Mononucleosis, E-B virus
This ugly virus is the glaring example of the critical concept of latent viruses. The Answer goes into detail here, but I want to re-emphasize the importance of this idea at this time. It is crucial for people to understand that we (both humans and their pets) have become virus hotels over our lifetime, with Epstein-Barr virus being one of the first to check in. The medical texts say that over 50% of kids have this critter in their body by age five. The majority of the rest of us get it later in life, particularly in our teenage years as mononucleosis. This virus is capable of remaining dormant for years and years, laying in wait until our immune system begins to have trouble keeping it under control. Once our immunity wanes, this opportunist rises up and goes to work.
What sort of problems does the E-B virus cause? First of all, it is the cause of mononucleosis. However, an interesting question arises when our teenager gets mono. Did this individual just acquire Epstein-Barr or is it a flare up of the virus that was acquired as a young child? Great question, and there is an answer worth examining. I believe the answer lies in the clinical course of the mono in that person. For example, when I had mononucleosis at age 12, I was out of school for 6 whole weeks. I then had a relapse about two years later and was out for another month. However, when my daughter had it at age 15, she was sick for 3-4 days and went back to school. Why the huge difference? I am a celiac (gluten intolerant) and my daughter is not. My immune system was seriously compromised by the celiac disease and this allowed the E-B virus free reign for a while. My daughter crushed that guy in 3-4 days, like a healthy immune system should. Therefore, it is very likely that she acquired the virus just before becoming ill. In my case, I may have acquired in before age 5 and that the worsening celiac condition unleashed it at age 12. This just makes sense and is just how latent viruses behave.
So, it should be no surprise that it raised its ugly head again two years later and then again at about age thirty-eight. How did it manifest then? As chronic fatigue. Yes, Epstein-Barr IS involved in chronic fatigue syndrome as illustrated by the fatigue that accompanies mononucleosis and which kept me out of school for 6 weeks. (I know of some teenagers who developed mono and have yet to recover from the fatigue. They have not done what is needed to get this virus back under control.)
Shortly after the chronic fatigue was in full swing, I developed fibromyalgia, which is the other warning sign telling us that Epstein-Barr is on board. Researchers know that this virus is a part of the chronic fatigue-fibromyalgia syndrome and I am a living example of this. Only one out of ten people with fibromyalgia are men, but I was destined to have it with my medical history, wasn’t I?
However, I am here to tell you that this latent virus…this terrorist…can be controlled. For the same reason that he was allowed to come out of his cave, we must know that we can shove him back into it. The waning of the immune system does NOT have to be a permanent thing, especially in a nineteen year old (ugh!). Like always, the main thing we have to do is to stop doing what it is that we have been doing to crush that immune system. Anyone who has spent any time on this site knows what to do from here. If not, Email me.
Focus completely on the health of the immune system. Remember that the failure occurred as a result of that system being overworked and underpaid. Start having it do less work (stop eating the primary allergens) and start paying it more (eat your vegetables and fruits). Also, the foods that are overworking the immune system are the same ones causing the pain (glutamate) and the fatigue (casomorphins and gliadorphins). So, the short-term recovery comes quickly…the pain and fatigue starts resolving within days of changing the diet in many cases.
However, we are really after the long-term recovery. We want to become healthy enough to overcome this virus completely. Why? It has also been tied to two forms of leukemia and one of lymphoma. Oh oh! But that could help explain why celiacs have a much higher rate of lymphoma than the general population, couldn’t it? Uh huh. Some bad news is a real motivator, isn’t it?
More on Viruses…