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Causes and Symptoms: One of the highly infectious diseases, smallpox has plagued the world for many centuries before it was completely eradicated-at least that is the claim of the World Health Organisation which has worked towards that end with the cooperation of the health authorities the world over. In spite of the fact that a vaccine had been developed about two centuries ago, it took many decades before people in our country could get over their superstitious antipathy towards the use of inoculation.

Smallpox is characterised by fever and the appearance on the surface of the body an eruption which after passing through various stages dries up, leaving more or less distinct and permanent scars. The fever continues for some days before the pustules appear on the body. Pus forms in the pustules which takes ten to twelve days to dry up.

Remedies: The first step against smallpox is to segregate the victim. The best course is to keep the fever down to manageable limits and to take care of the pustules when they form. If after the fever has gone down (the temperature recedes only when the pustules start forming), the pustules have not fully come out on the surface of the body, two Jejube (Unnab) fruits, three mashas of Khaksi and six mashas of Sugar should be boiled together and strained. The decoction should be given with three Raisins if the patient is constipated. Alternatively, a Fig should be cut into pieces and cooked in a little water. A ratti of Saffron should be mixed with it after straining it. The decoction helps shorten the course of the disease.

If the pustules itch during the period when they should be drying up a salt free diet should be given to the patient. The body of the patient should be exposed to the smoke of Jhau (Tamarix Gallica) or Bhojpatra (Betula Bhojpatra) leaves. When the scabs start falling off, cow's ghee or sesame oil, slightly warmed, should be applied to the scars.


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