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Viral Infections: Folk vs Science

chinese head calfViral Infections: Folk vs. Science

Just this week, I was listening the health news on my favorite radio show, the People’s Pharmacy. Joe and Terry reported a scientific study showing that lowering the fever in cases of influenza with Tylenol or Ibuprofen was proven to increase the recovery time from the infection. I found this to be another of case of folk wisdom finally found to be true after all (FWFTAA).

When you had a fever in the old days, you would cover up with blankets and perhaps open up the windows in the room. The former caused the sweating so happily portrayed in movies just before “the fever broke”. The latter served as infection control in the environment and provided clean air for the patient. Fever is truly the body’s way of driving out the pathogens! These days, we reach for the Dayquil or Tylenol and force ourselves to keep going. Hey, maybe that’s why the patients in the influenza study recovered more slowly!

Once again, in veterinary medicine we were taught 30 years ago that calves who were chilled and had a reduced body temperature got more viral infections such as Rotavirus. It was shown that viruses love a lower body temperature and are able to replicate faster at a subnormal temperature. I have banked on that information for years. Practically, dairy calves must be housed out of the wind and they must have dry bedding to avoid being chilled. Plenty of fuel by increasing feeding to 3 times daily in cold weather will allow them to keep the body temperature up to normal. Ask any successful dairy farmer and he/she knows this. Sharing knowledge between human and veterinary medicine is a great thing for we are all mammals and have much physiology in common.

In studying Traditional Chinese Medicine, we learned about an acupuncture point called the “Wind Door” at Governing Vessel 16. It must be covered or warmed to prevent external wind from entering the body. Guess where it is located? At the back of the neck! How many times did our mothers tell us to keep a scarf on our neck so we don’t catch a cold? I love the way Chinese medicine describes the functions of the points and conditions in a way that explains so much. Through the years, I have learned to explain all sorts of connections in animal diseases that our conventional medicine cannot explain.

Pearls of wisdom handed down through the generations, scientific studies, and Chinese terminology bring together knowledge that is most certainly true. Modern science and the trend toward evidence based medicine has many pitfalls, whereas the “tried and true” passed through centuries holds as much truth for me. Thank heavens for FWFTAA because I need an occasional smile from the news, that’s for sure:)

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February 4, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Love the acronym FWFTAA! So funny and true. I’m not a veterinarian but very intrigued with the connections between animals and humans. Based on research I’ve done to help my dog with her seizures, I’ve become a believer in holistic methods and excited to see your work at Va Tech (I’m a proud graduate of the class of ’83, now living in NH). As it happens, I’m reading James Herriot’s books, filled with wonderful stories of his farm visits to take care of cows and your blog post made me think he would have been a proponent of FWFTAA as well. Thanks for this post, I really enjoyed it.

    Comment by PeopleSense Consulting LLC | February 4, 2014 | Reply


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