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Dear Fran: The Common Cold

Posted Jan 16 2011 12:00am
Written by admin on January 16, 2011

Dear Fran,

Out of curiosity. Why does cold symptoms appear differently in everyone? For example, when we catch the flu, my husband always gets the sore throat while my nose gets all plugged up and I sneeze a lot. Does that also mean alternative treatments for the cold also varies for everyone, instead of just taking Tylenol?

Concerned Reader

The Common Cold

Waking up with a sore throat,  fatigue, and muscle soreness is something we all dread. And the moment it visits us, we follow-up with remedies taught to us by friends and mothers, intaking all sorts of things from pills to home-brew remedies; all in good hope that we might cheat ourselves this time from hitting it big with the flu- the high fever, the dripping nose, and the dreaded bronchitis.

Well, what causes the Common Cold?

In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), cold is caused by the combination of external and internal factors. External factors are wind and/or cold, or the summer’s actual heat. Internal factors are examples of fatigue, digestive problems, stress, or weak constitution, inducing moments of low-defenses in the immune system.

Types of Colds

Body Type, Lifestyle and Behaviors

Our bodies, lifestyle and behaviors play important parts in deciding what type of cold we end up carrying.

Wind-Cold Candidates

  • seniors
  • toddlers
  • low-immune/very sick patients
  • chronic diarrhea
  • fear of cold
  • generally, not easy to sweat

Wind-Heat Candidates

  • young to middle-age men
  • fear of heat
  • carnivores
  • over-eating/indigestion/constipation

Heat-Humid Candidates

  • any age group can be susceptible to this type of cold

Wind-Heat (Weak) Candidates

  • young to middle-age women
  • catching a cold during menstruation cycle
  • high stress lifestyle
  • insomnia
  • fatigue
  • kidney/bladder or fluid imbalance disorders
  • menopause


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