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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Some aspects of Influenza with homoeopathic mode of treatment -

Influenza is an acute infectious disease of the respiratory tract which occurs in sporadic, epidemic and pandemic forms. It is caused by the Influenza virus which is a RNA virus and belongs to the family of Orthomyxovirus and has the unique ability to undergo antigenic variation. The route of entry is the respiratory tract. Though the disease is generally confined to the respiratory tract, very rarely it may spread to some other organs. The virus is classified into three serotypes, A, B and C, based on the antigenic nature of the ribonucleoprotein antigen. Influenza B is associated with localized outbreaks of milder nature such as in camps, whereas Influenza A is the cause of worldwide pandemics and epidemics. Influenza C rarely produces disease in humans. Influenza also occurs in animals and birds in nature. But isolates from nonhuman hosts belong to type A. Influenza viruses belonging to B and C types are exclusively human viruses and have not been found to be associated with infection in animals and birds. The unique ability of the virus to cause epidemics and pandemics is due to the frequent antigenic variations in it. Major shifts in the antigenic structure of influenza A form the essential conditions for pandemics. On the other hand, minor shifts in the virus results in less severe epidemics. A major reservoir of influenza virus is believed to exist in animals and birds and the source of infection is usually a clinical case or a sub-clinical case.

Spread of infection- Spread is mainly by droplet infection but fomites and direct contact may also be the cause.

Incubation Period-1-3 days.

Onset- Sudden.

Clinical Features- Most of the cases are sub-clinical. The disease varies in severity from a mild coryza to fulminating and rapidly fatal pneumonia. There is high rise of temperature all on a sudden with shivering and generalized aching in the limbs. This is associated with severe headache, soreness of the throat and a persistent dry cough that may last for several weeks. Abdominal pain and vomiting may also occur, especially in type B infection in children. There may be mild conjunctivitis and nasal congestion may or may not be present. During acute stage of the disease there may be flushing of the face and the pulse shows tachycardia. But all these symptoms usually disappear within a few days, an uncomplicated case usually resolving within 2-7 days, except asthenia which persists for several days or weeks.

Complications- Secondary bacterial infection, particularly with Strep.pneumonia and H. influenza is often found. The most important one is pneumonia which is rarer and is caused by Staph.aureus or very rarely by the virus itself. Cardiac complications like congestive cardiac failure (CCF) or myocarditis and postinfectious encephalomyelitis may also rarely occur after infection with this virus.

Prophylaxis- Protection by influenza vaccine is not always successful and is of short duration, lasting for about a year. The major problem is the frequent change in its antigenic make up. Hence new vaccines are to be prepared each time to cover each change in antigenicity of the virus which is a great hindrance to the fight against an outbreak of influenza at the very beginning.

Besides bed rest, the following homeoeoathic medicines may be used-
Bry (Bryonia) 30, Bell ( Belladonna) 6, Rhus tox ( Rhus Toxicodendron) 30,
Eup.perf (Eupatorium Perfoliatum) 6 or 30 should be used separately one after another at an interval of usually ½ to 1 hour several times in a day depending on severity and nature of the condition. Bryonia is especially useful in fever with pain stitching and or tearing in nature as well as in fever with dry cough. Belladonna is particularly useful in a high feverish state with mild or no signs of toxaemia. It may also be used effectively when there is distension of superficial blood vessels. Rhus tox 30 acts better in chill with dry cough and or restlessness. It is particularly useful when the bowels are loose. Eupatorium Perfoliatum is particularly useful in fever with much frontal ache but without thirst during chill and also in bone pains. For high fever, Ferrum Phos 6x should be used repeatedly in between the above four medicines. If there is any chest congestion, Antim. tart ( Antimonium tartaricum) 6 may be used several times depending on severity of the condition. Lach. ( Lachesis) may be tried in presence of hot flushes and hot perspiration.
Labels-Antim. tart ( Antimonium tartaricum), CCF, Encephalomyelitis, Eup.perf (Eupatorium Perfoliatum), Lach. ( Lachesis), Myocarditis, Pandemic, RNA., Sporadic, Staph.aureus, Ferrum Phos, Chill, Toxaemia, Bry (Bryonia) , Bell ( Belladonna) , Rhus tox ( Rhus Toxicodendron) , Chest, Congestion, Blood vessel, Strep.pneumonia, H. influenza, Orthomyxovirus, Serotype, Epidemic, Ribonucleoprotein, Antigen.
IN SHORT-Influenza is an acute infectious disease of the respiratory tract caused by the Influenza virus which is manifested by a sudden high rise of temperature with shivering and generalized aching in the limbs & is also associated with severe headache, soreness of the throat and a persistent dry cough that may last for several weeks. It may be complicated by secondary ingection. Protection by influenza vaccine is not of much value due to the frequent change in its antigenic make up. Treatment is as mentioned above.
But in every case a doctor should be consulted.

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