Creating Waves of Awareness
A disaster is an event resulting in great loss and misfortune, which occurs suddenly, and affects the humans, animals, properties, agriculture, the environment and the region as a whole. A disaster may be human-made or natural. Human-made disasters may be due to the modernization, industrialization, war, terrorism, pollution, occupational hazards, illegal activities like mining, and ignorance of safety measures that result in stampede, fire, accident, explosion, radiation, etc. Natural disasters include earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, floods, cyclones, tornadoes and tsunamis. Many times both are interrelated making the after effects much more serious and long lasting. A disaster may lead to crisis in several levels, which may affect the economic status of the state or even the whole country. It can affect the mental, physical and emotional aspects of people who are facing the disaster. So, the victims show mental and emotional impact along with injuries and death. Individuals who are already sick also suffer more. Another threat is the possibility of many epidemics as a result of impure water, contaminated food, overcrowding, pollutions etc. During a calamity, the natural body resistance of the victims reduces, and they become more vulnerable to diseases, also their emotional status makes it more susceptible to infections.
As medical professionals, our major concern is impact of a disaster on mental, physical, emotional and social health of the people who face it.
COMMON OUTCOMES OF A DISASTER
2. Injuries and disabilities
3. Emotional trauma due to loss of family members, properties and belongings
4. Agony due to isolation from family members
6. Health hazards of pollution
7. Troubles due to consumption of impure water, air, unhygienic food
8. Troubles due to chemicals, aspiration of muddy water, bad air, fire, fumes etc.
9. Troubles from exposure to extremes of climatic changes
10. Troubles due to over crowding at relief camps
11. Cross infections within the relief camps
12. Lack of basic needs like food, water, shelter, electricity, dress, essential medicines, etc.
SCOPE OF HOMEOPATHY IN DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Now the question arises, what is the scope of homeopathy in disaster management? There is a wrong notion among the public that Homeopathy is slow in its action. The main reason for this misconception is homeopathy is commonly used for the treatment of chronic diseases, which usually takes some time for the complete cure as most of the chronic ailments are deep seated complex diseases complicated by medicinal diseases. Hence, people are under a wrong impression that homeopathic medicines take long time to act. The fact is, the homeopathic medicines start working the moment it is taken, it need not even reach the stomach, but starts acting from the tongue itself, or even by inhalation. So, Homeopathy has huge scope in acute emergencies and infections. It can also work wonderfully in emotional trauma due to injuries and disasters. In the recent flood in Kerala, I could experience wonderful result with drugs like Arnica, Ignatia, Staphysagria when given to those victims who had acute emotional reaction.
Homeopathy has huge scope in the management of infections. The rate of infection is much more during and after the disasters. Here are some Homeopathic medicines useful for infection.
1. Aconite – Acute onset of infections with anxiety
2. Antim tart – Respiratory infections with rattling and white coated tongue
3. Apis mel – Edematous and serous infections with stinging pains
4. Belladonna – Infections with well marked signs of inflammation and congestion
5. Bryonia – Serous infections with aggravation from slightest motion
6. Cantharis – Urinary infections with burning before, during and after urination
7. Chamomilla – Infections with pain that makes the victim irritable and snappish
8. Dulcamara – Infections with profuse secretions
9. Echinacea – Septic infections
10. Ferrum phos – Acute fevers
11. Hepar sulph – Infections with sensitivity to touch and cold, with pus formations
12. Kali mur – Secondary infections with coated tongue
13. Mercurious – Infections with ulcerations and bloody pus
14. Myristica – Suppurative infections
15. Phytolacca – Glandular infections
16. Pulsatilla – Infections with changeability
17. Rhustox – Infections with joint pains better by motion
18. Sulphur – Infections with redness of orifices
Useful Nosodes in Infection:
1. Anthracinum – Painful boils with cellulites
2. Aviaire – Recurrent respiratory infections in children
3. Diphtherinum – Obstinate cases of throat infections
4. Influenzinum – Ailments from influenza and ILI
5. Medorrhinum – Troubles with history of gonorrhea
6. Pertussinum – Obstinate cases of cough
7. Pneumococcinum – Cases with history of pneumonia
8. Pyrogen – All kinds of septic fevers and UTI with high fever
9. Staphylococcinum – Skin infections
10. Streptcoccinum – Infections with suppuration
11. Syphillinum – History of syphilis
12. Tuberculinum – Recurrent infections. Fever goes out of control.
THINGS TO BE TAKEN WHILE GOING FOR A DISASTER RELIEF CAMP
Whenever we go for a medical camp, we may forget many things, even the most essential things like stethoscope, essential medicines and globules! Sometimes, we may not get expected support from the groups who invite us for the camp. Hence here is the list:
1. Liquid dilutions to be taken: Acon, arn, apis, acid phos, arg nit, allium c, ars alb, ant t, ant c, bell, bry, bapt, bellis, cham, Cina, China, cup, camph, calc c, carb v, coloc, canth, colchicum caust, dulc, dros, eupt p, gels, glon, graph, guiacum, hepar, hekla, hyper, ipecac, ignatia, iris v, Kali b, kali p, Kali c, kreos, lyco, lemna m, merc s, med, nux v, nux m, nitric ac, natrum m, nat s, op, puls, phos, pyrog, Ruta, rhustx, rumex, silic, sep, sulph, stram, staph, strepto, sang, samb, sabad, thuja, tuberc, verat alb, etc (medicine list may change as per individual Dr, so you can include or exclude as per your choice)
2. Banner of department/ dispensary/ association/individual clinic
3. Paper cover, butter paper, butter paper cover.
4. Blank tabs, sugar of milk, spoon/spatula.
6. One and two dram bottles, dropper bottles. (Never use bad quality plastic bottles, always use food quality ones)
7. Oils, hair oils, eye drops, mullein oil.
8. Ointments (urtica urense, arnica, cantharis, calendula, echinacea, rhtustx etc)
9. Case sheet and some A4 sheets, feedback form, feedback register and camp register.
10. Brochures, and posters of projects and activities by the department or individual Homeopaths
11. Preventive medicine strips (Genus Epidemicus) if available
12. Tinctures: Allium sat, Amyl nit, calendula, drosera, echinacea, erydictyon, Grindelia, aspido, hamamelis, millefolium, ashoka, baptisia, gaultheria, passiflora, rauwolfia, robinia, gymnema, justicea, dioscorea, sang, urtica urense, berberis v, uva ursi, sarsaparilla, zingeber etc.
13. First aid box with dressing materials (readymade sterile surgical pads are the best), sticking plasters, gloves, masks etc.
14. BP apparatus, stethoscope, clinical torch, knee hammer, glucometer with strips, thermometer.
15. Pen, stapler, cello tape, chalk, plastic rope for the banner, knife, eraser blade, scissors, safety shears, etc.
16. ID card, apron.
17. Paperweight, table bell.
18. Water bottle, glass, some food items like biscuits or chocolates, which can give enough calories when we don't get food on time. Include tissue papers and towels.
19. Printouts to display: ‘REGISTRATION’, ‘CONSULTATION’, ‘DISPENSING’, ‘BE IN Q’, ‘SILENCE PLEASE’
20. Paste a sticker on the vehicle - 'URGENT - ON CAMP DUTY'
20. And the last but not the least: A good heart to serve the suffering patients.
SOME HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINES FOR EMERGENCIES
1. Acetic acid: Prostration after injury, surgical shock, chloroform; Panic attacks with suffocation; Anaemia with pale waxy sunken face with blue rings; Sighing; Frequent fainting; Burning thirst, water brash &profuse salivation, sour belching; Exhausting diarrhea; Hemorrhages; Dry hot skin; Dropsy.
2. Aconite: Apprehension; Shock; Tossing in agony; Sudden violent onset; Fearful; Fear of death; Restless; Ailments from fright, from dry cold wind; Thirst for cold drinks; Palpitation with fainting; Full hard pulse; Dry red hot skin.
3. Amyl nit: Epileptic convulsion; Hemorrhage with facial flushes; Climacteric headache with flushings anxiety and palpitations; Inhalation of Q is indicated during the attacks of angina, asthma, migraine, epilepsy.
4. Ant tart: Drowning; Death rattling; Respiratory paralysis; Gasping; Large collection of mucus, but nothing comes out; Sunken pale face; White coated tongue; Fanning of nostrils; Aversion to touch.
5. Apis mel: Sting bites; Anaphylactic shock; Stinging pains; Edema; Rolling head; Fiery red shiny skin; Irritable; Screaming; Stupor with sharp cry; Lower lids swollen; Thirstless; Fiery red tongue. < Heat; > open air, cold application, uncovering.
6. Arnica: Shock; Injury (mental or physical); Sore bruised feeling; Fear of touch; Well says when sick; Answers correctly and relapses; Head hot, cold body; Apoplexy with evacuation of stool and urine; Stupor with concussion; Fetid breath; Coated tongue; Dark hemorrhages.
7. Ars alb: Food poisoning; Vomiting & diarrhea with collapse; Exhaustion with anxiety and mental restlessness; Fear of death; Affected parts burn like fire; Burning pains> by warmth; Thirst for small quantity often; Dyspnoea > sitting and bend forwards.
8. Belladonna: Sudden & violent onset; Flushed hot skin; Congestion; Throbbing pains; Delirious; High fever; Brilliant eyes with dilated pupils; Staring; Moaning with breath; <Jar, slightest touch; > Semi erect position, pressure, lying on abdomen.
9. Bellis per: Ailments from injuries, physical exertion; Muscle soreness; Venous congestion due to injuries; Injuries to deeper tissues; Injuries to nerves with soreness and intolerance to cold bathing; Trauma to pelvic organs; Sprains & bruises; Ecchymosis.
10. Bryonia: Talks on business; Sensitive to slight motion; Constant motion of left arm and left leg; Chewing motion; Coated dry tongue; Injury to joints; Stitching pains; Fracture of ribs; Pain < motion, touch, inspiration; >absolute rest, lying on painful side.
11. Calendula: Lacerated scalp wounds; Paralysis after apoplexy; Damage to soft tissues, muscles; Pain out of proportion to injury; Quickens healing process; Superficial burns and scalds; External application for wound healing.
12. Cactus: Cardiac asthma; Palpitation; Hands icy cold; Constriction in chest; Angina with tight feeling; Pain from apex to left arm.
13. Camphora: Shock from injury; Pale face; Dilated pupils; Icy coldness, but will not be covered; Cramps; Cold sweat; Pulse weak, scarcely perceptible; Blue skin; Prostration even from scanty fluid loss.
14. Cantharis: Furious delirium; Sudden unconsciousness; Burns and scalds with rawness and smarting pain > by cold applications; Sore vesicles sensitive to touch; Sensitive; Cant swallow liquids; Burning urination with constant urge to pass; Violent inflammation; < Touch; > Rubbing, warmth (skin by cold).
15. Carbolic acid: Irritable; Lacerated wounds from blunt injury; Septic conditions; Burns tends to ulcerate; Pain comes & goes suddenly; Bathed in cold sweat.
16. Carbo veg: Ailments from loss of vital fluids, after spoiled food; Offensive discharges; Air hunger; Collapse with weak circulation; Icy coldness; Cold sweat; Cold breath; Hippocratic face; Terminal stages; Oozing of dark blood; Wants clothing loose around abdomen; <Warmth; >Fanning, flatus.
17. Chamomilla: Fainting from pains; Cant endure anyone near; Aversion to touch or looked at; One cheek red hot, other pale cold; Oversensitive; Pain< heat; Hot perspiration; Sleepy but cant sleep; Pains with numbness; > Carrying.
18. China: Weakness; Fainting; Air hunger; Dropsy; Loss of vital fluids; Blueness around eyes; Anaemic; Bright red bleeding; < Draught of air, slight touch; > Bending double, hard pressure, warmth.
19. Cicuta: Childish; Screaming; Moaning and whining; A/v to stranger; Convulsions with frightful distortion of face; Convulsions renewed by slight touch; Rolling of eyes; Bites tongue; Trismus; Grinding of teeth; Head twisted to one side.
20. Echinacea: Blood poisoning; Snakebite; Spider and scorpion bite; Sepsis; Crushing injuries; Infected wounds.
21. Gelsemium: Fear of falling; Sun stroke; Apoplexy; Ailments from anticipation, bad news; Motor paralysis; Tremulous weakness; Heaviness of eyelids; Lack of muscular coordination; Dullness; dizziness; drowsiness; Thirstless.
22. Glonoine: Apoplexy; Congestive headache; Sunstroke; Visible heart pulsation with throbbing carotids; Heart congestion with fainting on any exertion; High BP, pulsation even in finger tips; Sudden irregular circulation.
23. Hepar sulph: Hyper sensitive to pain; Faint from slight pain; Intolerance of suffering; Dyspnoea> sitting and bend head backwards; Sensitive to air; Profuse sweating with no relief; <Touch, cold, lying on painful side; > Warmth.
24. Hypericum: Vertigo with urging to urinate; Crushed finger tips; Injuries with horrible pains; Injuries to parts rich in nerves; Shock after spinal injury; Fracture of spine; Convulsions from injury; Lacerated wounds with frustration; Twitching of muscles.
25. Ignatia: Emotional shock; Fainting; Hysterical troubles; Contradictory symptoms; Involuntary sighing; Ailments from being abused, bad news; Muscular jerking; < Consolation, tobacco in any form.
26. Ipecac: Vomiting with salivation; Clean tongue; Nausea persists even after vomiting; Bleeding with nausea; Bright red bleeding; Chest seems full of phlegm; Suffocation from mucus; No expectoration.
27. Lachesis: Loquacity; Muttering; Ailments from poisoned wounds; Trembling and protrusion of tongue; Breathing interrupted by least things coming near mouth; Left sided apoplexy; Dark hemorrhage; Bluish or purple appearance; <Heat, touch, on going to sleep. >Discharges, fanning from a long distance.
28. Ledum: Puncture wounds; Stings and bites; Black eyes from blow; Injured part turn blue or black; Injured part cold to touch, but not cold subjectively to patient; Sprain of ankle; Intolerance of heat of bed; Dark bleeding; Twitching of muscles near wound.
29. Mag phos: Antispasmodic; A/f standing in cold water; Angina with constriction sensation; Muscle cramps with radiating pains; Colics; Spasms without febrile symptoms; <Cold bathing, motion, touch, cold air; > Warmth, bending double, pressure.
30. Nux mos: Fainting from pains; Palpitation with fainting; Hysteria; Fainting from sight of blood; Vertigo when walking in open air; Dryness without thirst; Saliva looks like cotton; Tongue adheres to roof of mouth; < Cold wet stormy weather; > Warmth, wrapping warmly.
31. Nux vom: Sudden unconsciousness; Convulsions with consciousness; Fainting from odors; Over sensitive; A/f anger, rich food, alcohol; Reactions to allopathic drugs; Posterior half of tongue coated; < Eating, stimulants, dry weather; > Rest, lying down, damp wet weather.
32. Opium: Ask for nothing; Well says when sick; Delirium with wide open eyes; Coma from fright, injury; Picks bell clothes; Spasm from approach of strangers; Bloody froth; Deep red hot face; Tongue black paralyzed; Bad effects of inhaling gas, charcoal vapors; Stertorus breathing; Involuntary stools after fright; Bed feels too hot; Hot sweating; < Heat, stimulants; >Cold, constant walking.
33. Phosphorus: Ailments from anticipation; Electric shock; Wants to be magnetized; Palpitations from lying on left side; Ascending paralysis with numbness; Thirst for cold water; Profuse bright red bleeding, even from small wounds; <Lying on left, warm food and drinks, salt, thunderstorm; >Cold items, lying on right, open air.
34. Rhustox: Joint injuries; A/f lifting weight, physical exertion; Strained muscles, tendons and ligaments; Cant remain in bed; Delirium with fear; Tongue coated except red triangular tip; Sensitive to open air; < Rest, beginning to move, cold, uncovering; > Motion, warmth, hot bathing, rubbing.
35. Ruta: Injury to bones, periosteum, joints; Sprains; Fractures; Injury to chest; Lameness after sprains; Bruised pains; Pains with stiffness; <Lying down, cold, wet weather.
36. Spigelia: Shuddering from touch; Left sided headache; Angina> hot drinks, lying on right; Dyspnoea >lying on right with head high; Stitching heart pain synchronous with pulse; Violent visible audible palpitations.
37. Tabacum: Rapid blindness without reason; Vertigo on opening eyes; Nausea on least motion; Death like pallor; Icy cold sweat; Pale sunken face; Nausea with profuse sweating; Angina with prostration and cold sweat; Pulse intermittent hard cord like; <Opening eyes, motion, tobacco; >Uncovering abdomen, open fresh air.
38. Veratrum alb: Faint from least exertion; Tip of nose cold; Rapid sinking of vital force; Cold sweat on forehead; Loss of vital fluids; <Cold weather, least motion, drinking; > Walking.
©Dr Muhammed Rafeeque
DISPENSING MEDICINES IN CAMPS
Now the question arises, how to dispense medicine easily in emergency medical camps? This is more important when there is no pharmacist or trained person with us. Obviously there will be many patients in the camps, so, it is not easy to dispense medicines. Many times, filling the globule in glass bottle is a difficult task. Even the quantity of globules may not be sufficient for the long list of patients. So the best option is to use water in glass vials as the medium to dispense the medicines for emergency purpose. Another difficulty is, picking up the needed medicines from the group of bottles kept in front. For each patient you will have to search the bottle for several minutes. So the best option is, mark A to Z on the table with a chalk, and then keep the medicines on each box as per the first alphabet. This will help dispensing easy and fast.
DRUG ADMINISTRATION IN EMERGENCIES
Whenever I get any emergency call, I always take my Ambu-bag along with some Homeopathic drugs like Carbo veg, Opium, Ant tart, Nux vom, Ars alb, Camphor, Veratrum alb, Aconite, Arnica, Lactrodectus, Apis, Rhustox, etc. The procedure is to instill two drops of the indicated remedy in the ambubag mask and give two compressions to inflate the medicated air into the respiratory tract of the patient. It works wonderfully in respiratory emergencies and even in debilitated patients and terminally ill cases. It has helped me on several occasions. This method can be combined with CPR in cardio-respiratory emergencies. During the recent flood in Kerala, I could manage many emergency cases using this method.
SCOPE OF INTEGRATED MEDICINE
Every branches of science in this world has limitations, also Homeopathy. When we deal with the certain cases, we need the support of Modern medical team. But even in that situation, we can join them for making the patient better as Homeopathic medicines can work even in the ICU.
Once we diagnose an emergency case, we can give the indicated remedy, and then we can take the help of a modern medical team. A few such cases include: Acute myocardial infarction, Stroke, Septicemia, cardio respiratory failure, Hepato renal failure, severe electrolyte imbalance, violent patients, pains out of control, foreign body in the trachea or esophagus, severe burns, complicated labor such as cord prolapse, Severe dehydration, Hypovolumic shock, Severe injury with tissue damage, intestinal perforation, life threatening foreign body within the vital organs, strangulated hernia, torsion of testes, rupture of ectopic gestation, suicidal or accidental swallowing of poisons, snakebite, etc. However, we can continue our medicines as per the available indications even while they take the modern medicine. There are many situations in which modern medical team manage the crisis and give basic life support, but some conditions do not respond to their medicines, so we can do better. For example, when the patient is not responding to many antibiotics given one after the other, then we can do wonders, even in pyrexia of unknown origin (PUO). Also there are cases in which no cause is identified in spite of doing all available tests, and then we homeopaths can manage the cases well. Also the side effects of modern medical drugs can be managed successfully by our medicines. So, experts from different systems of medicines must work harmoniously for the benefit of suffering people.
In this write-up I have given only some points that came to my mind. You may have healthy suggestions and healthy criticism, which can give more clarity and information to me and others who read this. Our literature is very rich in information, also there are many contemporary Homeopaths doing great work in treating complicated cases. So, what we really need is sharing of our experience and failures. There is no doubt that Homeopathic medicines work successfully in all emergency cases, but we may face failures due to wrong selection of medicines/potencies; also due to some obstacles to cure, which we don’t identify on time. Another thing is poor clinical exposure and lack of confidence. These deficiencies can be rectified by improving the curriculum and training, mainly the clinical exposure, also by interaction with our fellow homeopaths, experts of other systems of medicines and scientists who are experts in the branches of science such as nano technology, molecular biology, biotechnology, genetic engineering, clinical research etc.
©Dr Muhammed Rafeeque
Medical officer, Department of Homeopathy
Government of Kerala, India.