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Chronic virus

ZingzangZingzang Posts: 196
edited January 2014 in Training, fitness and health
In January I contracted what appeared to be a normal, if heavy cold virus. It never went away and now over three months later I still have the symptoms (sore throat, runny nose, aches) and am hardly able to ride my bike, let alone train or race. A blood test has not shown an abnormal white blood cell count or any specific infection, and my GP is unable to suggest a diagnosis or treatment.
Has anyone else got any experience of chronic viruses like this, or can anyone suggest a way of maximising the chances of recovery? Last year I was as fit as a fiddle and did around thirty time trials with some good results. This year I am a gibbering wreck with no prospect of a return to fitness any time soon.

Posts

  • simonheadsimonhead Posts: 1,399
    My mother in law works at the royal Marsden, she often sees patients post treatment with a low white blood cell count, this is predominantly caused by the treatment but stress and diet are a factor as well. Best thing you can do is ensure you are eating correctly, lots of veg and cut out sugar and fat. Massage to relieve stress and try and do some basic exercise even if it's a little stretching. There is no miracle cure but following the right diet, relieving stress symptoms and their cause and a little core exercise will certainly help.
    Life isnt like a box of chocolates, its like a bag of pic n mix.
  • team47bteam47b Posts: 6,424
    You could try 30mg zinc tablets, one a day, this may help combat a virus.

    Quite common for a virus to last a couple of months, normally you loose the symptoms so think it's gone then you over exercise and bring it back.

    Gentle exercise only. Eat well.

    I've had one for about a year, as a diabetic with a [email protected] immune system I get everything going and for longer, my advice is based on what I have been told by my doctor.
    my isetta is a 300cc bike
  • cyco2cyco2 Posts: 593
    Sorry to here about your viral problem. Some time ago I heard that the one thing viruses do not like is heat. Sometimes it's worked for me to have a good soak in a really hot bath. At the first signs of a cold a mate of mine would get a good sweat on playing Badminton. Also doctors are always saying keep warm when you have a virus (cold or flu). But I reckon it would be better to get hot. If you do have a soak let me know how you get on.
    ...................................................................................................

    If you want to be a strong rider you have to do strong things.
    However if you train like a cart horse you'll race like one.
  • ozzy1000_0ozzy1000_0 Posts: 144
    rest rest rest.... its not uncommon for post viral fatigue to lead to chronic fatigue syndrome.. which is not dissimilar to overtraining and would lead to not cycling for a long time.. so eat well, sleep a lot, very gentle exercise at most until you start to feel better. investing in recovery now, could save you bigger problems later. a very good friend of my is an Olympic coach. he had glandular fever last year and tried to carry on working, driving all over the country daily and flying abroad to train with people etc... he just burnt out and basically had to have 3months in bed... (he should know better!!) another friend of mine had a very similar story, kept working, young kids etc... it took him about 6-8months before he stopped looking grey... so be kind to yourself and get better properly, cycling fitness will come back quick enough when you're ready...


    all the best, O

    P.S. if you have spare money how about filling your freezer with boxes of frozen fruit from tescos, raspberries ect, then buy some of this www.neovite.com and some natural yoghurt. then have a massive colostrum and fruit smoothie everymorning, its goto help..right? :)
  • SetarkosSetarkos Posts: 239
    simonhead wrote:
    cut out sugar and fat

    What's wrong with fat?

    I'd recommend the opposite (depending on how your diet looks like at the moment) shift from carbs/sugars to "good" fats, such as vegetable oils, oily fish, nuts, avocados, linseed oil and argan oil - keeping your overall calorie intake constant.
    ozzy1000_0 wrote:
    rest rest rest.... its not uncommon for post viral fatigue to lead to chronic fatigue syndrome.. which is not dissimilar to overtraining and would lead to not cycling for a long time.. so eat well, sleep a lot, very gentle exercise at most until you start to feel better. investing in recovery now, could save you bigger problems later. a very good friend of my is an Olympic coach. he had glandular fever last year and tried to carry on working, driving all over the country daily and flying abroad to train with people etc... he just burnt out and basically had to have 3months in bed... (he should know better!!) another friend of mine had a very similar story, kept working, young kids etc... it took him about 6-8months before he stopped looking grey... so be kind to yourself and get better properly, cycling fitness will come back quick enough when you're ready...

    +1

    Don't underestimate the physiological effect every-day stress from work, family etc. has on you.
  • glasgowbhoyglasgowbhoy Posts: 1,341
    All good advice above. I'm in week 3 of a viral infection that attacked me after a race.
    Must have been run down and with two kids under 4 I'm susceptible to everything they get anyway.
    The viral thing hit hard with fever and chills but was gone again in 48 hours leaving me quite drained and tired
    Things were better and I returned to moderate training, Almost a week later the same pattern but my lymph glands in my neck were really tender and swollen by then
    Been to the docs and had blood taken. Should get results on Monday. Gave me an anti bacterial for the glands and over the last 3 days it feels like my immune system has started to get on top of things with all the rest I've had.
    Today I did some gardening, sat in the sunshine ( that's been great) and went out for 90 mins on the bike keeping it
    Steady.
    As above ill be listening carefully to my body. I check my resting HR every morning to make sure my heart isn't already working hard to fight something, I take soluble zinc and vit c supplements along with multi vits, have been eating lots more fruit and veg, soups and smoothies and home cooked dinners.
    I'm hopeful that its not GF and I can return to a bit more volume next week and hopefully be racing
    Again soon.
    Good luck and I can appreciate your frustration and the feeling of depression especially when you
    Think you have done everything you can to stay healthy ( I've not had a booze since December) and get your training right.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,027
    Setarkos wrote:
    simonhead wrote:
    cut out sugar and fat


    I'd recommend the opposite (depending on how your diet looks like at the moment) shift from carbs/sugars to "good" fats, such as vegetable oils, oily fish, nuts, avocados, linseed oil and argan oil - keeping your overall calorie intake constant.
    u.

    hmmm , I'd keep linseed for cricket bats and oak furniture and argan oil for Moroccans who want to have hair slicked back Rudolf Valentino style..
    for us Brits has to be cold pressed rapeseed oil.. can eat raw and cook with it.!! Some of these other oils you have to be very careful!
    Flax oil do NOT cook with it
  • SetarkosSetarkos Posts: 239
    If you want to eat healthy, go with extra virgin olive oil, linseed oil, and argan oil (true not cooked but eg. on salads) and NOT with rapeseed oil - especially not cooked. If you get it from a good source, cold pressed rapeseed oil is good but not if you heat it up! But in general rapeseed oil production is much more industrialised than that of eg. linseed and argan oil.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,027
    Setarkos wrote:
    If you want to eat healthy, go with extra virgin olive oil, linseed oil, and argan oil (true not cooked but eg. on salads) and NOT with rapeseed oil - especially not cooked. If you get it from a good source, cold pressed rapeseed oil is good but not if you heat it up! But in general rapeseed oil production is much more industrialised than that of eg. linseed and argan oil.

    oh dear, you will upset just a few organic rapeseed oil producers, especially those in Staffs buddy boy! :wink:


    It is GOOD for hi temp cooking!
  • SetarkosSetarkos Posts: 239
    Indeed I have never played that obscure "sport" :)

    Rapeseed oil was originally produced as a lubricant for big machines... In both cases normally production is different for consumation and other uses so that's hardly an argument.
    If you put perfectly edible linseed oil on you cricket bat it's not the oil's fault, is it? ;)

    Anyway, expert's opinion on these matters change bimonthly and I don't consider myself to be an expert in nutrition myself so I'm going to shut up after this and restrain myself to comments about training/racing (also because it's a bit OT).
    For cooking I do use rapeseed oil myself because it is much more heat resistant than eg. linseed, argan, and olive oil. Great for frying stuff!
    But rapeseed oil being healthy is a trend put forward by the industry. Especially when you heat it up, most of the unsaturated fatty acids are oxidised and the health benefits are gone (same counts for linseed and argan - olive oil can become a bit warmer but not hot). If it is from a reliable source and cold pressed and you put it on your salat, you're right.
    I mention linseed oil because it is very good for digestion and is (similarly to rapeseed oil) rich in omega-3 fatty acids but production tends to be more trustworthy because it is produced in much lower quantities.

    And of course, as with everything, it's always a question of quantity - too much of anything is never good.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,027
    I am with you with this essentially, I think we are storing up problems with this low fat emphasis that is always promoted as being 'healthy' on food packaging and et al.
    Of course you have to do the homework on the good oils and fats...
    Back to the OP suffering from the after-effects of an infection... any chance of a second medical opinion?
  • ZingzangZingzang Posts: 196
    Many thanks for the replies. They’re all appreciated.

    I’ve got to be frank and say it’s not the first time I’ve had something like this. I got something similar over twenty years ago, after first taking up cycle sport following a road accident. I’d been actively training and racing for about two and a half years, when I went down with a viral infection that wiped me off the competitive map and took approximately three years to recover from (i.e. to the point where I could ride my bike again at anything approaching race intensity, even for short periods).

    On that occasion I got it all wrong, going out panning myself before I’d had the chance to build up immunity to the virus and not paying enough attention to how I felt - which was not much short of dreadful most of the time. In my defence, things were not very scientific in those days and there were no forums for a start where you could find good advice. In any case I put the illness down to the road accident I’d had, which had landed me in Intensive Care for a spell with all sorts of problems including permanent brachial plexus paralysis on my right side (I’ve been UCI assessed and have a licence to race in the relevant paracycling category).

    After a long time doing no serious training or racing I took the sport up again in 2010 and, spookily, went down with this virus exactly two and a half years later (I'd had an average of about one cold a year in that time). I’m managing things more sensibly this time around, but it’s getting tedious feeling run over day after day with no noticeable change in the cold-like symptoms. My work (I’m self-employed) has taken a big knock, and it needs a lot of effort just to do things round the house.

    I don’t know what possible diagnoses can be made apart from a virus or post-viral fatigue. One thing I do know is that there is absolutely no psychological component to this illness (my GP had tried to steer me round to the idea that it might be partly depression causing the symptoms). As far as I'm concerned it’s a physical illness plain and simple, and it’s a bit frustrating when medical science, being unable to suggest the cause or a remedy, starts looking inside your head for answers. Mind you if I've still got this thing in three years time, they may very well need to start looking inside my head, because there's a chance it'll have sent me bananas by then.
  • SetarkosSetarkos Posts: 239
    Mononucleosis is always a possibility... or thyroid issues...

    (I'm not a doctor)

    Edit: Having asked a few nutritionist regarding the oil issue:
    - if you use it for cooking (esp. frying) rapeseed is preferable (sunflower seed probably second best) because it is the most heat resistant oil and thus produces the least amount of trans fat
    - however linseed oil (and also hemp oil) have a much more omega-3 fatty acid - linseed oil is special because it is one of very few natural products that has more omega-3 than omega-6, given the fact that a ratio of 1:1 is recommended and that a average European diet is roughly 1:15 (omega-3:omega-6) linseed oil can help balance that, you shouldn't heat it though or eat it in excess, a bit on the salad though is good.
  • Hollow-legsHollow-legs Posts: 142
    There are some nasty viruses going hanging about ,i actually think there is a super bug lingering around at my work place,,it cycles from one person to another every 3-4 months...same sypmtons evey time!

    I would say rest rest,sleep.sleep, eat well ,,,take a zinc supplements as already mentioned and good omega oils, i personally use UDOS CHOICE OIL ....i swallow 2 tablespoons a day ...

    http://www.udoschoice.co.uk/

    Gentle excercise ,,depression can have an influence as well ...?
  • ut_och_cyklaut_och_cykla Posts: 1,594
    Just an idea - borrellia? GIves all kinds of weird shifting & long lasting symptoms and doesn't always show up in blood tests ( I had it 1996 - awful. ended up with heart problems having started as flu like illness)
  • SetarkosSetarkos Posts: 239
    You might just have caught two successive infections...
  • ZingzangZingzang Posts: 196
    Thanks again for the replies.

    I think the blood test more or less ruled out Glandular fever (Mononucleosis?). Borrellia (Lyme disease) is not impossible, I suppose, but I’ve not had certain symptoms that I believe are associated with that, such as an initial swelling at the point of infection.

    I’d say I’ve definitely not caught two successive cold-viruses. The symptoms I’ve got have remained basically the same throughout, and there’s been nothing approaching a recovery so far.

    I’ve been eating healthily, including good fats, adequate protein and plenty of fruit and veg. I’ve also been taking Vit C, Zinc and Echinacea regularly, as well as L-Glutamine and Ginseng more sporadically. I’ve not tried the colostrum, but I’ll definitely give it a go.

    I’ve got to say that so far the only thing that consistently seems to alleviate the symptoms is doing as little physical activity as possible. I haven’t ridden my bike on the road for two months, and half an hour on the turbo at level 1 is about all I can manage without an escalation of the symptoms over the following days, the most debilitating of which is weakness/fatigue of the kind you get when you're down with a heavy cold.

    My GP told me to come and see him again in June. If I'm still like this then, is there anything specifically I should be asking him for in terms of tests, treatment or referrals? The condition isn't life-threatening, so I suppose the NHS doesn't want to throw resources at it, but it's having a big impact on my daily life and the choices open to me.
  • SetarkosSetarkos Posts: 239
    I know a guy who was suffering from chronic fatigue (not really cold symptoms though) and it turned out to be caused by thyroid issues if you haven't had that checked yet.
    Maybe get a second opinion if you GP doesn't seem to have an idea...
  • ZingzangZingzang Posts: 196
    I thought it might be time to give an update, not least so that people out there who have setbacks to their training lasting only a few weeks or months might see the other side.

    I've still got the "virus" I went down with twelve months ago. After being treated in the summer for airway reflux, which I didn't have, a blood test recently showed that I've got a primary immune deficiency. This may partly explain why I've had a permanent sore throat since January 2013, have felt like sh*te all this time, and have only managed to ride my bike twice now in nearly a year. My work (self-employed) has had to be cut back to next-to-nothing, I rarely go out socially, and it's difficult to see a way forward unless I can get my health back.

    After being wrongly referred (again) by my GP approximately 3 months ago, I'm now waiting for an appointment with an endocrinologist, who I'm told is going to do more blood tests in an attempt to get to the bottom of my condition; the immune deficiency is apparently not enough in itself to account for all of my symptoms.

    In the meantime I'm looking at my second consecutive season out of action, with no prospect of coming back until I can start training again, which you might think is a simple thing you'd take for granted but for me has been out of reach for so long now that I'm doubtful whether it's ever going to happen again.

    If being fit and active is important to you, and more specifically being able to engage in competitive or even just recreational cycling, take it from me that you only find out how important a part of your life it is until you can longer do it.
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