The COVID-19 pandemic has been raging through the world for more than a year. More than 455,000 people have died in the US, but the vast majority of people who become infected survive. Unfortunately, for a significant proportion, symptoms associated with COVID-19 may last for weeks or months. Physicians have dubbed this post-COVID syndrome, or PCS. Patients are more likely to call it Long COVID and refer to themselves as Long Haulers.
Long COVID may affect people of any age, not just older individuals. One study found that half of the college students in the sample who had had COVID-19 were still struggling with symptoms like fatigue and trouble exercising, shortness of breath, chest pain, reduced sense of smell, runny nose and loss of appetite more than a month later (MedRxiv, Nov. 29, 2020). Although health care providers have learned a great deal about caring for people with the acute disease, they still don’t have established protocols to help those with long-lasting problems.
For several decades, before the pandemic began, doctors debated how to help patients with lasting symptoms from infections such as Lyme disease. At first, many experts denied that patients’ problems were due to the infection. Instead, they insisted that chronic Lyme didn’t exist.
However, people experiencing those symptoms themselves sought ways to manage them holistically. Some of the approaches they have used may be helpful for individuals who are now suffering with post-COVID syndrome.
Our guest, Dr. Bill Rawls, was frustrated that mainstream medicine had so little to offer him while he fought chronic Lyme disease. He went to the medical literature and devised treatments based on scientific studies of herbal medicines. These helped him and he has since helped others challenged by chronic immune dysfunction, whether triggered by infection or not. Now he is offering guidance to people with Long COVID.
The herbs Dr. Rawls used for his own treatment included Japanese knotweed, cat’s claw, Chinese skullcap, and Andrographis paniculata, along with mushrooms such as Reishi and Cordyceps. Presumably many of these help regulate the immune system’s response. Some experts suspect that a chronic hyperactivation of the immune system might contribute to the symptoms of Long COVID. Dr. Rawls offers his recommendations for what people may want to do as they recover from COVID-19 to reduce their chances of post-COVID syndrome.
Dr. Bill Rawls is a licensed physician with over 30 years of experience and a leading expert in Lyme disease, holistic health, and herbal medicine. In the middle of his successful medical career, Dr. Rawls’ life was interrupted by Lyme disease. In his journey to overcome it, he explored nearly every treatment possible – from conventional medicine to a range of alternative therapies. In the more than 10 years since his recovery, Dr. Rawls has helped thousands of patients to recover from chronic illness and maintain wellness.
He is the author of the best-selling book Unlocking Lyme. He is the Medical Director of RawlsMD.com and Vital Plan, an online holistic health company and Certified B Corporation® that he co-founded with his daughter Braden.
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