Lingering Pathogens - What are they?
- Written by Louise Stevens
Lingering Pathogens (LPs) are pathogenic influences that remain in the body and provoke a persistent immune response: this includes living organisms like viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites or allergens, chemicals, drugs and environmental toxins.
LPs manifest in a number of ways. An infection from the past may still make its presence felt with recurrent symptoms often arising when the patient is stressed or run down, or perhaps detectable as persistent antibodies or other markers in blood tests.
In clinic we often suspect a LP when the patient presents with a history that begins "I have never been well since...", sometimes it may not be apparent. Examples include Recurring infections, Glandular fever, Chronic fatigue syndrome, ME, Allergies, Chronic infections, Rheumatoid arthritis, Graves and Hashimotos thyroiditis, Herpes infection and Malaria.
Signs and symptoms include low grade fever or heat sensations, chills/fever, swollen lymph nodes and tonsils, abnormal sweating, muscle/joint aches, low energy levels, skin lesions and rashes, recurring pains.
So why are we likely to get an LP?
Our constitution may predispose us or overwork and failure to rest properly during an acute illness. Immunisations, antibiotics or the wrong treatment may trap an LP. It could be environmental exposure, drugs or emotional factors, or its just that the pathogen is able to overwhelm a strong defense system. The longer the pathogen remains trapped within, the more depleting it is on the normal functions of the body.
One analogy of how antibiotics can create recurring infections is: If there is a burglar in the house, western medicine has the effect of shooting the burglar dead and leaving it lying on the floor. Chinese medicine has the effect of identifying and restraining the burglar and removing it from the premises!
However an LP has lodged itself in the body, Chinese Medicine has ways of dealing with it, either by venting, harmonising or clearing. Illness that have lingered for many months even years may be rectified with correct and appropriate treatment.