Stay Healthy Through the Flu Season

Since the beginning of humankind, Influenza, commonly known as the flu, has had devastating effects on the human population. Sometimes, entire civilizations have been wiped out by its fatal assaults. It’s only that in recent times, with medical advances, that the flu has become much better controlled. Still, it’s estimated that more than 20,000 Americans die of flu every year.

Flu is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. The viral infection weakens a person and frequently gives rise to secondary infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia due to the person’s weakened immunity. If the afflicted person has a compromised immune system to begin with, the flu can be life threatening. This applies mostly to the elderly and the infirm. People over the age of 64 and those with illness of the heart, lung, kidney, asthma, diabetes, or compromised immunity have the highest risk.

For most of us, it is more than just an annoying cold. Its duration could be shorter if we are able to rest in bed for three days. However, due to overtaxed lives, many people stay sick and weakened up to three weeks. The suffering of painful throat, body ache and endless cough at night is often enough to cause a grown man to behave like a helpless child. But there is good news: most flus are preventable or can be managed better. A flu vaccination can be effective if it’s the targeted strain, but sometimes people have adverse reactions to it, such as developing flu-like symptoms while for other people, it may not be for the right strain. There is however, an alternative to the flu shot.

In Chinese Medicine, the flu is caused by a strong pathogenic force that comes about when the environment goes through seasonal changes. It usually occurs in the transition from hot to cold season, from summer to autumn to winter. During this transition, the sun’s ray is weakening, giving opportunity for bacteria and virus to become more active.  Influenza can also occur when there are abrupt changes in the environment such as storms, hurricane, and wars. Chinese Medicine can effectively help prevent and/or speed up one’s recovery from the flu.

A strong immune system, good lifestyle and habits are essential to flu prevention. There are ten essential measures one should undertake to minimize the severity of the chance of contracting the flu.

Good Personal Hygiene Habits
Washing hands before meals and after contact with people who might be ill.

Proper Lifestyle Habits
Having enough rest and sleep, appropriate clothing for weather demands, drink plenty of fluid, keep life stress in check, and exercise regularly.

Immune Enhancing Nutrition
Eat more dark leafy vegetables, more berries, more hot soups, ginger, garlic, green scallion; eat regularly and do not skip breakfast. Take more vitamin C and zinc.

Vaccination
If immunity is compromised, a vaccination might be helpful. Get it done early in October or November. Since a new flu vaccine must be brewed annually, sometimes delay and shortage of available flu vaccine occurs. When there is a shortage of flu shots, as an alternative, certain herbal or vitamin supplementation can enhance one’s immunity. Consult your doctors.

Qi Gong
Any meditative breathing exercises can be helpful in reducing stress and strengthening the immune system. I recommend any of the energetic exercises such as Dao-In, Eight Treasures, Qi Gong, and Tai Ji Chuan. chinese herbal therapies

Cold & Flu tincture
Perpetual Shield are good formulations in strengthening the lung against pathogens. Autumn and Winter teas are excellent in helping the body adapt to the climactic changes of the seasons.

Follow the Sunlight
As the season changes, day becomes shorter and night becomes longer. Sleep earlier and rise later synchronizing with the sun can help to keep our circadian rhythm working and healthy.

Reduce Illness
Embarking on a health regimen before the fall and winter will help to reduce the severity and the chance of contracting the flu. Take care of your back pain, neck pain and sinus allergies and other infections promptly.

Mental Happiness
Relaxed mind and happy attitude can strengthen your immunity and fight off flu and cold. Read some spirituality books or articles. Help others. Learn to be happy.

Take Care of Symptoms and Signs
When you start to feel tired or with symptoms of flu such as body ache, sore throat, chills, sneezing, headache, sinus congestion, chest tightness or cough, see your health practitioner right away for treatment.

Don’t delay treatments. Frequently treatments rendered at the beginning of the flu can reduce the severity or eliminate the flu in a shorter span of time.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to consult with your Tao of Wellness doctors. Stay healthy through the Flu season.

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