Colds, Flu’s and Your Immune System
While most of us treat colds by grabbing some over-the-counter medications, and “working through it”, this approach can allow a virus to penetrate deeper, often causing latent illness and fatigue for months or even years to come. Over-the-counter medications like cough suppressants, fever reducers, and headache medications aid in suppressing symptoms, but simultaneously suppress expression of the virus. It is not merely the virus itself that causes us to become ill, but our body’s susceptibility to infection. In Chinese medicine, we believe that colds are one way the body rids itself of toxins and accumulations, and forces the patient to rest.
A fever is the result of the body’s efforts to purge toxins and illness. If you ignore the body’s efforts to cleanse and restore, or battle it with symptom-focused medications, you might well be pushing the virus deeper into the body. Though you may feel ok at first, many patients find they feel fatigued or symptomatic for extended periods following a cold; even traditional medicine links several serious illnesses with latent, untreated viruses.
Using acupuncture and herbs, your treatment will assist the body in its efforts to expel the virus from the body. The sooner you seek treatment, the faster you will recover and experience relief from symptoms. Your acupuncture treatments can help prevent a little cold from turning into bronchitis, respiratory tract infections, and strep throat, resulting in less suffering and less time away from work and the things you love to do.
I encourage you to call the minute you begin to feel “under the weather”, overly tired, chilled or feverish, or notice a scratchy throat. As a bonus, acupuncture also boosts the immune system, so most people having regular acupuncture treatments report fewer colds, flu’s, and health problems in general. Oh, and if you have an autoimmune condition, no worries – acupuncture allows the body to regulate itself, and it won’t make your condition worse. We’re pretty smart, huh?