Symptoms, Causes & Treatment
Viruses are intracellular parasites that rely on host cells to reproduce. A viral infection occurs when a virus infects human cells. The symptoms of viral infections are largely due to the immune system response to the virus, in particular the release of cytokines.
Virus’s are much more common than most of us think and are often at the root cause of many chronic disease states. Many can be very sneaky and affect the host patient for many years without being detected. Chronic viral infections such as the Epstein Barr virus continue to trigger the immune system leading to long term health complications.
Acute viral infections can strike hard and fast and management of the immune system while providing rest and nourishment are required to recover as quickly as possible.
Identification of these viruses and long term management and eradication if possible is required in these instances to truly recover from chronic disease in patients affected by chronic viral loads. Gut infections, parasites and bacterial infections can all produce similar effects on the immune system.
Common acute viral infections include:
- Common cold (rhinovirus)
- Glandular fever (Epstein-Barr virus)
- German measles (rubella virus)
- Chickenpox (varicella-zoster virus)
- Shingles (varicella-zoster virus)
- Hepatitis A
- Viral gastroenteritis
- Cold sores (herpes virus)
Causes / risk factors of Viral Infections
- Exposure to infected individuals e.g. day care, schools, work environments etc.
- Age: more common in children and elderly
- Excessive stress
- Excessive exercise
- Antibiotic use
- Gut dysbiosis / leaky gut
- Contaminated food / water
- Poor hygiene
Signs & symptoms of Viral Infections
Depend on viral infection but commonly include:
- Muscle and joint aches and pains
- Clear respiratory mucous
- Coughing / sneezing
- Red skin rash
- Sore throat
- Swollen glands
TREATMENT STRATEGY FOR VIRAL INFECTIONS
- Relieve symptoms (inflammation, fever, respiratory symptoms etc)
- Ensure methylation is functioning optimally, heavily involved in immune function
- Investigate gut function and low grade persistent gut infections
- Support immune function
- Provide antivirals herbal support
- Assess imbalance of vitamins and minerals, key in support biochemical pathways
Diet plan guidelines for Viral Infections
- Support immune system: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables, and low in sugar and processed foods
- Emphasise wholesome soups, smoothies, vegetable juices during acute phase.
- 2-3 L of filtered water daily
Supplements that support Viral Infections
- Vitamin C: immune system
- Zinc – immune support
- Vitamin A – immune support
- Vitamin E: immune support
- Probiotics: should be strain specific
Herbal medicine treatment for Viral Infections
- Immune stimulants: echinacea, andrographis, reishi/shitake mushrooms, picrorrhiza, baptisia, cat’s claw
- Antiviral: lemon balm, St John’s wort, cat’s claw, goldenseal, garlic
- Anti-Fever : andrographis, elder flower, yarrow, peppermint
- Anticatarrhal: goldenseal, eyebright, golden rod
- Expectorant: elecampane, white horehound, mullein, thyme
- Demulcent: marshmallow, licorice (marshmallow + barley water makes a soothing, demulcent drink in sore throats)
- Topical nasal spray: essential oils of eucalyptus, thyme, peppermint and lavender in saline
- Topical throat spray: echinacea, sage, myrrh, marshmallow, calendula, clove oil
FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE TREATMENT OF VIRAL INFECTIONS
Viral infections are often one of the major root causes of chronic disease.
The above considerations will assist the body in recovering quickly from acute viral attacks.
Chronic viral infections are found in many of our patients that have had a history of long term chronic illness. Many of these patients are unaware, prior to being tested at our clinic, that there is a chronic viral load driving their condition.
Through advanced testing we have uncovered multiple infections that drive disease including Lyme disease, Epstein Barr Virus, multiple gut pathogens and other related infections. Comprehensive treatment allows the patient to finally begin to heal.
A holistic approach correcting multiple imbalances with nutrient deficiencies, intestinal permeability, food intolerances and gut bacterial infections that continue to drive the chronic viral load is a must.
At our Perth clinic of Advanced Functional Medicine we assist our patients to recover from long term chronic viral loads and enable them to recover from chronic disease.
If you or a family member are suffering from a chronic viral infection or other chronic disease that hasn’t been treated effectively we would love to hear from you. What symptoms are you experiencing on a daily basis? Have you uncovered stealth infections that have caused your chronic disease? Please write a comment below.Book Appointment