Springtime Colds: What Grandma knew!

Springtime days are awesome, the sun is out, it’s warm, the birds and the animals are all doing their thing. So you put on just a T-shirt and go out for a long walk. That evening you get a sore throat and by the next morning it’s a full blown cold – what happened??

Certainly an opportunistic virus is obviously having a good time at your expense, but why now? The understanding that we constantly live together with a host of common microbes is becoming more accepted, hence the trigger must be something other than just infection. In Oriental medicine it has long been understood that this happens when you let down the guard of your external defences. In the West it’s called the immune system, in Eastern medicine it is called it your “wei qi”.

The “wei qi” controls the physical aspects of your outermost protective layer and includes your skin, body hair, the pores and the tiny dermal muscles that control them.  When you sweat, it opens them up as it should, but this also creates opportunity for a chill.  In Oriental medicine this opportunity is used by the metaphoric “pathogenic influence” to enter, such a wind or cold, or it creates a temporary decrease in your immune response from a Western view. A weak wei qi can also leave your system open even if you don’t sweat.

The weaker we are or the lower our energy levels, the easier this happens.  So, for the old or the very young, for those under high stress or just finished final exams, you must be careful not to catch chills, especially after sweating. The best choice to help this situation is by improving lifestyle where possible; eating right, getting enough sleep, reducing stress and so on.  In the meantime, dressing in layers to better regulate your temperature is a great help.  Also be careful of sitting or sleeping by open windows for extended time, especially when it is windy or if you are in a car.

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