Influenza, commonly known as “the flu,” is a contagious viral disease which attacks the human respiratory tract. Symptoms include fever and chills, headache, fatigue and body aches, dry cough and nasal congestion.
The flu itself is not normally deadly, but young children, elderly and those with pre-disposing medical conditions can develop life-threatening complications such as pneumonia. The flu season has arrived early and with unusual force. The threat of it has precipitated a media blitz with attendant anxiety and confusion over how society and individuals should address the contagion. At the heart of this issue is the question “to immunize, or not to immunize.”
• The proportion of influenza and pneumonia deaths nationwide officially crested above epidemic threshold the week of Oct 4-10, 2009, according to the Center for Disease Control.
• The CDC officially recommends vaccination for elderly, children, immune compromised persons, those with pre-disposing respiratory conditions and healthcare workers.
• Although current strains of influenza have “drifted” genetically from the available vaccine, the current vaccine has some claimed crossover coverage over the drifted strain.
• Telluride is susceptible to the flu due to cold environment, proximity of population indoors and influx of tourists carrying pathogens.
• The infamous influenza outbreak of 1918-1919 killed 10 percent of Telluride residents and ravaged San Miguel County.
In support of vaccination alternatives:
• Traditional Chinese medical theory holds that immunizations deny the body an immune-building workout and internal cleansing afforded by skillful negotiation of disease process, and that the vaccination itself constitutes a Latent Pathogenic Factor resulting in chronic fatigue, ADD, ADHD, Failure to Thrive and other physical and emotional pathologies.
• Western alternative medical theory parallels the position of the traditional Chinese
• Serious documented reactions to immunization, including death, are a fact.
• Preventative medical, lifestyle, nutritional and other protocols exist to ward off the flu. Commensurate treatment protocols also exist if influenza does attack.
A third option: Combining Chinese therapy with vaccination During the 2003-2004 Avian flu scare the author, a healthcare worker and Oriental medical practitioner, chose to receive vaccination, but to treat it as an invasion of flu. Within hours of receiving the shot, eight acupuncture needles were inserted surrounding the vaccination site along with a complete body acupuncture protocol of points for treating cold and flu. Herbal treatment for flu followed the same day. In this way the pathogen was treated accordingly, minimizing potential for adverse reaction to the vaccination. People don’t expect an acupuncturist to go for immunization. The decision to use an integrated East-West approach illustrates another choice, a middle path, and a path now available to anyone in our community.
Eastern Medical Prevention and Treatment:
Preventative care is the hallmark of traditional Eastern medicine wherein patient and practitioner work toward optimum health.
Prevention is synonymous with the herbal formula “Yu Ping Feng San, The Jade Windscreen Formula.” Astragalus, a clinically proven immune tonic, is the main ingredient. Two other herbs, Atractalodes and Ledebouriella, support the Astragalus and firm the bodies’ natural defenses. Across Asia millions of people depend on this formula with preventative acupuncture where Westerners use a flu shot. The formula takes about a month to significantly build immunity to influenza and a broad range of other seasonal pathogens. The influenza vaccination takes three weeks to cover a much smaller specific range of pathogens.
Chinese herbal treatment at first flu signs and symptoms is synonymous with the formula “Yin Qiao Bai Du San, The Honeysuckle and Forsythia Combination.” This formula is analagous to Western “Cold Snap” type preparations. When used during early stages, Yin Qiao can expel the pathogen before the flu takes hold.
If immune building and first strike treatment do not avert the flu, Chinese Medicine has sophisticated specific treatments for all stages and types of cold and flu disorders. Two thousand years ago a young man watched in horror as 80 percent of his village died of flu-like “Cold-Induced Disorders.” He later became the famous Chinese physician Zhang Zhong Jing, author of the “Shang Han Lun” or Classic of Cold Induced Disorders, a complete body of medical theory and practice. The herbal therapies contained therein address every stage and variation of cold and flu disorders, and when combined with appropriate acupuncture they constitute specific and effective treatment for all stages of colds, flu, bronchitis, pneumonia and the infamous “Telluride Crud.”
Joshua Geetter is a Telluride acupuncturist and herbalist who hails from a family lineage of medical doctors. He can be found at www.acupuncturetelluride.com and by calling 728-6084.