Buddhist monks and Infections

Patient

Q: We have a monastery for two Buddhist monks (from Sri Lanka)in New Jersey. Over the last couple of years I feel one of them (my teacher) gets more than his share of colds during all seasons. He is treated each time by a doctor. Generally speaking would the fact that lay people visit this small suburban house (from which the monks rarely leave) at the rate of 36 or so a week (including children) be a major factor? Should not the monk be developing resistance to all the common "bugs" brought in the house? Additionally, he travels to California one weekend per month and sees many people in several teaching locations. Is his susceptibility increased by his unique lifestyle (air travel,etc.) Thank you!

Doctor

A:   Hello, I understand your worry about your teacher’s health. Surely the fact that he stays inside the house for most part of the day could be a risk factor for allergies that could be confused with common colds.
If the house in which he leaves in has a carpet, curtains, and is not well ventilated most of the allergens would keep on causing him a runny nose, continuous sneezing and other symptoms that may look like a common cold.
On the other hand; viruses are transmitted by direct contact and because he keeps contact with many people during the day increases the chances for him to catch a virus. It will be recommended for him to take plenty of fluids, he could continue his antihistamines and he might also want to take vitamin C and get the flu shot annually. I wish him a prompt recovery.

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