Dr Shahistha Banu C
Influenza also called the flu is caused by a human influenza virus infection of the upper respiratory tract. Symptoms typically appear one to two days after infection and last around a week, varying in type and severity.
One of the most common Outpatient visit in our daily practice. it occurs as an epidemic pandemic or sporadic disease.
It is characterised by sudden onset with fever, extreme fatigue, muscle soreness, sneezing, sore throat, runny or blocked nose, cough and headache. Complicating to pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. These symptoms can last up to two weeks and usually require the patient to rest completely for several days. Flu is responsible for many deaths each year and can be dangerous in very young or elderly patients and in those with an existing chronic condition such as diabetes or asthma.
Homoeopathy is the system of medicine that treats the patients considering the individualistic characteristic of the patient and adopts the holistic approach.it is essential to understand various homoeopathic remedies in the treatment of influenza.
- To understand the influenza its clinical features and complications and prevention.
- To understand homoeopathic management of influenza with help of materia medica .
KEY WORDS : Influenza, human influenza virus, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome
Influenza is acute highly infectious febrile illness caused by influenza virus transmitted from person to person through respiratory droplets disseminated during sneezing, coughing and talking.
Most common influenza virus are H1N1( SWINE FLU) AND H5N1( BIRD FLU).
The incubation period of influenza is one to four days and infected adults are usually contagious from the day before the onset of symptoms until five days after the symptoms began.
The signs and symptoms of uncomplicated influenza usually resolve within a week, although a cough and fatigue may persist (POST INFLUENZAL WEAKNESS).
Influenza spread more easily in the winter months due to the cold weather – we tend to spend less time outdoors and turn to heating up indoors. This, together with close contact with others in the home, at school, at work or on public transport creates a perfect environment for the spread of a virus. And the bad news is, there is no cure! So we must concentrate on alleviating the symptoms and strengthening the body’s natural defences.
Homoeopathy plays important role here to elevate the immune system by the constitutional prescriptions.
COMMON SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF THE FLU INCLUDE:
- Fever over 100.4 F (38 C)
- Aching muscles
- Chills and sweats
- Dry, persistent cough
- Fatigue and weakness
- Nasal congestion
- Sore throat
Otitis media, bacterial sinusitis, secondary bacterial pneumonia, and less commonly viral pneumonia and respiratory failure. Complications are also caused by escalation of underlying disease.
People at higher risk of developing flu complications include:
- Young children under age 5, and especially those under 12 months
- Adults older than age 65
- Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
- Pregnant women and women up to two weeks postpartum
- People with weakened immune systems
- People who have chronic illnesses, such as asthma, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease and diabetes
- The risk of hospitalisation is highest in people 65 years and older, in very young children and in those with chronic medical conditions.
- Wash your hands- Thorough and frequent hand-washing is an effective way to prevent many common infections. Or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers if soap and water aren’t readily available.
- Contain your coughs and sneezes – Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. To avoid contaminating your hands, cough or sneeze into a tissue or into the inner crook of your elbow.
- Avoid crowds- The flu spreads easily wherever people congregate, in child care centres, schools, office buildings, auditoriums and public transportation. By avoiding crowds during peak flu season, you reduce your chances of infection. And if you’re sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever subsides so that you lessen your chance of infecting others.
Homeopathy, however has a lot to offer, both in the prevention and treatment of influenza.
MAJOR REMEDIES USEFUL IN THE ACUTE TREATMENT OF FLU SYMPTOMS.
- First signs especially after a chill, thirsty, possibly anxious, highly restless –Aconite
- Sudden onset high fever; hot, red, throbbing headache, sensitive to light, noise– Belladonna
- Streaming nose (possibly eyes too), sneezing, clear discharge often thicker after 24-48 hours, The characteristic discharge from the mucous membranes is watery or thick whitish, like the white of an egg prefers to suffer alone and shuns sympathy The person is irritable in nature. Desires salt- Natrum muriaticum
- Headache, pains all over, irritable, nauseous, (also good for a hangover!). Nose congested with little discharge, chilly , cannot get warm, even in bed.-Nux vomica
- Established symptoms, headache, shivers, fatigue, aches and pains, alternating hot and cold, sorenose, very sleepy. tend to have an unpleasant headache that is usually throbbing, affecting the back of the head radiating into the neck and there is a generalised aching soreness in the muscles. Despite their sensitiveness and dry mouth,not usually very thirsty. This lack of thirst is another keynote. ’flu is rather slow in onset, usually coming on over six to eight hours and produces primarily a feeling of intense weariness. The patient is very dull and tired, looks bleary-eyed and sleepy, with heavy, drooping eyelids being a keynote-gelsemium
- Very thirsty, sore muscles/bones, headache, worse on movement. most noticeable factor is the severity of the pains which are a severe ache involving all the bones of the skeleton – arms, legs, shoulders, back, hips and particularly the shin bones-Eupatorium perf
- Probably the best remedy for “gastric ’flu” influenza with gastroenteritis, vomiting and diarrhoea . Here, the patient tends to feel worse between midnight and one o’clock in the morning and tends to have a fever, followed by chills and rigors. The face is hot and patients crave open air, yet the body feels chilled. They feel worse for eating and drinking, but are thirsty for small sips of water. There is a marked restlessness punctuated by collapse or prostration, and the patient tends to have the classical anxiety often out of all proportion to the severity of the symptoms.-Arsenicum album
- it has good action on mucous membrane of the nose and the lachrymal glands, producing coryza and symptoms like hay-fever. There is spasmodic sneezing one after another. symptoms of hay-fever or allergic rhinitis with itchy nose and fluent coryza. Either nostril stuffed up, inspiration through nose labored, snoring. Violent sneezing is occurred from time to time, shaking abdomen followed by lachrymation. There is runny nose with severe frontal headache and redness of eyelids. –Sabadilla
- One of the most commonly used Homeopathic medicines for Allergic Rhinitis or Hay Fever. It is generally used in the symptoms of severe runny nose that drips from the tip of nose with watery eyes. There is burning of nose due to over secretion mucous. Along with the watery nasal discharge there is watery eye. There is profuse sneezing associated with runny nose and watery eyes.- Allium cepa
- Fever, catarrh, burning nasal discharge, sneezing ,Irritation and tingling in nose with constant desire to sneeze, Nasal discharge burning ,Burning watering of eyes May have dry wheezy cough– Arsenicum iod
- Slow onset, mild fever, worse at night, better from cold, nosebleeds- Ferrum phos
- Catarrh in nose with thick discharge, ears feel blocked, worse at night, better in fresh air and with attention from loved one – Pulsatilla
- Dry, painful cough, worse at night, thirsty – often most effective as a linctus. – Bryonia
- A special remedy for the prevention and treatment of colds and flu. Often prescribed by homeopathic doctors for at risk patients -Influenzinum
- in Europe and America, a very popular homeopathic product called Oscillococcinum can be bought over the counter for the prevention and treatment of colds and flu.
- “Tailor-made” ’flu preparations are produced by many homeopathic pharmacies. For example, one preparation contains the homeopathic dilution of the current influenza virus amongst other things, such as a combination of previous ’flu virus potencies. The recommended dosage is 30c three times per day once a fortnight during the ’flu season. Another example provides a combination of Influenzinum 30c and Bacillinum 30c. The recommended dosage is one dose a week, increased to once a day if in contact with influenza.
- API textbook of medicine volume 2 part 17 infectious disease
- A concise repertory of homoeopathic medicnes Dr SR Phatak
- Pocket manual of homoeopathic materia medica and repertory by William boericke
Dr Shahistha Banu C
POST GRADUATE DEPT OF MEDICINE
GOVT HOMOEOPATHIC MEDICAL COLLEGE AND HOSPITAL BANGALORE