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Epstein Barr Virus – How Long Does It Last?

A common question many doctors hear is “How long does Epstein Barr virus last?”.

Typically symptoms of Epstein Barr virus last from 1 – 4 weeks. Studies amongst university populations have estimated that 20% of EBV patients return to work within one week, 50% within 2 weeks of becoming ill.

In some cases, Epstein Barr virus can last for months or years. It is estimated that about half of those who initially experience symptoms have ongoing symptoms two months after infection. At three months, about one in three sufferers reports symptoms, and at six months the figure is about one in ten. Twenty-four months after infection a small percentage of people still report symptoms, predominantly ongoing fatigue.

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In about 6% of people, Epstein Barr virus lasts for months or years after they initially contact the virus. EBV is a latent virus that can relapse when the body is under stress or run down.

Recurrent EBV relapses can be a sign of immunological abnormalities. Usually the longer symptoms are experienced for, the more the infection weakens the person’s immune system and the longer they will need to recover.

The bottom line is “how long Epstein Barr virus lasts” depends on how healthy your immune system is. If you have had EBV and still get recurrent sore throats, swollen glands or fatigue, it is nature’s way of telling you that something is wrong with your immune system.

Your immune system may be suppressed from poor eating habits, nutritional deficiency, stress, unresolved emotional problems, smoking or a chronic underlying disease like mycoplasma or Chlamydia pneumonia infection. Your genes can also make you more susceptible to disease.

How long your Epstein Barr virus lasts is closely linked to nutrition. A deficiency of even a single nutrient can impair your immune defences. Numerous studies have linked weakened immune function and subsequent diseases to deficiencies of vitamins A, C, E, zinc and selenium. The other nutrients crucial for immune function are iron, vitamin D and the B complex vitamins – they help your body make T- cells, B- cells, antibodies and other immune proteins. Today’s modern Western diet of sugar-rich, processed and fatty foods does nothing to support the immune system to fight off infections like EBV.

Fortunately, through general lifestyle practices like a healthy diet, stress reduction, regular exercise and taking some immune boosting supplements, you can strengthen your immunity to help shorten how long Epstein Barr virus lasts in your body.

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