City Weekend - - Life & Style -  Bidisha Mul­lick

his time of the year when the tem­per­a­ture sud­denly drops below 20-de­gree centi­grade and the weather be­comes dry with bouts of smoggy days, many of us suf­fer from prob­lems like a runny nose, throat ir­ri­ta­tion, sneez­ing, and itchy eyes.Symp­toms of com­mon cold, but if they con­tinue for more than a week, it is more likely you are suf­fer­ing from al­ler­gic rhini­tis, com­monly known as hay fever. Typ­i­cally trig­gered by en­vi­ron­men­tal al­ler­gens such as pollen, dust, etc. - it is a sticky prob­lem that does not bid adieu quickly. Al­though most com­mon in spring, Beijing's dry win­ter and ex­treme air pol­lu­tion traps mi­cropar­ti­cles in the air trig­ger­ing the same con­di­tion.

Tra­di­tional Chi­nese Medicine (TCM) is a pop­u­lar method for treat­ing this is­sue. Ac­cord­ing to TCM a dis­ease or ill­ness is caused due to an im­bal­ance of the five el­e­ments in our body. Dr. Kim, a well-known TCM prac­ti­tioner at In­ter­na­tional Med­i­cal Cen­ter, says, “The con­cept of five el­e­ments sounds over­whelm­ing. Thus, it is bet­ter to say that TCM be­lieves that our bod­ies can self-heal if cer­tain points of our body are stim­u­lated, ei­ther with herbal med­i­ca­tion or ther­a­pies that have evolved through cen­turies.”


A per­son suf­fer­ing from a com­mon cold will also com­plain ei­ther of body ache, rise in body tem­per­a­ture, or a cough with spu­tum. While the com­mon cold van­ishes in a week or ten days, even if no medicine is taken, al­ler­gic rhini­tis takes longer to cure. It is also marked with stuffy or runny nose, but the fluid from the nose is usu­ally clear.


Un­like Al­lopa­thy, TCM does not use steroids, and a single ses­sion might not be enough. Still, it does pro­vide a com­plete cure with­out caus­ing any side ef­fects. Chronic or an pro­longed con­di­tion takes a longer time to heal; hence pa­tience is nec­es­sary. A de­tailed di­ag­no­sis is re­quired to find the root cause. So be pre­pared to an­swer elab­o­rate ques­tions in­clud­ing sleep pat­tern and stress level at work. Doc­tors of­ten al­ter medicines and treat­ment af­ter ev­ery fol­low-up. De­pend­ing on the sever­ity of the con­di­tion, ther­apy like acupunc­ture or cup­ping is sug­gested. One can also con­tinue with Western med­i­ca­tion along with TCM, but should keep in mind to avoid spicy, fatty, oily food, and al­co­hol. “Most im­por­tant, one should choose TCM with an open mind and not be skep­ti­cal about it,” said Dr. Kim. Over-the-counter TCM pills are avail­able at re­puted phar­ma­cies; how­ever, it is al­ways ad­vis­able to con­sult a doc­tor.


As pre­ven­tion is al­ways bet­ter than cure, Dr. Kim sug­gests us­ing a mask and main­tain­ing a clean oral and nasal cav­ity. "A clean nasal cav­ity is as im­por­tant as good oral health. Use ster­ile wa­ter sprays or clean­ing swabs to clean your nasal cav­ity ev­ery day, twice daily. Avoid foods that trig­ger an al­ler­gic re­ac­tion and al­ways wash your­self when back home”, sug­gested Dr. Kim. Ad­di­tion­ally, there are cer­tain points known to TCM that can help: 1) Point between the eye­brows where the bridge of the nose meets the fore­head, 2) the cor­ner edge of each nos­tril and 3) the web­bing between the thumb and in­dex fin­ger (not for preg­nant women). Press hard enough for a few min­utes un­til you feel some sore­ness and then mas­sage in a cir­cu­lar mo­tion.

Hay fever isn't grave but ex­tremely ir­ri­tat­ing. Only proper treat­ment can re­lieve the dis­com­fort and it is al­ways ad­vis­able to con­sult a doc­tor if the symp­toms per­sist.

Dr. Sunny Kim from

In­ter­na­tional Med­i­cal Cen­ter

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