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Causes and Symptoms: Cholera is one of the most severe disease of the intestines. It is caused by an organism called vibrio cholerae found on the faeces of those suffering from cholera and spreads through flies and water contaminated by the germs. Ninety out of a hundred persons suffering from the disease have an even chance of succumbing to it. The first stage of the disease lasts from three to twelve hours when there is painless diarrhoea and vomiting. It is followed by severe cramps in the stomach, insatiable thirst and restlessness. Fever also comes on in the latter stages and signs of collapse appear rapidly. Death occurs in less that 24 hours, but severe epidemic of cholera may result in a patient dying from the infection in a matter of hours.

Preventive Steps: One of the most fast-spreading epidemics, cholera needs more preventive measures that ordinarily taken by health authorities. As soon as there are signs of the epidemic hitting a locality, all wells and other sources of water should be disinfected with permanganate of potash. If there is the slightest doubt of the water being contaminated, it must be boiled before being used for drinking or cooking. All foodstuffs must be kept covered and vegetables and fruits washed with a solution of potassium permanganate before being consumed. Lemon, onion, green chillies, vinegar and mint should be included in the daily diet during an epidemic of cholera. One should not go out on an empty stomach. In case cholera strikes a member of a household, he should be segregated and all places where he has vomited or passed his stools should be disinfected with a rich solution of phenyle or slaked lime.

Remedies: In the beginning of the attack remedies recommended for diarrhoea may help, but the best is the one prepared from the bark of the root of giant Swallow-wort (Akh). The powder of the root bark should be triturated in the juice of ginger along with an equal weight of black Pepper and made into pills of the size of Bengal Gram. A pill should be given every two hours and a decoction of cardamom and mint should be given to the patient to sip.

If the attack of cholera has weakened the patient because of excessive diarrhoea, half a ratti of Opium mixed with lime used to smear the betel leaf should be given. This will give relief from diarrhoea and may induce sleep. Lemon seeds ground in rose water also help deal with diarrhoea and vomiting.

Another commonly available preparation useful in cholera is Amritdhara; two to three drops mixed with a spoonful of water should be given every fifteen minutes till the virulence of the attack has passed off. Care should be taken to see that there is no over-dosage of the remedy since it will stop the passage of urine.

Regimen: No solid food should be given to the patient till he has fully recovered. Liquid, bland foods are the only things he can ingest without endangering a re-occurrence of the malady.


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