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Health and the September transition

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September is a month that is very important to health. Wisconsin culture and climate makes it a challenge to the body. Many factors come together in the month of September that can affect your health for the rest of the season.

The first important factor is weather. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners who pay attention to the cold and flu trends of their patients, know that colds and flus are more likely when there are rapid shifts of temperature, particularly when people are not prepared for it. A person may leave the house in the morning dressed for a seventy degree day, only to have a cold rain move in by the afternoon. Unlike temperature shifts in winter where the adjustment is how high a person zips a coat, temperature shifts in September often catch people ill prepared for the weather. A person who is chilled,( or suddenly overheated and over dressed) is stressed. When a person is stressed they are more likely to be unable to fight off the viruses that they come into contact with everyday.

The other factor besides being stressed by the weather or poor clothing choices is that people are exposed to new viruses. School is starting. Children and adults who have been apart and traveling through the summer are now coming back together. Everyone is carrying a new collection of viruses which get passed along at schools and daycare. The children pick up new viruses that get passed to parents and caregivers where those people pass them to co-workers who otherwise have no contact with kids.

Some people also have asthma and allergies to deal with. Often these people who have asthma and allergy symptoms at this time of year are responding to the drying of the air and the increase in dust in the air. Those people who are irritated by dust and the dry weather often are more susceptible to lung infections. They are also more likely to cough and sneeze. This spreads viruses and bacteria to coworkers and children increasing the rate of transmission.

The best response to September colds is prevention. Always be prepared for changing weather. Avoid contact with people who seem sick. Wash hands frequently and make sure to cough and sneeze into an elbow where the risk of transmission is decreased. A visit to a TCM provider can also help. A TCM practitioner can prescribe herbs that are specific to your body to help you, overcome allergy symptoms and defend against colds and flu. A TCM practitioner can also provide the herbal remedies and acupuncture treatments that can help clear a cold and flu faster.

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