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Causes and Symptoms:Influenza is an acute disease caused by virus and there have been many epidemics of influenza which have taken a heavy toll of human life. In the nineteenth century there were five massive influenza epidemics which took a heavy toll; in the present century the severest epidemic hit the world between 1918 and 1919 killing 15 to 20 millions.

Influenza generally strikes at the junction of the seasons. Its main symptoms are: irritation and later inflammation of nose pharynx and larynx, nose bleed, a dry hacking cough, fever which ranges between 101oF. To 102oF. and generalized pains and aches throughout the body. The catarrh accompanying influenza is sometimes subdued leading the physician to suspect it to be a case of typhoid. The inflammation of the throat and pains and aches throughout the body are the leading symptoms.

Treatment: Because of the infectious nature of the disease, a person suffering from influenza should, as far as possible, be segregated and pots containing his nasal and throat exudations should be covered with lime or ashes to kill the germs abounding in them. The prophylactic measures recommended during an epidemic are: living in clean, open air, light food, guarding against indigestion and constipation and exposure to cold and moisture, abstinence from curds and ice, and saline gargles.

If the patient is constipated, he should be given a mild laxative: six mashas each of Aniseed and Senna boiled in litre of water and sweetened with 2 tolas of gur should help his bowels to move. The best remedy for influenza is, perhaps, the long pepper. Half a teaspoonful of the powder of Long Pepper mixed with two teaspoonfuls of Honey and half a teaspoonful of juice of Ginger taken thrice would nip the influenza in the bud if taken in the preliminary stages of the disease. A gramme of Tulsi leaves and an equal quantity of dry Ginger should be boiled together and taken as tea. Another effective remedy is to drink milk with which a teaspoonful of the powder of Turmeric has been added thrice in the day. It prevents complications arising from influenza and also activates the liver which becomes sluggish during the attack.

Other remedies are:

A decoction of one tola of leaves of Tulsi, seven Cloves and three mashas of Common Salt with litre of water (it should be boiled till half of it is left) relieves the symptoms quickly. Two mashas each of Ajwain and Cinnamon should be boiled in water and the decoction taken. Or, one tola of Gul Banafsha and seven grains of Pepper should be boiled in water, strained and sweetened with sugar before being taken.

Regimen: A strict dietary regimen should be followed during an attack of influenza. The patient should take nothing but tea and soup, gravy, sago and thin dal of Moong. Milk and milk products, sour substances and fried foods must be banned. An empty stomach during the course of the disease will only help recovery.


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