Managing post-viral syndrome resembles an interdisciplinary challenge for health care professionals. Due to the great variety of symptoms and the lack of knowledge on the underlying pathophysiological processes, an individual, symptom-based approach is necessary.
In two previous blogs the most common symptoms of post-viral syndromes as well as the occurrence and pathology were discussed. The third part in the series will focus on the diagnosis and management of lingering symptoms after a viral infection.
Management involves a combination of therapies
Researchers still study treatments for post-viral syndromes, but for now the treatment is mostly symptom-based. Treatment involves painkillers for joint/muscle pain, medications for sleep disturbances, and stress management techniques, such as meditation, yoga, and acupuncture.
Counseling or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help manage psychological symptoms while learning to balance activity and rest can improve tiredness and other symptoms. The role of exercise in treatment is still debated as it may worsen symptoms for some people. Knowing one’s resources and Pacing-techniques for managing daily activity levels are important.
Home remedies may include sleeping around eight hours each night, taking naps during the day, getting plenty of rest and eating a balanced diet that contains large amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables while avoiding heavy and greasy foods.
Since the symptoms of Long COVID and other post-viral syndromes overlap to a great extent, the treatment recommendations for Long COVID are mostly applicable to other post-viral conditions as well. The Altea Guidebooks comprise numerous self-management tips for the most common symptoms like fatigue, cognitive impairment, sleep disturbances, pain, weakness, mental health and more.
In order to manage post-viral syndromes, they need to be diagnosed
Many types of infections, not only from viruses but also from bacteria and parasites, can lead to long-term health issues that are not well-understood or well-studied. Most of the current research focuses on well-known infections or ones that have led to outbreaks, so the full scope of these long-term health issues is still not clear.
Because of this, physicians often do not recognize these long-term symptoms, which can cause delays or gaps in treatment for patients. Moreover, many of the symptoms can also be triggered by mental health issues such as depression.
While some people suffering from post-viral syndromes might be well aware that their symptoms started after an infection, others might not. In these cases, it is especially important that physicians are trained to recognize the symptoms and help their patients.
Unfortunately, for many people suffering from long-term symptoms after an infection, the journey to diagnosis is long and marked by setbacks. They often have to consult numerous specialists before their symptoms are taken seriously.
Early diagnosis and intervention can improve the quality of life for these individuals. If someone believes they have post-viral syndrome, they should consult with a healthcare provider for an appropriate evaluation.