Chinese Herbal Medicine and the H1N1 Virus
Many people are concerned about the H1N1 flu virus this winter. Though many key clinical questions remain, we do know more about the virus now than we did in the spring of 2009. Flu season usually runs from October to March, in the US, with peak months usually occurring in November and February.
Historically, Chinese herbal medicine has been very effective against viral infections, even new strains. Chinese herbs are used to treat infected patients and to protect the health care professionals from contracting the virus.
Chinese herbal medicine can help patients, before, during and after infection.
It is important to know the signs and symptoms of the flu.
If a person has a fever of over 101F / 38.3C with symptoms of cough and a pulse rate over 90 BPM, and if the symptoms do not improve or stabilize within 24 hours, it is important to go for immediate testing through the local health department .
If a person is not in this critical phase and is going to remain at home, they should be familiar with the established guidelines for care. You can print these from the Center for Disease Control website (CDC). The paper is called: "Interim Guidance for H1N1 flu: Taking care of a Sick Person in your Home."
Symptoms for H1N1 are similar to other seasonal flu symptoms. These symptoms are fever, chills, headache, upper respiratory symptoms, such as cough, sore throat, runny nose and shortness of breath. Some patients also experience fatigue and gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea and diarrhea. Fever and cough are most significant.
Transmission of the flu is normally until 24 hours after the fever has dropped for adults and up to 7 days after the fever has subsided for children. It has been shown that the virus has little resistance to neuraminidase inhibitors, which inhibit the virus's ability to replicate.
There are many Chinese herbs which have strong neuraminidase inhibitory effects. As with all Chinese formulas, they are more effective when used in conjunction with other herbs in a formula.