Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome (PVFS)
Main Signs and Symptoms
General fatigue, loss of energy, muscle aches and pains, intermittent flares of viral symptoms and inability to return to previous levels of activity. To not recognize and ignore these symptoms can worsen and prolong the ill-affects of COVID-19.
Developing Myalgic Encephalitis (ME otherwise known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome CFS).
Following SARS and Epstein Barr there was an increase of 10% of ME. ME affects 250,000 people in the UK, more than Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson’s Disease (PD) combined. Around 25% are completely bedbound.
The best approach for PVFS is to ensure:-
• frequent rests throughout the day
• good nutritional diet
• quality sleep
The hallmark of ME is post-exertional malaise (PEM) ie fever, muscle ache, headache, dizziness, sensitivities and of course fatigue. It can be triggered by simple tasks eg taking a shower. It lasts hours, days, weeks or even months.
It can even manifest itself 24-48 hours post trigger. Clinical signs:-
• post exertional malaise
• persistent fatigue
• tiredness after sleep
• muscle and joint pain
• cognitive disturbances (memory, concentration, information processing)
• sensory deficit eg photo-phobia and sound sensitivity
• orthostatic disturbances (inability to tolerate anti-gravity positions)
• ongoing flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph glands, sore throat
For the Physiotherapist treating and advising…it is most important to be aware that graduating exercises must be carried out with extreme caution.
Frontline CSP Journal Jun2020 Volume 26 Issue 6