Whenever we get ill due to a viral infection, we are most likely to feel fatigued and would spend a week or two in bed for recovery. The feeling is quite frustrating but after full recovery, things often get back to normal.
However, for some people, a viral infection can lead to some life-changing impacts. It may lead to months, years, or maybe a lifetime of draining symptoms. Hence, their quality of life reduces over time. Such symptoms are termed the “post-viral fatigue syndrome” and are often reported by sufferers of various viral conditions, such as glandular fever, influenza, COVID-19, and SARS.
Symptoms of Post-Viral Fatigue
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), post-viral fatigue syndrome has been classified under the category of the “diseases of the nervous system.” This particular condition is considered a complicated health condition, which is recognized by long-term tiredness followed by many other symptoms. All these symptoms can disrupt one’s everyday activities and impact their normal life.
Some other symptoms experienced along with extreme fatigue are sore throat, body pain, muscle ache, gastric upsets, blood pressure changes, sleep disturbances, headaches, dizziness, and depression. Even extreme neurological symptoms may also occur and such symptoms include allergic reactions or sensitivities, prickling sensations in the limbs, etc. Some COVID-19 patients have also reported suffering from prolonged loss of taste and smell even after recovery.
In worse cases, these symptoms may instantly lead to reduced mental and physical activities. Such symptoms are similar to chronic fatigue syndrome (also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)). That’s why WHO puts all these conditions under the same classification of neurological disorders.
10 Proven Ways to Overcome Post-Viral Fatigue & Get Back to Life
So, what can you do after long-suffering from post-infectious fatigue? While there is no specific medication for this condition, you need to practice the following things to overcome this fatigue and improve the quality of your life.
1. Exercise regularly
Exercise may be the last thing on your mind when feeling tired. But regular exercise can pump up your energy levels instantly. You can begin with a short walk and gradually build up the frequency and intensity of your walk.
Also, try some relaxation exercises, like yoga or meditation. Or simply consider visiting a spa to alleviate muscular pain and improve muscle function.
2. Follow a proper sleep pattern
When you go to bed at the same time every night, you’ll also wake up at the same time in the morning. This routine is good to help your body to sleep better and do everyday tasks on time without unnecessary delay. Also, consider power napping during the day for 10-15 minutes to re-energize your body if it gets tired while completing a specific task.
3. Follow the measured breathing technique
The measured breathing technique has many benefits, like increased energy levels, reduced stress, and better body functioning. Therefore, you need to add this to your routine for improving your health.
To start with, stay quiet for a while and breathe in this specific pattern – four seconds in, six seconds out, and then hold your breath for one second. And, repeat. You can also follow any other breathing pattern as per your choice.
4.Sing, gargle, or hum
This may sound stupid. But when you sing, hum, or even gargle, you are likely to reduce your stress, fatigue, and anxiety. Your body has a long vagus nerve that runs from your brain and goes all the way down to your neck, chest, and abdominal area. This nerve helps in connecting your brain with your body.
When you sing, hum, or gargle, your parasympathetic nervous system stimulates and further helps you in feeling relaxed and less fatigued.
5. Have a healthy balanced diet
Include healthy balanced food into your diet while drinking plenty of water every day. This will help you to avoid unhealthy foods, like processed food, and excessive sugar intake. If you have any digestive issues, having a healthy diet can lead to better metabolism and reduce fatigue.
6. Talk to somebody
Talk to your family or friends, or a professional therapist about your mental health. This is really helpful when you are feeling fatigued or depressed. When you talk to someone, you acknowledge these feelings and slowly find the right ways to improve them. You can also try some mental health apps that have become quite popular after the COVID-19 pandemic.
7. Have magnesium supplements
Do you suffer from migraines? As per considerable evidence, magnesium supplements can help you manage this particular condition. It’s not tested for long haulers, however, some studies say that patients have reported a reduction in migraines after magnesium intake. It is best to talk to your healthcare provider before consuming this supplement.
8. Understand you have both good and bad days
You need to accept the fact that everyone faces good days and bad days. And, fatigue and related symptoms are just a phase that would also pass like other times in your life. When you realize this, the path to recovery would seem much easier.
9. Conserve your energy
Whether at home or work, do tasks that need more energy whenever you’re feeling energetic yourself. If not, try easier tasks and conserve your energy. This way, you won’t feel tired easily.
10. Keep a fatigue diary
With the help of a diary, you can easily monitor your feelings over time. It can also help you identify the triggers that increase fatigue levels in your everyday routine. Your diary can even help your healthcare professional to find the right treatment options for you.
It’s quite frustrating to deal with post-infectious/viral fatigue. But when you take the right measures as given above, you are likely to get better with time. Also, consider joining a healthcare program to help you recover from persistent fatigue symptoms. For this, look for a professional team to discuss your specific condition.