-viral syndrome, its aftermath was damaging.  

“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.

The U.K. just published a pre-print of a study of brain scans before and after COVID-19. The study has not gone through peer review. The study found a consistent reduction in the grey matter of the brain which the study states could have long-term implications for individuals.

By using automated, objective and quantitative methods, we were able to uncover a consistent spatial pattern of loss of grey matter in limbic brain regions forming an olfactory and gustatory network. Whether these abnormal changes are the hallmark of the spread of the disease (or the virus itself) in the brain, which may prefigure a future vulnerability of the limbic system, including memory, for these patients, remains to be investigated.”

: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.06.11.21258690

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF POST-COVID SYNDROME? 

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.

The 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 appears the drugs encourage whatever this is. If the virus produced post-viral syndrome due to damage in the brain, many medications are known to harm brain function.

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. 

More Resources

How does COVID-19 affect the brain? A troubling picture emerges.