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TYPHOID FEVER

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Causes and Symptoms: Of fevers, typhoid is the most important medically speaking, because of the involvement of the intestines and its tendency towards frequent relapses. If it is not diagnosed and treated in time, the intestines may be ulcerated and, in the terminal stage, the peritoneum may be perforated which is almost always a fatal condition, unless of course, surgical help has been obtained in time.

A bacillus, Salmonella Typhi, is the cause of typhoid fever which comes on gradually. Its onset is so insidious that the victim may move about without realising it: he only feels a little feverishness and a vague sense of unease. The most prominent symptoms of typhoid are: headache, lassitude, insomnia and feverishness at night, till it reaches its peak on 8th day. It may continue for 21 days or even longer. A marked feature is that the pulse rate does not go up in proportion to the rise in temperature; of course, in protracted cases, if there is ulceration of the intestines, the pulse may become weak and thready in addition to being slow. Since it involves the intestines, abdominal symptoms become apparent from the very beginning. The stomach may be distended and there may be gurgling sounds when the abdomen is palpitated. Diarrhoea is to be found in many cases, but it is not always present.



Remedies: Practitioners of Indian systems of medicine have depended on the calx of Stag's Horn to deal with typhoid. It is given in 120 gms. Doses thrice daily with honey. A decoction of Khub Kalan (12 grammes) and dried Grapes (10 grammes)-should be given along with the Stag's Horn calx.

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.

Regimen: Diet during typhoid is of the utmost importance since the fever is of intestinal origin. The best is to keep the patient on fruit juices; alternatively, milk might be given. But no solids should be permitted, because no burden should be placed on the digestive system. Nor should constipation be allowed to develop if it does, the best course to relieve the condition is a glycerine suppository.

In some percentage of cases of typhoid, there is an eruption on the skin which is pearly white in colour; sometimes there is a variety of pink spots on the skin. It is known, therefore, among the people as Motijhira or Motichoor. When the eruption begins to show, Khamira Marwarid (an electuary made of pearls) should be given to the patient. Alternatively, jejube Berries (Unab)-2 in number, Raisins-3 in number, Khaksi (Sisymbrium Irio)-3 mashas and Mishri (sugar candy)-1 tola should be boiled in about 100 ml. of water and strained; the decoction should be given in small draughts. If the patient has cough along with the above symptoms, one masha of liquorice powder should be added to the decoction. If even after the administration of the above decoction the rash does not appear, three mashas of Rice should be put in a small glass phial and 10 Cochinial insects (Birbahooti) should be introduced into it and allowed to remain there till the die. The phial should be shaken frequently till the dead insects give their colour to the rice. If the eruption shows signs of subsiding without fully coming out, one grain of rice from the phial should be ground in milk or water and given thrice a day.




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