Fight The Flu This Season
- Annually, influenza is blamed for
over 23,600 deaths and over 200,000 hospitalizations in adults in the
US. About 90% of such deaths occur in persons aged 65 years and older.
- 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 etiquette
- 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 of washing.
- 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 Nutrition, the following foods are recommended:
- green onion, scallions
- mustard greens and seeds
- grapefruit peel
- soupy rice porridge
Try a tea made with garlic, ginger, green onion,
basil or cinnamon. Induce a sweat by lying under blankets.
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 the flu.
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
herbal formula, 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
References: The Tao of Nutrition, by Maoshing Ni, Ph.D., C.A., and Cathy
McNease, B.S., M.H.