By Lisa M. Miller, L.Ac.
Annually, influenza is blamed
for approximately 36,000 deaths and 114,000 hospitalizations in adults in
People are contagious for 1 - 4
days before the onset of symptoms and up to 5 days after the first symptoms.
About 50% of infected people do
not show any symptoms but are still contagious.
Prevention is the Key!
Respiratory "etiquette" is a way in
which you can help keep yourself and others healthy by preventing the spread
of harmful germs (or evil qi, in TCM speak). Be sure to follow the following
The first and most important
prevention tool is hand-washing. Washing your hands with soap and water is
one way to clean them, but an even better way is to use an alcohol-based
hand rub. Remember to do this after having contact with your eyes, mouth or
nose, as well as any other contaminated objects or materials that you may
have touched. The rule of thumb in hospitals and clinics is 15 seconds
Always sneeze, cough, or blow
your nose into a tissue to catch the germs so they donít get into the air.
Do not forgot to throw used tissues away and wash your hands afterward.
Nutritional Help for the Flu
Naturally occurring chemicals (allin, allicin, and ajoene) in garlic are
believed to regulate mucus flow, and may be helpful for reducing congestion
caused by the common cold.
Vitamin C is a superb immunity booster. If taken at the first signs of a cold,
it may keep the cold from fully developing and may produce a faster recovery.
However, taking vitamin C does not prevent colds. Good sources of Vitamin C: Red
Cabbage, Strawberries, Potatoes, Tangerines, Red Bell Peppers, Oranges, Kiwis
When taken immediately at the first signs of catching a cold, zinc may weaken
the cold virus, minimize the duration and the severity of a cold. Zinc is
believed to promote a strong immune system by processing the essential fatty
acids that encourage healing. Zinc lozenges are helpful for this purpose. Good
sources of zinc: Barley, Chicken, Lamb, Wheat, Turkey, Oysters, Crab, Beef
The Tao of Wellness, the
following foods are recommended:
green onion, scallions
mustard greens and seeds
soupy rice porridge
Try a tea made with garlic, ginger,
green onion, basil or cinnamon. Induce a sweat by lying under blankets.
According to Qineng Tan, L.Ac., you should drink water to prevent dehydration.
Water can help your body flush the invaders and the debris from their battle
with your immune system. Chicken soup is recommended because it adds extra water
and expels mucous to help you get rid of the illness. Try to drink an 8-ounce
glass of water every hour. This is very important to help your body recover from
Chinese Herbs for Flu
At the first signs of flu, there are a few very good Chinese herbal patents that
can help alleviate the symptoms and speed the healing. A classic Chinese
formula, Yin Qiao San, has been used for centuries for expelling Wind-Heat (the
flu, in TCM speak). It is very effective if taken 12-24 hours after the first
signs of flu appear.
One of the best precautions to take is to regularly take the classic Chinese
Yu Ping Feng San. It strengthens the
immune system and, thus, helps prevent infection. Some brands of this formula
call it Jade Screen because it acts like a screen against the cold/flu virus.
The Tao of Nutrition, by Maoshing Ni, Ph.D., C.A., and Cathy McNease,