AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine
AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine

AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine Shares Tips on How to Avoid the Flu This Season

Austin, TX, November 16, 2011 --( The flu season is upon us. And with the possibility of a return of the H1N1 influenza pandemic, Austinites are looking for ways to stay healthy as germs lurk and temperatures drop. As the weather gets cooler, there are several approaches to maintain good health. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine provide some sure steps to help ward off illness.

Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, has higher incidence in winter and spring. The most common symptoms of the virus are chills, fever, exhaustion, muscle aches, headache, and cough. Influenza can be transmitted by direct contact with an infected person or through contact with contaminated surfaces, although airborne transmission, through coughing and sneezing is thought to cause most infections.

Although the common cold and other influenza-like illnesses are often confused with the flu, influenza is a more severe disease and can often lead to pneumonia. Compared to the flu, the common cold is usually more centered in the head, although it can still include respiratory symptoms like coughing and sneezing. Sore throat and runny or stuffy nose are very common symptoms and in more severe cases, the common cold is sometimes accompanied by muscle aches and fever. Usually all the symptoms will ease in 5 to 7 days.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been used to prevent and treat influenza since 219 AD. In the historical text Shang Han Lun, Dr. Zhongjing Zhang (150-219 AD) first explained that coldness can induce febrile disease. Clinically effective Chinese herbs and formulations were recorded in these works which has been confirmed by current research in China.

Chinese herbs with anti-viral functions are used to increase one’s immunity and resistance to the flu. For more than 40 years schools and universities in China have used Chinese herbs preventatively before flu season is in full swing. If you have already contracted the flu, Ban Lan Gen (wild Indigo root) and Da Qing Ye (wild Indigo leaf) can be used to decrease your fever. After resolving most flu symptoms, certain Chinese herbs, such as Ginseng, can be used to improve your energy level and immunity.

Acupuncture can also be used to prevent or treat the flu. Both of these therapeutic methods can be used to balance your body by increasing your resistance to the flu virus. For example, Stomach 36 is an effective acupuncture point located on the legs for preventing flu during the epidemic season. Warming the needle on this point, can improve a patient’s immune function and prevent the flu.

Dr. Luo's tips for preventing and treating influenza:

1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

2. Rest. When you are tired, your body is susceptible to illness. Stay home and rest when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. Rest is some of the best medicine around.

3. Cover your mouth and nose. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Remind others to cover their mouth and nose, too.

4. Clean your hands. Washing your hands for 10 seconds will often help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

5. Drink a lot of water. When colds and the flu are going around, one of your best defenses is to keep your body fully hydrated so that your respiratory tissues aren’t easily irritated.

6. Stay warm and cozy. Oriental medicine believes that wind invasions can weaken your body and make catching a cold more likely. Cover your neck and chest, and keep your feet warm and dry.

7. Try Chinese medicine. Treatments can help strengthen your body’s immune system. Oriental medicine includes things such as acupuncture and Chinese herbs.

About the Author: Song Luo LAc, PhD, MD (China)
During his twelve years at the Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital in Chengdu, China, Luo was entitled as “Excellent Doctor,” an honor bestowed on only 10 of the 2000 doctors in the hospital. He taught undergraduate and postgraduate students at the Chengdu University of TCM, and gave lectures to a variety of audiences including local doctors, patients, and foreign doctors from more than 15 countries in Europe, America and Asia. Song Luo has abundant experience in treating patients with neurological, cardiac, digestive, respiratory, and endocrine diseases. Luo has been a faculty member and licensed acupuncturist and herbalist at AOMA since 2005. Dr. Luo sees patients at AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine is located at 2700 West Anderson Lane. For more information see or call 512-492-3034.

AOMA - Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin
Sarah Bentley