Viruses, like people, come in all shapes and sizes. Some viral infections are caught quickly and resolve quickly, such as those that typically do the rounds of work, school or daycare before everyone recovers within a week or two. Most of the time, the viruses responsible for these infections are quick-acting and resolving gastro or common cold virus.
Other viral infections can have a harsher onset and cause longer-term issues for the sufferer. They may cause a more protracted initial infection, and leave behind residual symptoms, in some cases causing symptoms and immune disturbances long after the sufferer has fought off the initial infection. Two such viruses are Ross River fever and Glandular fever.
Immune system recovery from Ross River Fever & Glandular Fever
Ross River fever is a mosquito-borne virus, common and widespread in northern Australia during the wet season. Following infection, joint pain is the most common symptom that occurs, followed by a rash, fever, muscle pain (known as myalgia) and fatigue[2, 3]. Symptoms typically last for about 6 months before resolving, however, some people can experience symptoms from months to years, with the virus causing up to 4800 deaths annually in Australia. Along with these key symptoms, another action of the Ross River virus involves a disarming of the body’s immune responses, causing an increased likelihood that the sufferer may experience poor responses to other viral invaders.
Glandular fever (also known by the medical name Infectious mononucleosis) is a viral infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Following infection (typically through kissing, as the spread of the virus occurs through the saliva), sufferers experience infected lymph glands (causing a sore throat with swollen glands) and fatigue.
Natural Support for the viral patient
Naturopathic care for the viral patient involves supporting the immune system to recover from infection with nutritional interventions and herbal medicines to encourage recovery.
Nutritional interventions for viral patients
- Zinc – the fight against an acute or protracted viral infection needs zinc in order to support the development of healthy white blood cells – the key driver of a healthy immune system.
- Vitamin C – supportive for mounting a healthy immune response, as well as a key collagen forming nutrient, necessary for a healthy upper respiratory tract, Vitamin C has been shown to reduce the severity and duration of viral infections.
Herbal Medicines for viral patients
- Immune recovery herb Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) – Astragalus is traditionally used to assist the body in resolving prolonged viral infection symptoms such as a persistent cough, post-viral susceptibility to new infections and post-viral fatigue. Astragalus assists the immune system in its resolution of symptoms and bolsters the immune systems against infection with a new virus in times of post-viral low immunity times that sometimes follow serious viral infections. Must be taken after acute viral infection is over, as the use of Astragalus is contraindicated in the presence of fever.
- Immune support herb Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia radix)- known for its anti-viral and immune supportive benefits, Echinacea assists in reducing the severity and duration of viral symptoms, whilst also supporting the development of healthy new immune cells.
- Lymphatic recovery herbs Poke (Phytolacca decandra), Calendula (Calendula officinalis) & Golden Seal (Hydrastas canadensis) – traditionally used when lymph glands are swollen as a result of a viral or other inflammatory or systemic condition, lymphatic herbs assist lymph glands in fighting infections.
- Liver support herb Bupleurum (Bupleurum falcatum), for recovery from EBV – known for it’s effects on the liver, EBV sufferers often develop liver symptoms such as hepatitis (inflammation of the liver). Bupleurum works to support liver recovery from EBV.
- Energy support herbs for post-viral recovery including Withania (Withania somnifera) & Oat straw (Avena sativa) – gentle, supportive energy and nervous system tonics assist in restoring energy to sufferers of post-viral fatigue.
Our Immune Recovery Programme includes an initial health assessment, where a member of our professional naturopathic team will review your current health to give you a personalised programme aimed at providing metabolic matching, digestive health assessment & dietary planning.