Often my patients are really caught off guard when they are hit with a bad Summer cold. Of course they know that during the winter months their immune system must be healthy to fight through the worst of the cold and flu season but many are caught off guard when there is a bad Summer cold season like there has been in the first half of Summer 2017!
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the treatment of Summer colds has been documented in detail for thousands of years. Primarily summer colds are stomach/ gastrointestinal bugs or head colds that are spread through unclean sanitation, not washing hands, spoiled food, or through mosquitoes or other insects. In TCM most of these colds can be classified as have “Dampness”. Dampness is characterized by fatigue, head fog, heavy sensation in the head, runny nose, watery stools, frequent or inability to urinate, bloating, upset stomach, and nausea. Sound familiar?
In TCM there are ways you can prevent a Summer cold and strengthen your immune system:
Stay away from air conditioning & cold foods such as ice cream. Shocking? The extreme cold can send your system into shock that allows for a cold to take hold. Think about how unnatural exposing your body to extreme cold is during the hottest time of the year. Until 50 years ago our body would have never experienced such fluctuations in temperature.
Break a sweat! Sweat actually regulates the body fluids in the body to keep us cool. In Asia they often consume very spicy soups during the hottest time of the year to break a sweat, which then cools the body and regulates the body fluids. If you cannot stop sweating this is also a big problem and trying to further induce sweating will make your condition worse.
Drink lots of fluids and herbal teas which help keep maintain a healthy body fluids. Watermelon, watermelon peel tea, and lotus leaf tea are all great options to regulate body fluids in the heat of Summer.
Of course acupuncture and herbal medicine work great to prevent and/or to treat the dreaded Summer cold.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner