At AAC we follow an integrated influenza & COVID-19 management strategy that incorporates all Australian government recommendations for the management of flu-like symptoms with Chinese herbal medicine management strategies for the management of these symptoms.

The purpose of this blog is to share our management strategy with you so that you know how to integrate Chinese herbal medicine into your treatment plan if you experience any flu-like or COVID-19 symptoms this winter.

At AAC we are encouraged by the fact that Chinese herbal medicine has an enormous amount of experience managing flu-like symptoms and severe respiratory infections. This is because Chinese herbal medicine strategies for managing these types of symptoms were developed 1800 years ago and have undergone a continuous process of refinement and development by generations of herbal medicine experts since that time!

Even at this time, Chinese medicine is playing a role in the Chinese government’s response to its own COVID-19 emergency.

If you experience the symptoms of influenza or COVID-19 (see below details), please consider following the AAC influenza and COVID-19 management strategy when seeking medical assistance for your condition.

AAC Influenza & COVID 19 management strategy summary

Step 1: seek medical diagnosis and treatment immediately
Step 2: self-isolate if hospitalisation is not required
Step 3: ensure quality personal hygiene practices
Step 4: request a telephone consultation with an AAC herbal medicine expert
Step 5: follow up consultations and management till resolution.

See our 5-step management plan video here.

AAC Influenza & COVID 19 management strategy details

The AAC Influenza & COVID 19 management strategy is a five (5) step processes. People experiencing symptoms and wanting AAC assistance are asked to follow the guidelines below;

Step 1: Seek medical advice/intervention immediately

This step involves first visiting your local GP, accident and emergency (A&E) department or respiratory clinic (see link below for details) for assessment and treatment. Please note that you would be expected to phone ahead and warn the medical practice of your condition. They will provide you with the appropriate instructions at that time. 

Step 2: Self-isolate

This step involves reducing the amount of contact you have with other people. It also means stopping direct contact with healthy individuals. E.g. handshaking, hugging, kissing etc.
See the following guidelines for COVID 19 specific self-isolation advice

Step 3: ensure quality personal hygiene practices

This step involves increasing hand washing practices and observing sneeze/cough etiquette. Carry antiseptic hand gel and apply whenever coughing or sneezing into tissues (or hand, crook of elbow). Used tissues should be disposed of immediately. People with symptoms should also consider wearing a surgical mask or a N95 mask to help prevent droplet transmission of the disease.

Step 4: Request a telephone consultation with AAC Chinese herbal medicine expert

Following consultation with your Dr or A&E department, you may wish to seek Chinese herbal medicine support to aid in your recovery.

AAC’s remote management policy

The AAC influenza and COVID 19 management policy involves remote management (see details below). This means that people with symptoms of influenza or COVID 19 are asked to maintain self-isolation practices and not present to clinic for assessment and treatment. Instead, they are asked to phone the clinic and request a telephone consultation for influenza or COVID-19 management.

Telephone consultations are similar to face-to-face consultations in that the practitioner will ask a lot of questions about your condition to ascertain which Chinese herbal medicine strategy is appropriate for you at that time. Once you are diagnosed according to Chinese medicine principles, you will be provided with an individualised herbal formula. This formula represents the first step in your management plan. It can be paid for over the telephone and arrangements will be made to deliver it to you, typically via overnight express delivery. Carpark pick up is also available (see carpark pick guidelines below).

Carpark pick guidelines

The following guidelines are mandated for car park pick up.

Organise pick up time with AAC staff; telephone clinic upon arrival at clinic car park; remain in vehicle; an AAC staff member will appear at clinic entrance (at top of ramp) and place formula onto a designated herb pick up station; the staff member will return to clinic and close entrance door, at which time, pick up person may approach the herb pick up station and collect herbs. Goal is minimum person-to-person contact and comply with social distancing recommendations.

Step 5: Follow up consultations and management until resolution

All patients receiving AAC influenza and COVID 19 management strategies in combination with their medicinal interventions will be closely supported by their AAC team until resolution. This will be achieved via regular follow up telephone consultations or text messages to check on progress and recovery. Patients can expect AAC management strategies to take approximately 3-4 weeks to complete.

Learn a little more about influenza & COVID 19

What is influenza?

Influenza, or ‘the flu’, is typically caused by infection with influenza viruses A, B and rarely C. It mainly affects the throat and lungs, but can also cause problems with the heart and rest of the body, especially in people with other health problems.

Signs and symptoms of influenza

The initial symptoms of influenza may be similar to those of other respiratory infections. Symptoms usually develop rapidly, one to three days after infection, and may include: the sudden onset of chills/fever; headache; sore throat; cough; muscle and joint pain; runny or stuffy nose and severe tiredness.

Symptoms in the elderly may also include:
  • Loss of appetite
  • Onset or increase of confusion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Increasing Chronic Obstructive Airways Disease (COAD) symptoms
How is it spread?

Influenza is mainly spread from person to person through droplets after an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through touching.
How long is someone with influenza infectious for?
Most people are usually infectious for three to four days after infection and may be infectious one to two days before symptoms appear.

Who is at risk?

Anyone can get influenza. People who are at higher risk include:

  • those aged 65 years of age and over;
  • those with chronic debilitating disease/s;
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 50 years of age and over; and
  • residents of long-term care establishments (e.g. residential aged care homes) or
  • people in housed in confinement institutions such as prisons.

See how to reduce your risk of catching influenza this flu season with our 8 simple steps to staying healthy in 2020 here

What is COVID 19 (AKA Coronavirus)?

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can make humans and animals sick. Some coronaviruses can cause illness similar to the common cold, while others can cause more serious diseases, including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The new coronavirus that we have been hearing about in the news lately originated in Hubei Province, China and the disease outbreak is named COVID-19.

Signs and symptoms of COVID 19

Signs and symptoms of COVID 19 include fever, a cough, sore throat, tiredness and shortness of breath. While coronavirus is of concern, it is important to remember that most people displaying symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or tiredness are likely suffering with a cold or other respiratory illness—not coronavirus.

How is it spread?

The coronavirus is most likely to spread from person-to-person through:

  • direct close contact with a person while they are infectious
  • close contact with a person with a confirmed infection who coughs or sneezes, or
  • touching objects or surfaces (such as door handles or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.
How long is someone with COVID 19 infectious for?

This is not currently known but people suspected to have COVID 19 are asked to remain in quarantine for a period of 14 days. This is because the latency period of COVID 19 is thought to be somewhere between 3-10 days (the extra 4 days are factored into account for any margin of error)

Who is at risk?

From previous experience with other coronaviruses, the people at most risk of serious infection are:

  • people with compromised immune systems, such as people with cancer
  • elderly people
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • very young children and babies, and
  • people with diagnosed chronic medical conditions.

What should I do if I experience the signs and symptoms of Influenza or COVID 19?

See AAC Influenza & COVID 19 management policy summary above

For more details about the Australian Government response plan for COVID 19, see link below.

Other references