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Causes: In the case of common fevers, where there are no complications or where the exact cause in not known, unless the temperature goes beyond tolerable limits no medication should be given because such a fever might be the way of nature to get rid of the various poisons accumulated in the body. In the modern age, people, being used to an ease-loving life and habits, rush to the doctors the moment they find that their temperature has gone a little above the normal, but the old Hakims and the Vaids in the last century, when the modern system of medicine had not made many inroads into our culture, frowned on immediate medication for a fever. They merely advised the patient to fast and take nothing but water for a couple of days. The patient generally threw off the malady in 48 to 72 hours and was none the worse for his trouble.

Treatment: The commonsense point of view exhibited by the Hakims and Vaids of old still holds good since it is in total conformity with the laws of nature. Fever, unless it is accompanied by dangerous portents, e.g., a closing glottis as in diptheria, should not be interfered with for the first three days. If it does not subside then or if it goes beyond manageable limits, for example, if the temperature threatens to rise above 106o F. action should be started to bring it back to normal. The very first thing (and completely safe too) to be undertaken in the case of rising fever is to bathe the forehead of the patent with cold water with which rose water or a little vinegar has been mixed. Or, cold compresses should be kept on his head if the temperature is above 103o F. If in spite of the cold compresses the fever continues to rise and reaches 106o immediate emergency procedure should be started. The clothes of the patient should be removed and he should be wrapped in a cotton sheet dipped in ice-cold water and a blanket wrapped over it. The temperature would start coming down. The sheet should be changed every fifteen minutes. Or, the body of the patient should be bathed in cold water while the fan is working at full speed. When the temperature has come down to 103o F. only a cold compress on the head would do. At the first sign of falling temperature, cold compresses should also be discontinued.

During fever, the patient should not be fed. Most people lose their appetite during fever and that should be taken as a lesson from nature. It is not natural for a person to feel hungry when his system is fighting a fever and there is no earthly reason to forcefeed him under the mistaken notion that fever will weaken him if he is allowed to go hungry. Doctors do take precautions to see that the patient does not eat any solids when he is in the grip of typhoid, but in other fevers this precaution is not, unfortunately, taken. The only thing that a patient suffering from fever should be allowed is fruit juices. Or, juice of a lemon with a glass of water to which a pinch of salt might be added should be given to him. The patient must take as much water as he can drink, because the heat of the fever tends to dry up the humours of the body. Excessive lack of liquids may lead to dehydration which is much more difficult to handle than an ordinary fever.

Remedies: As for medication, the Tulsi plant and its tender leaves are a specific for many fevers. During the rainy season when malaria and dengue fever are aboard, particularly in hot and humid climates, some tender leaves of Tulsi boiled with one's afternoon tea act as a prophylactic. In the case of acute fevers of unknown origin, a decoction made of about 12 grammes of Tulsi leaves boiled with powdered Cardamom in half a litre of water should be mixed with sugar and milk to bring down temperature. Powder of the root of the Horse Radish (Shigru) is another remedy for common fevers in their preliminary stages. Powder of leaves of Indrani are also beneficial.


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