Understanding Influenza Viruses

流感疫苗, more commonly known as flu, is a contagious viral infection caused by a group of influenza viruses. Though the manifested symptoms may seem mild, statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) show up to 650,000 people die of respiratory diseases related to seasonal flu each year. While cases of influenza are deteced all year round, flu viruses occur more commonly during the winter and spring seasons in countries with four seasons.

How do you know if you have caught the flu? Or is it a cold? We may notice symptoms of the common cold such as runny nose, sneezing and sore throat during the initial stages of a flu. However, the onset of flu is usually rapid while a cold progresses much more slowly and its symptoms are milder than that of the flu’s. 

If you are young and healthy, the symptoms of influenza usually resolve on its own within a few weeks. However there are certain risk factors which increases the susceptibility to the seasonal influenza. Children younger than 12 months of age and the elderly who are 65 years and above are especially vulnerable to the influenza virus.

People with compromised immune systems, often due to cancer treatments, use of certain medications or drugs, underlying medical conditions or chronic illnesses, are more likely to be infected with influenza and the risk of developing complications also increases. Common complications may include serious respiratory problems such as pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma episodes and cardiovascular issues. For the elderly with underlying medical conditions, developing pneumonia can be fatal.

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Seasonal Flu Vaccination

While it is important to stay healthy and maintain hand hygiene to reduce the spread of infection, doctors also recommend taking the flu vaccination yearly to prevent yourself from the seasonal flu.

Taking a single dose of flu vaccine does not provide lifelong prevention as the yearly seasonal flu vaccine is designed to protect an individual from three to four influenza viruses which are expected to be most common during the flu season. Hence, it is important to take the flu vaccination yearly to protect yourself against the virus strains prevalent each year and provide  免疫力 against these viruses.

Protection Against the Flu with TCM

Besides flu vaccination, 中医药 believes that a strong immune system and healthy lifestyle habits can deter the occurrence of seasonal flu. TCM believes that changing seasons bring about external pathogens which attack the body, such as wind, heat, cold, dampness, dryness and fire.

They may also combine in a pair to spread disease, depending on the seasonal influence or changes in the environment. For example, in the spring season, the wind pathogen is dominant and may combine with either the cold or hot pathogen to form the wind-cold or wind-heat syndromes, which will manifest different symptoms in the body.

A common flu of the wind-cold syndrome will show symptoms such as mild or no fever, aversion to cold, runny nose with clear nasal discharge, sneezing and no sore throat. On the contrary, a common flu of the wind-heat syndrome will display symptoms such as fever, aversion to wind, runny nose with yellow thick nasal discharge and sore throat. 

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Supplements to Help Manage Flu Symptoms


For people with sinusitis, they usually start their mornings with a runny nose, nasal congestion and sneezing. These discomforts can be alleviated with 全连“鼻舒灵” which contains Chinese herbs such as Flos Magnoliae (Xin Yi Hua) and Fructus Xanthii (Cang Er Zi) commonly used for allergic symptoms of nasal congestion and sneezing.

Cold and Flu Capsules

All Link Cold and Flu Capsules provide an alternative to antibiotics and antiviral medicines in Western Medicine, which may have side effects. All Link Cold and Flu Capsules contain natural herbal ingredients specially targeted at relieving cold and flu symptoms such as fever, sore throat, headache and runny nose. The special herbal formulation clears body heat and eliminates toxins, contributing to a speedy and spontaneous recovery.

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To target more specific symptoms, there is also 全连“速效止咳灵胶囊”全连“冬凌喉痛灵片”. All Link Cough Relief Capsules can relieve persistent cough which is often accompanied by ‘heaty’ symptoms such sore throat and thick yellow phlegm. The herbal formulation consists of herbs to clear lung heat, dissolve phlegm and relieve cough. Fel Serpentis (She Dan) and Bulbus Fritillariae Cirrhosae (Chuan Bei) are the main Chinese herbs in this herbal formula. These two herbs are effective in nourishing the lung and reducing persistent cough. Herbs present in All Link Sore Throat Relief Tablets, such as Herba Rabdosiae Rucescentis (Dong Ling Cao) and Fructus Canarii (Qing Guo), work synergistically to clear heat, reduce inflammation and swelling of the throat. It is suited for people with a hoarse or loss of voice due to inflammation of the larynx.