As we settle into this winter season, it’s important that we take time to take care of ourselves. This flu season has been substantially worse than previous seasons both nationally and locally. From October 1st 2017 to January 11th 2018, nearly 1,600 people in Colorado have been hospitalized due to flu, which is about three times as many hospitalizations as is normal for Colorado up to this point in the season.
According to the Center for Disease Control, flu vaccines can reduce risk of flu illness by 40-60% when the virus is similar to the vaccine strain. However, last year it was determined that the vaccines given were only 32% effective against H3N2 viruses, which is one of the main problematic strains being seen this year. Epidemiologists are expecting similar rates of effectiveness this year due to the ineffectiveness of current vaccines against newly mutated viruses.
When managed properly, most people can recover from the flu without too much distress, but if not taken seriously and not addressed in the appropriate manner, the flu can become very serious, very quickly, and sometimes leads to death.
The best way to avoid becoming another flu statistic, is to be proactive. Studies show that acupuncture can help to enhance the immune system by elevating hormone and blood count levels. Not only can it help to prevent you from getting ill in the first place, but if you do end up catching a cold or getting the flu, acupuncture can reduce the severity of symptoms, while facilitating the body’s ability to expel pathogens more quickly.
Chinese herbs can also be extremely effective when combating common colds and flu. Many herbs have naturally occurring antiviral and antibacterial properties that fight the pathogen without killing off all of your good bacteria. One thing that we strongly advise against is taking certain herbs at an inappropriate time. A lot of immune system enhancing herbs (ginseng, astragalus, ashwagandha) are not supposed to be taken while someone is in the middle of fighting a cold or the flu. In fact, taking these types of herbs at that time will strengthen the pathogen, not your defenses. These types of herbs are meant to be taken before you get sick, that’s just how they work. Once you have already contracted a pathogen, you want to use herbs that will either expel the pathogen, drain it, or somehow resolve it, but you generally want to avoid the more nourishing herbs.
So please, be proactive! Come in and see us and let us help you navigate a healthy passage through the rest of this intense cold and flu season! Hope to see you soon!