Why do I have a cold? It’s summer!
The common cold is usually associated with winter and the seasonal transition period to spring. But now it is also often experienced in summer due to lifestyle factors. Most people today spend much of their summertime in artificially cooled environments in low temperatures. The cold air frequently blows directly on us and we experience extreme temperature differences.
The Common Cold
The common cold, also known simply as a cold, is an infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract. Signs and symptoms may appear in less than two days. These may include coughing, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, headache, and fever. People usually recover in seven to ten days, but some symptoms may last up to three weeks. Occasionally those with other health problems may develop pneumonia.
The symptoms are the manifestation of the body in the process of fighting against pathogenic factors. These similar signs and symptoms are divided into different types in TCM, based on the differences in each person’s constitution and the stage of disease. A TCM Doctor will prescribe treatment based on this information. So, any herbal medicine/treatment you take should be recommended by a TCM Doctor, rather than by self-diagnosis or taking what a friend took.
Wind- Cold type
Symptoms: aversion to cold, light fever, runny nose with white nasal mucus, coughing with white phlegm, and itchy throat
Suggested treatment: xiao chai hu granules(小柴胡顆粒), jing fang bai du san(荊防敗毒散)
Wind- Heat type
Symptoms: fever, runny nose with yellow or green nasal mucus, coughing with yellow or green phlegm, and sore throat
Suggested treatment: Shuang huang lian oral liquid(雙黃連口服液), lianhua qingwen capsule(蓮花清溫膠囊), yinqiao san(銀翹散)
The symptoms of flu are similar to a wind -heat cold, but the symptoms are more severe than a common cold. And the distinguishing feature is that body temperature can reach 39℃ with body pain. Antiviral oral liquid and ban lan gen granules are suggested for flu.
What else can you do to support your recovery when you have a cold or flu?
You should get more rest, drink more warm water and no salty or spicy food. Keep the air circulating, but avoid wind blowing directly on you.
What does TCM suggest for prevention of colds and flu?
Strengthen physical exercise to build up the body to enhance its ability to adjust to climate changes. Add or remove clothes as appropriate to the temperature.
You can take the herbal tea call “yu ping feng san”(玉屏風散) which in different dosages can be a medicine for the common cold and can also be a preventative way to improve your immunity. It can provide you with healthy Qi, which gives your body energy, enhances your digestive system and defends against pathogenic factors.
Furthermore, alternative medicine such as acupuncture is also a good choice. Acupuncture makes the body produce a bioelectric effect, causing specific signals to be transmitted to the brain. Then the brain will generate feedback signals to the organs to regulate their function. This process helps Qi (energy) flow through the meridians to every part of the body. This brings the energy flow into proper balance, or Yin-Yang balance as it is known in TCM.