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INTERMITTENT FEVERS (MALARIA AND OTHERS)

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Causes: Intermittent fever is a generic term for fevers like Malaria which have a tendency to return again and again to haunt the sufferer. They continue for some time, subside completely and then again strike the patient. The main variety of such fever is, of course, malaria.

Malaria was at one time supposed to be caused by bad air as its name indicates (from the Italian mala aria-bad air) and is also known as ague, paludism, jungle fever, marsh fever and periodic fever. In the beginning it may come on every day, every second or third day and if untreated it may assume a chronic form called malarial cachexia with a tendency to frequent relapses. In the end of the nineteenth century it was proved conclusively to be caused by a variety of mosquitoes, the Anopheles. It is found throughout the world, but is endemic to hot, humid climates where there are marshes or long stretches of stagnant water. Malaria s generally of three types, depending upon the parasites which cause it. They are: (i) the tertian fever; (ii) the quarten fever; and (iii) the malignant tertian malaria.



The malaria parasites lodge themselves into the liver of their victim wherefrom they are released into the blood stream causing all the havoc associated with the fever. Before the fever strikes, there are symptoms like headache, vague pains throughout the body, chilliness and a slight rise of temperature. Malaria has three stages: (i) the cold stage; (ii) the hot stage; and (iii) the sweating stage. In the first the sufferer feels chilled to the bone and no amount of blankets or quilts heaped over him give him relief. But even, though he feels cold, his temperature is rising; it sometimes goes to 106oF. This stage lasts for some hours after which the second begins and when the fever has reached its peak, the third stage of sweating begins. There is profuse perspiration and a gradual lowering of body temperature as the sweat cools it.

If malaria is quartan, there is an intermission of two days before the next attack. In tertian fever, the attack comes on alternate days. But in aestivo-autumnal fever each attack may last considerably more than one day and the next attack may come on the heels of the earlier one.

Malaria, sometimes, continues for many hours in the second stage; the fever continues to rise even beyond 106oF. If hyperpyrexia develops the temperature may continue to increase till death ensues.

Preventive steps: The preventive aspect in malaria is as important as the curative one. What is of the essence is that one should protect himself from mosquito bites. Public health measures like cleanliness, environmental hygiene and eradication of stretches of stagnant water should be undertaken. But in view of the fact that the malaria-spreading mosquitoes have become immune to the chemicals used to destroy them, keeping one's body covered from mosquitoes is perhaps the best prophylactic. Another factor which plays an important part is the susceptibility to the disease: people with a strong vital force are better able to withstand the onslaught of the malady.

The virulence of malarial fever can be reduced if the victim is given a mild laxative before an attack. When the attack comes, cool water should be given to the patient to drink and the moment the temperature goes beyond 103oF. cold compresses to the head as described in section on general fevers should be applied. If the fever continues to rise and threatens to cross the 107oF. mark, emergency procedures like wrapping his body in sheets dipped in cold water, described earlier, should be started.

Another prophylactic against malaria is the Holy Basil (Tulsi) which has been used in India for centuries. Some practitioners of the Indian systems of medicine recommended the infusion of some leaves of green basil with your daily tea. If 180 grains of the juice of the Tulsi plant mixed with 45 grains of powder of Black Pepper are given to the patient in the cold stage of the fever, the virulence of the malady is checked. The temperature in that case will not go beyond manageable limits. Alternatively, one tola of leaves of Fever Nut Tree (Karanjwa) should be ground in water with 7 grains of Pepper and the water drunk after straining. A few days use gives protection against malaria.

Remedies: Three mashas of Lime (used to spread over betel leaves for paan) should be dissolved in 5 tolas of water and the juice of one Lemon added to it. The supernatant water should be taken before the attack of the fever; it is a specific for quartan fever.

Alum roasted over a hot plate and powdered should be taken four hours before the expected attack of malaria and every two hours after it tot get relief.

The red shell of the Butter Seeds (Tukhum Palaspapra) should be mixed with an equal weight of kernel of Fever Nut (Karanjwa) and ground fine with a little water; pills of the size of Bengal Gram should be made and four hours before the attack of fever-be it quartan, tertian or quotidian-one pill should be taken every two hours to reduce the virulence of the attack.




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