What is "Long COVID"?
Updated: Mar 16
Whether it was a car accident, falling off a ladder, an infection of any kind, a difficult operation, an adverse reaction to a drug, or excessive exertion such as running an ultra-marathon and blowing up doing it, any of these events can knock the stuffing out of a person, such that they may never fully recover. COVID-19 is no different. If a person gets a bad dose of it, then this can have lasting health effects that may linger for months or even years. My argument is there is no reason we should single out this one virus for special attention while ignoring the larger picture of what can cause chronic ill health, such as chronic fatigue.
Those struggling with Long COVID are a concern and we must not ignore their plight, but spare a thought for the countless thousands of people who are facing similar struggles. What are we doing for the thousands of men and women who suffer extreme fatigue that persists for years and even decades after cancer treatment?
Did you know that New Zealand is in the grips, right now, of an epidemic of Glandular Fever, caused by the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)? Thousands of young New Zealanders are struggling with "Post-Viral Fatigue" and nothing is being done for them. Almost everyone will know of at least one person in their extended family who suffers the long-term effects of this infection. Where is the rush to develop a vaccine for EBV? Where are the lock-downs for this disease that infects at least 90% of the population and harms countless thousands of young people?
Post-Viral Fatigue sounds very much like Long COVID, as does the fatigue following cancer treatment, or being smashed in a car crash.
A young, well-nourished, fit, rested person who is not immune-compromised by medications such as for asthma or blood pressure has little to fear from COVID-19. Crossing the road is more likely to kill them than the virus. However, many apparently healthy people are actually far from healthy. We have all heard of the scary tales of the super-fit gym-goer who caught COVID-19 and either died, or suffered "Long COVID". These stories are long on whipping up fear and hysteria while short on detail. Some of the most unhealthy people I have ever met were elite athletes. It is wrong to equate super-fitness with good health. Consider these things which can weaken an apparently healthy person's immune system:
Many very fit people are extremely vitamin D deficient, especially those who exercise mostly indoors.
People who exercise hard and often have increased needs for immune-supportive minerals such as magnesium, manganese, zinc and selenium.
Hard, exhausting exercise has an immediate suppressive effect on the immune system.
An athlete may be on a diet depleted of key nutrients such as the immune-supportive fat-soluble vitamins while high in immune-compromising grains and sugars.
Stimulants of a wide variety, steroids and other substances for boosting performance, body-building, for the "body-beautiful" and for fat-loss are in widespread use. These weaken the immune system.
An acquaintance, once a very fit athlete, now my age wrote: "Health wise I am as good as can be expected for our age group". There is the widespread belief that old age and ill health are synonymous. This is wrong. Old age and ill-health are separate entities. I have assisted thousands of ageing people enjoy healthy, disease-free retirements. There are some very healthy octogenarians out there. They have little to fear from COVID-19. One can be old and still have a robust immune system - an immune system primed to great efficiency by a lifetime of exposure to every bug imaginable. It is possible to live a long, healthy and productive, drug-free life, eventually to die peacefully in one's sleep.
Did you know that one of the best things we can all do to ensure good health for life, is to commune regularly with Mother Nature. Turn off the computer, get out of the gym and immerse yourself in Nature. Get fresh air into your lungs and sun on your body and eat wholesome food that has not grown with the aid of chemicals. If we all were to invest in our health, there would be no need for lockdowns, social-distancing and toxic disinfectants. There are no "Good-Health" drugs. Good health is over to each of us (and don't forget your children!).