Prevention of Colds/Influenza/Viral Fever
There is hardly anyone who may not have suffered from seasonal Influenza or Viral fever. The fever which is viral in origin and usually strikes during change of season may be in the form of cold or flu and also dry types not accompanied by watery or phlegmatic discharge. Whatever form it may take, it remains very distressing and irritating ailment. The most problematic aspect of this ailment is that it has no cure in the modern Allopathic treatment. Allopathic physicians even to this day concede that cold, if treated takes seven days to cure; without treatment it gets well within a week. That nasty virus which is supposed to be cause of this irritating disease defies every chemotherapic treatment. The causes in the Allopathic school are infection through air or water and allergy. The disease is one of the commonest and most trivial but saps one’s strength, energy and vitality and, most important, time. In this fast paced modern life, time is the most precious commodity. And an attack of cold eats away one full week of your valuable time. Antipyretic, analgesic and anti-histamine (anti allergic) drugs are freely employed in cold and influenza and also viral fever in general. But these drugs act only as symptom suppressors. They are not without adverse side effects on the liver and blood. Most importantly, they cannot prevent recurrence of attack during subsequent period of season – change. There are people who suffer at every change of season, with the result that they have attacks of cold and influenza at least three times a year.
What can be done to prevent the frequent onset of cold and viral influenza? And if it occurs, what can be done to mitigate its symptoms and duration without producing any adverse side effects? Let us see what answer is available in other schools of medicine, especially Ayurveda.
Naturopathy would suggest fasting till the cold is gone. The required duration of fasting may be upto two or three days depending upon severity. Alongwith fasting is suggested intake of warm water. This kind of treatment, though extremely effective, is difficult to carry out for the average person. Homoeopathy has a number of different types of drugs which are prescribed according to individual symptoms. In practice, Homoeopathic treatment is hardly found to be effective in cases of colds.
As per Ayurveda, cold and influenza result from sudden changes of temperature and from dietary errors. Accumulation of body humours in excess of their normal levels results in episodes of colds and influenza which are really attempts of the body to rid itself of the excess humours or doshas. Therefore, intake of food which is not in accordance with one’s constitution or ‘prakriti’ is the chief cause of colds and influenza as also the seasonal viral fever. Ayurvedic prescriptions for preventing and treating these ailments are outlined below:
Stick to such diet which is compatible with your physical constitution (prakriti).
Avoid sudden changes in temperature. Many types of excellent herbal formulations are available in Ayurveda texts which are very efficacious in cases of colds and influenza. Once the basic humour which had risen is controlled by such herbal decoctions, the course of the disease is cut short and the patient gets total relief within 2 to 3 days. There may, however, be episodes of colds and influenza in which there is very high fever of the range of 104 to 105 deg F. In case fever is within 100 deg F during the acute attack, herbal drugs need not be supplemented with antipyretics. However if fever is higher than that level, it is prudent to give antipyretics to the patient so that fever can be brought down.