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Why Are So Many Americans Turning to Acupuncture During Cold and Flu Season?
Flu is “for the birds” and should stay that way. While much of America worries about the slim possibility of a bird invasion (Hitchcock was quite the Nostradamus!), the truth is that bird flu has killed 150 people worldwide in the past 10 years, almost all of them in Asia. and Eastern Europe. On the other hand, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 5 to 20 percent of Americans get the flu each flu season, which typically runs from November to March. They estimate that in the United States alone, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized and about 36,000 people die each year from influenza and its complications (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, March 2006). Although the flu shot or flu vaccine is helpful for the elderly and some immunocompromised groups, it is clearly not enough. Since children are 2-3 times more likely to catch colds and flu than adults, prevention is key for every family.
While colds and flu are both caused by respiratory viruses, colds rarely lead to fever, headache, fatigue, and dehydration, which are common symptoms of the flu virus. Both colds and flu are caused by airborne viruses, which means that the risk factor is increased in highly populated areas such as subways, crowded homes, and schools. After infection, it can take 1-4 days for symptoms to appear, and the contagious period is roughly 7 days from infection. Therefore, the infectious period can begin even before symptoms appear
appear and can last 3-6 days after the onset of symptoms (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, March 2006). Common symptoms of both colds and flu include body aches (especially in the upper back and neck), chills, dry cough, sore throat, and stuffy nose. Children have an additional chance of ear infections and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. These symptoms are uncommon in adults.
Common treatments for these symptoms are nasal sprays, Tylenol, and aspirin, none of which get to the root of the problem or prepare one for future encounters with the dreaded virus. We all know that we need plenty of fluids and rest to fight off colds and flu, but is there anything else we can do to keep these “bad guys” at bay? Acupuncture, herbs and vitamins are invaluable in the prevention and early stages of these viruses.
Although we know that colds and flu are rooted in viruses, acupuncturists look for the events that trigger the contraction of the virus. An acupuncturist examines the tendency of certain individuals to be prone to invasion, with a greater amount of “cold” signals than “warm” signals. The acupuncturist also examines where a person may fall on the 6-stage continuum of cold-induced disorder. Chinese medical theory states that as each of the 6 stages progresses, the virus penetrates deeper inside, starting from the head and moving through the lungs, stomach, intestines, liver, and finally the kidneys. In any clinic, the ability of the acupuncturist to determine the stage to which the person has progressed and which stage the needle is pointing to is of great importance. Because this system provides such detailed organization, treatments can be much more effective than many alternatives on the market, especially if treatment is started early in the infection.
Chinese herbal therapy
Since the Chinese medical model applies to both acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapy, there are specific herbs depending on the stage of the disease and the physical characteristics of the person. For example, if the patient suffers from body aches and chills (first-stage features) and has a history of high blood pressure (constitutional feature), some warming herbs should be substituted in the first-stage formula to avoid exacerbating the high blood levels. pressure. This makes it imperative that you find a trained clinical herbalist to prepare the right medicine for you.
Vitamins are an essential preventive measure for children and adults with the arrival of autumn and winter. As a general starting point, adults should consider taking a multivitamin and increasing vitamin C as the weather changes. Young people should take powdered, chewable, or liquid vitamin mixes designed specifically for children.
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