Influenza or the “flu” is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. Viral infections weaken a person’s immune system and frequently give rise to secondary infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia. If an afflicted person, especially the elderly and infirm, has a compromised immune system, the flu can be life threatening. People at highest risk are the elderly, those with illness of the heart, lung or kidney, and those with asthma, diabetes or weakened immunity.
The duration of the flu would be shorter if we were able to rest for three days. However, due to our overtaxed lifestyles, people can undergo the sore throats, body aches and endless coughing at night for over a month.
But there is good news. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, flu is often preventable. Chinese medical history traces the use of vaccination, acupuncture and herbs against epidemics to the 2nd Century, A.D. In modern times, you can get a flu shot. However, the shot has to be for the right strain to be effective, and people often have adverse reactions such as developing flu-like symptoms. There is an alternative to the flu shot.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the flu is caused by a strong pathogenic force that comes about when the environment goes through a seasonal change. Usually it occurs in the transition from a hot to a cold season. During the transition, the sun’s rays are weakened and bacteria and viruses become more active. Influenza might also occur when environmental events such as storms, hurricanes or wars cause abrupt changes in the environment.
Traditional Chinese Medicine can effectively help prevent or speed up one’s recovery from the flu using acupuncture, herbs and/or cupping. However, a strong immune system and good lifestyle habits are essential for preventing the flu. There are ten important measures one may undertake to minimize the chance of catching the flu:
- Good personal hygiene; take showers regularly and wash hands frequently
- Proper lifestyle habits
- Healthy nutrition including dark leafy vegetables
- Consider vaccination, preferably in October or November
- Chi gong to reduce stress and strengthen the immune system
- Chinese herbal therapies such as Traditions of Tao Cold/Flu or Perpetual Shield capsules
- Synchronize with the sun by going to sleep earlier and getting plenty of rest
- Take care of your health issues such as back pain, allergies or infections and anything that may affect your immune system adversely
- Create mental happiness by reading spiritual books or helping others
- Respond to symptoms immediately! Don’t delay preventive measures