While I do my best to refrain from hasty generalizations by dialoguing with someone before taking their words in the wrong direction, with this article, I have to state my annoyance. The attitude hinted at in this article deserves a momentary spotlight and response. Maybe we can chalk it up to their being French, but this sentence sums up a common attitude we see frequently: “It is more likely a postviral syndrome that requires no specific treatment, as described in Epstein-Barr virus infection.” Since I am not traveling to Paris anytime soon (or ever) to talk directly with the paper’s authors, I will share my annoyed thoughts with you.
While the world has become newly acquainted with the idea of a chronic illness being triggered by a viral infection, in functional medicine, we have been dealing with such chronic sequelae for decades. Between EBV (mono) and Lyme, not to mention several other noteworthy examples, we see patients who just have never felt right after an infection, sometimes for years. To witness a similar post viral condition with COVID 19 does not surprise us. To read the attitude in this article does surprise and irritate this functional MD.
In the midst of describing their findings concerned Long Hauler COVID including the high frequency of patients coming with symptoms to their clinics, they add this statement about it likely needs “no specific treatment”. This should infuriate anyone with post COVID symptoms or with any post viral condition as much as it infuriates me. They would minimize the experience of someone who just survived an infection that has the whole world in a panic. They minimize the “persistent symptoms, especially myalgia, intense fatigue, sensation of fever, shortness of breath, chest tightness, tachycardia, headaches and anxiety.”
While they do admit that patients with these symptoms should consult their general practitioner, they believe patients should wait 3 months before seeking help. They say this despite later saying that when they do get evaluated, they should get autoimmune markers checked to see if the virus triggered an autoimmune reaction and the condition is likely a dysautonomia (a neurological disorder, see prior posts in the series for explanation of dysautonomia). Thankfully, most other conventional doctors and Post COVID clinics appear to be starting at 4 weeks with evaluation and therapy, the idea that someone should suffer for 2 more months while effective therapies exist amazes me. In fact, I prefer to start recovery therapies and Long Hauler prevention therapies even before the infection finishes.
Okay, I feel better having ranted a little on my soapbox. Maybe someone can share this with the authors of this paper when they next travel to France. The authors should apologize to not only post COVID patients, but to all our post-EBV and post-Lyme and other post-viral patients. Functional medicine takes a different outlook on helping post-COVID patients return to a healthier more abundant life.
Davido, Benjamin et al. “Post-COVID-19 chronic symptoms: a postinfectious entity?.” Clinical microbiology and infection : the official publication of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases vol. 26,11 (2020): 1448-1449. doi:10.1016/j.cmi.2020.07.028
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.