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To beat a fever, fight fire with fire

No one needs to be told that weather changes have a great influence on health as well as emotions and feelings.

Especially now, when it is cold in the morning and at night and warm during the day, it is very hard for the body to regulate its temperature.

People easily catch colds at this time of year. And anyone who catches a cold at this time is more likely to develop a serious disease.

According to Oriental philosophy, people of "yin" nature - those who are more introverted, prefer darkness to light and frequently feel coldness in their extremities - are more likely to catch colds. And anyone who regularly feels coldness in their hands and feet because of the poor circulation or who suffers from diarrhea and stomachaches due to cold intestines, also has less resistance to colds.

A cold is a viral infection of the respiratory tract which usually causes sneezing, coughing, headache and fever. It results from encountering temperatures much lower than that of the human body's.

People who are physically fit or have a lot of "chi," or life force energy, are less likely to catch a cold when the temperature drops. On the contrary, people who lack chi or are in poor physical condition can easily come down with a cold.

Doctors of Oriental Medicine (OMD) rarely use medicines or antiviral drugs to bring down a fever. They would rather have a patient "sweat it out" by fighting fire with fire. This method is not recommended for anyone who has an extremely high fever, but it works wonders on most others.

The remedy is so simple that anyone can do it at home. The essence of the treatment - which is practically a Korean custom - is to intentionally bring about fever (heat) in the body and sweat.

To do this, OMDs recommend that you eat hot, spicy foods with a lot of red pepper, leek, garlic, ginger or any other spicy ingredients. After eating this concoction, sleep in a warm room to stimulate the body to sweat. Ginger tea, made from 10 grams of freshly chopped ginger and 1 liter of water, is also an effective remedy for colds, and helps relieve a sore throat as well.

In most cases, after a couple hours of sleeping and sweating, 90 percent of the first-stage cold symptoms - chills, fatigue and fever - will disappear or be greatly reduced. Gradually, second-stage symptoms like aches and pains will also vanish.

Simply put, the best way to overcome a cold is to sweat the fever out - not resist it.

For more information, contact Dr. Sin Min-sik at 501-3333/011-710-9812.

Updated: 10/21/1999

Korea Herald

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