Chinese medicine rolled out in flu fight

Top News | Riley Chan 25 Jul 2017

The Hospital Authority is depending on Chinese medicine departments of semi- private clinics to help relieve the flu crush at the accident and emergency departments of public hospitals.

According to figures released yesterday, 27,333 patients have attended such clinics since April compared with 26,924 for the same four-month period last year.

The authority has since 2003 established a Chinese medicine center for training and research in each of the SAR's 18 districts.

The clinics operate on a collaboration model involving the Hospital Authority, a non-governmental organization and a university, with the NGO the main operator.

Eric Ziea Tat-chi, chief of the authority's Chinese Medicine Department, said the figures indicate that is no real surge in the number of flu patients.

He also said there are 15 to 20 Chinese medicine practitioners at each of the 18 clinics, and since the staff and resources at the clinics could handle a patient increase of 20-30 percent each day there was no need to set up Chinese medicine sections within the A&E departments at public hospitals as has been suggested.

He also said that if more people sought treatment at the clinics during the peak flu season the department could consider extending the opening hours.

"But right now, we see no need for special arrangements or the reallocation of resources," Ziea said.

Ziea added that patients can complete a consultation within an hour at a Chinese medicine clinics compared waiting times that can stretch to hours at the A&E departments.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Medicine Department will report daily the number of suspected flu cases to the Centre for Health Protection to help track and contain the outbreak.

The authority has also consulted with Chinese medicine experts and revised flu treatment guidelines for registered Chinese medicine doctors.

Chen Wei, chief of Yan Chai Hospital's Chinese medicine service said a new recommended prescription, Ganluxiaodudan, can "clear heat" and "eliminate dampness", which are characteristics of this season's flu due to the hot and humid weather.

He also advised people to have proper rest and to have their meals at regular times. "Staying up late and drinking cold beverages will weaken the spleen, which may increase the risk of catching a cold," he said.

The authority also recommends boiling chrysanths, mint and beefsteak plants into a drink at home to prevent the summer flu.

A list of healthy drinks and medicines for flu prevention is available on the authority's website.

But Ziea warned that medicines should be taken under guidance from a registered Chinese medicine doctor.

He said too there is no scientific evidence to point to Chinese or western medicine being more effective in tackling flu.

But people who have flu symptoms such as coughing after receiving western treatment should visit a Chinese medicine doctor while those with serious flu symptoms or who are in a critical condition should seek western treatment.

Ziea added that a patient should always consider their personal condition before choosing a type of treatment as people react differently to Chinese and western therapies.

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