My interest in long COVID piqued in August 2020 when I was contacted by a lovely BBC journalist, Nicola Haseler, who had listened to one of my podcasts on mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS). Nicola perceived herself to have long COVID but related to many of the symptoms I had described on MCAS. In October, I had a television interview with the BBC and asked patients with long COVID to download the PeopleWith app and record their symptoms anonymously so I could identify any potential links with MCAS. Over 2,000 patients downloaded the app and based on this data, I found the symptoms between MCAS and long COVID to be very similar. In an effort to help some of these long COVID patients, I opened a weekly clinic to see if they had any previous history of unexplained medical symptoms prior to catching COVID. Within 48 hours, the clinic was completely booked until March 2021. It was extraordinary and also alarming to know that so many people were suffering from long COVID symptoms.
The content provided is for informational purposes only and is not intended to medically diagnose or prescribe a solution for your condition.
I’ve seen about 40 long COVID patients now and 39 of them had a previous history of some type of allergy. All of these patients have had a thorough medical assessment prior to seeing me, which allowed us to ensure that all the appropriate tests had already been conducted, eliminating life-threatening risks such as cancer. What is striking is that predominantly all their tests results were normal, which is what we typically see for MCAS patients as well.
Some of their symptoms include irritable bowel syndrome (which many had prior to their COVID infection), leaky gut, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), chronic fatigue, and chronic migraine, among others.
The symptoms and stories of these long COVID patients closely resembled those of my MCAS patients and so I’ve taken the same approach to their treatment and given them what has come to be known as “the stack” consisting of:
- High dose Vitamin D
- Vitamin C (slow release once / day)
- Over-the-counter antihistamines taken 2-3 times / day
- A low-histamine diet
All of these items can be purchased without a medical prescription. Based on this protocol, I have seen my patients go from being very poorly to significantly improving. There are, of course, a wide range of recovery rates. Some patients respond very quickly while others take more time. But the overall trend is a positive one.
If you are currently suffering from long COVID, you can download the PeopleWith app and enter the code TPLC1 to help our efforts in symptom tracking.
Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided in this article is based on my own experience as a medical practitioner treating patients with MCAS and long COVID. No formal research studies have yet been undertaken to prove or disprove these findings and whether these results can be extrapolated to the wider population of long COVID sufferers. Always consult your GP or doctor before making any changes to your medical protocol.
Histamine-related conditions are highly individualized and one standard approach will not work for everyone. Patients suffering from Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome are highly sensitive to many foods and triggers and therefore it is imperative that you consult a doctor before making any changes to your medical protocol.
More information on Dr. Tina Peers
Since qualifying in Medicine at Guys’ Hospital London in 1983, Dr. Tina Peers has developed her skills and knowledge in Women’s health, first working as a GP in Surrey, then becoming a Consultant in Contraception and Reproductive Health in 1996, and leading these services in Surrey until 2018. Please visit her website for more information on how to get in touch.
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