The Blues and Flu’s


Thanks to isolation, masks, and other Covid measures, the winters of 2020 and 2021 in my clinic were largely bereft of the usual coughs, colds, and flu. Bring on winter 2022, and it seems everyone and their dog has a respiratory tract infection, including, of course, the now ubiquitous Covid-19. I have treated more severe respiratory infections this year than I have for decades. Echinacea, Andrographis, garlic, zinc, NAC, vitamin C and more – all the immune boosters at my disposal have been prescribed and ingested. Done and dusted? Unfortunately, no. These same patients are now presenting with an array of post-viral symptoms, including depression and fatigue. (Post viral fatigue will feature in my next post)  

The inflamed brain

Harmony between the mind, body, and spirit was integral to the Hippocratic philosophy. Yet, we’re still surprised when our mood and state of mind are affected by pain, injury, and infection. Long after the virus has left centre stage, the aftereffects linger, particularly in those prone to depression. Although known to antiquity, the modern science of psychoneuroimmunology began in the early 1980s. Research into this area continues, and now it appears that inflammation of the immune system also affects the nervous system, with some commentators describing depression as inflammation of the brain. 

Rest and Recovery. 

Especially for those prone to low moods and depression, be kind to yourself. Remind yourself that recovery after an infection takes time. Don’t expect to step back into your normal routine. Nature wants you to convalesce. Gentle exercise rather than fierce workouts. Reduce your workload where possible. Decline extra commitments. Ensure you are getting plenty of sleep. Magnesium may be helpful at this time, in addition to the herbs St. John’s wort, Saffron, Withania, Lemon balm, Rhodiola, and Magnolia.