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Could a dormant viral infection (zoster) be causing my Chronic Fatigue?

by (65)
Updated September 16, 2014 at 7:44 PM
Created April 29, 2012 at 5:47 PM

The first time I had a shingles outbreak, I was probably around 8 years old. After the blisters healed, I was seamingly OK with the exception of having asthma and a chronic runny nose(perennial allergies). I'm now 30, and I've probably had around 6-8 shingles outbreaks. However, for the past five years (I'm now 30) I've been dealing with chronic fatigue. I believe that severe perennial allergies has also taken a toll on my body, exacerbating the fatigue issue. Here is my question could this "dormant" virus (zosters) be the cause of my chronic fatigue? Maybe it's not quite as dormant as it typically is due to my perennial allergies which keeps my immune system in a constant fight or flight mode?

Jonathan

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748 · September 17, 2012 at 6:17 AM

+1 for the doctor comment

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1857 · May 02, 2012 at 1:52 AM

Have you had your thyroid levels checked? Hypothyroidism can result in cold-intolerance, especially at the periphery (hand and feet); sensitive, itchy skin; depression and low energy levels; weight gain; and a host of other symptoms. Most pertinently to you, it can result in immunosuppression, particularly of cell-mediated immunity (necessary for viral control). The TPA should help, but if you haven't had thyroid function tests done, that may very well be of service to you. The pain of the shingles dermatomes is a precursor to outbreak unrelated to thyroid function.

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65 · May 01, 2012 at 3:25 PM

Thanks for your input. I'm taking quercetin/bromelien, ascorbic acid, butterbur and spirulina for allergy symptoms to stabalize mast cells. I'm also taking Thymic Protien A to help with the virus. Besides fatigue, when I'm run down some of the zoster symptoms show up such as swelling under my arm, very sensitive skin on the back of my arm and pain in the area where the shingles breakouts occur. If I'm really run down and stressed I have a full on shingles outbreak. Additional symptoms which I believe are connected include cold hands/feet, restless leg syndrome and depression.

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65 · April 29, 2012 at 6:52 PM

Thanks for the advice, I've been paleo + kerrigold butter for a couple years, although I do cheat every now and then. I guess I should dial in my diet a bit more. I think I need to start focusing more on my immune system more as well, such as meditation, plenty of rest etc.

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2 Answers

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1857 · April 29, 2012 at 7:45 PM

Herpes Varicella-Zoster virus (VZV), also known as Human Herpes Virus 3 (HHV3), is in the same family as Epstein-Bar virus (EBV/HHV4) and Cytomegalovirus (CMV/HHV5). Both EBV and CMV have been implicated in various chronic fatigue syndromes, and both are potential causes of infectious mononucleosis (which presents with severe prostration and fatigue).

But all three are in different subfamilies (alpha, gamma, and beta, respectively), all infect different types of cells, and VZV is not known to cause chronic fatigue syndromes. Zoster travels up your neurons to the neuronal ganglia (collections of nerve cell bodies) just lateral to your spinal cord. That's why the zoster pattern tends to be similar in its recurrence.

Are you taking any other medications for your allergies? That many outbreaks of zoster suggests immunosuppression. Some allergy medications have immunosuppression as a side effect, and certainly stress can suppress your immune system. There are also native hormonal imbalances that could lead to immune suppression or fatigue.

Aside from fatigue, have you noticed any other problems?

VZV is highly unlikely to be the cause, but the repeated outbreaks suggest something else enabling it to break through. That something might be a target worth tracking down.

8496289baf18c2d3e210740614dc9082
1857 · May 02, 2012 at 1:52 AM

Have you had your thyroid levels checked? Hypothyroidism can result in cold-intolerance, especially at the periphery (hand and feet); sensitive, itchy skin; depression and low energy levels; weight gain; and a host of other symptoms. Most pertinently to you, it can result in immunosuppression, particularly of cell-mediated immunity (necessary for viral control). The TPA should help, but if you haven't had thyroid function tests done, that may very well be of service to you. The pain of the shingles dermatomes is a precursor to outbreak unrelated to thyroid function.

7b4010246a21a9eeb4c49a1f6244cd1d
65 · May 01, 2012 at 3:25 PM

Thanks for your input. I'm taking quercetin/bromelien, ascorbic acid, butterbur and spirulina for allergy symptoms to stabalize mast cells. I'm also taking Thymic Protien A to help with the virus. Besides fatigue, when I'm run down some of the zoster symptoms show up such as swelling under my arm, very sensitive skin on the back of my arm and pain in the area where the shingles breakouts occur. If I'm really run down and stressed I have a full on shingles outbreak. Additional symptoms which I believe are connected include cold hands/feet, restless leg syndrome and depression.

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105 · April 29, 2012 at 6:48 PM

I am not a doctor.........nor do I play one on TV

BUT, I found that after I started eating only clean foods, IE no processes foods AT ALL and my sugar intake went down to 0 and I no longer at dairy, a lot of my immune issues went away. Was it hard? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes, I can now say it was worth it.

You might want to give that a try. If you need more information on how these food groups effect out immune system there is a huge amount of studies done of this issue.

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748 · September 17, 2012 at 6:17 AM

+1 for the doctor comment

7b4010246a21a9eeb4c49a1f6244cd1d
65 · April 29, 2012 at 6:52 PM

Thanks for the advice, I've been paleo + kerrigold butter for a couple years, although I do cheat every now and then. I guess I should dial in my diet a bit more. I think I need to start focusing more on my immune system more as well, such as meditation, plenty of rest etc.

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