Category Archives: Ailments: E-F

Eczema

A skin complaint characterised by redness, itch, dryness with pimples or blisters.

What to look for…

  • patches of itchy, dry, thickened skin, usually on wrists, face, and inner creases of the knees and elbows.

  • skin sores, patches of redness, scaling, sometimes small bumps or blisters that may ooze fluid.

Eczema is a form of dermatitis characterised by chronically itchy, inflamed and reddened skin.

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is generally hereditary however one person in a family could have the condition while all the other people in the family are not afflicted with it. It is most common among infants, many of whom grow out of it. Eczema is often associated with asthma, so children with that disorder may be at greater risk of skin problems. Stress or emotional upsets can often be the cause as well.

Causes

This skin complaint is often puzzling to experts. It can be caused by emotional upsets or it may have no apparent cause. Many cases of eczema are related to allergies. In sensitive people, outbreaks can be caused by ingesting certain foods, such as cow’s milk, eggs, wheat, and nuts, as well as by inhaling airborne irritants like dust mites and pollen.

Eczema is also caused by contact with irritants in common substances, such as woollen and synthetic fabrics, latex rubber, certain detergents, chlorine-based products, the mineral nickel used in plated earrings and other jewellery, and certain chemicals.

In people susceptible to eczema, it is apparent that outbreaks may be caused by a change in the way a person’s immune system copes with certain types of stress.

Traditional Treatment

Treatments are focused on relieving symptoms as it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the actual causes of the disease. At-home remedies and over-the-counter medications are usually sufficient unless the complaint becomes unbearable or worsens in any way.

Most doctors will suggest you take warm baths to relieve the itching and to slowly remove the crusted parts.

If the eczema is allergy related, taking oral antihistamines may help. Some medications prescribed are very strong and should only be taken with care and constant supervision by your doctor.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Alternative therapies are available to help both the symptoms of eczema and some of the causes. Only use with the supervision of a qualified and trained practitioner as some herbs may cause allergic reactions.

Aromatherapy – Essential oils of Lavender (Lavandula officinalis), Thyme (Thymus vulgaris), Jasmine (Jasminum officinale), and Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) may be capable of soothing Eczema related to allergies. Vapouriser or diluted in a carrier oil and use in massage. (see section on aromatherapy for more information). Essential oils ofLavender (Lavandula officinalis), Thyme (Thymus vulgaris), Jasmine (Jasminum officinale), and Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) may be capable of soothing Eczema related to allergies. Vapouriser or diluted in a carrier oil and use in massage. (see section on aromatherapy for more information).

Chinese Herbs – Beneficial herbs include Siler root (Ledebouriella divaricata), Chinese Foxglove (Rehmannia glutinosa), and Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis), which are said to be anti-inflammatories, and Peony (Paeonia lactiflora), which is said to affect the immune system. These herbs should only be used under the supervision of an experienced Professional. Beneficial herbs include Siler root (Ledebouriella divaricata), Chinese Foxglove (Rehmannia glutinosa), and Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis), which are said to be anti-inflammatories, and Peony (Paeonia lactiflora), which is said to affect the immune system. These herbs should only be used under the supervision of an experienced Professional.

Herbal Therapies – Evidence suggests that Evening Primrose Oil (Oenothera biennis) may effectively treat itching associated with Eczema. However, people with liver disease or high cholesterol should use this treatment only under medical supervision, and pregnant women should not use it at all because of its effect on oestrogen and progesterone levels. Evidence suggests that Evening Primrose Oil (Oenothera biennis) may effectively treat itching associated with Eczema. However, people with liver disease or high cholesterol should use this treatment only under medical supervision, and pregnant women should not use it at all because of its effect on oestrogen and progesterone levels.

Burdock (Arctium lappa) root and Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) root may also be effective. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) ointment soothes dry, flaky skin and helps inflammation and itching.

Do not take any of these herbs for longer than 
one month without supervision.

Homoeopathy – A Homoeopathic remedy to soothe inflamed skin that patients can apply safely at home is topical Calendula ointment. Do not attempt to treat eczema with other Homoeopathic remedies, however, without consulting a qualified Homoeopath. A Homoeopathic remedy to soothe inflamed skin that patients can apply safely at home is topical Calendula ointment. Do not attempt to treat eczema with other Homoeopathic remedies, however, without consulting a qualified Homoeopath.

Your Homoeopath with examine you thoroughly and make a recommendation in accordance with your symptoms and lifestyle.

During Homoeopathic treatment, Eczema may actually get worse before it gets better, so professional supervision is important.

At-Home Remedies – Try to learn to relax and avoid becoming overly stressed as this can be a trigger to your problem. Lavender oil can be helpful to relax. Try to learn to relax and avoid becoming overly stressed as this can be a trigger to your problem. Lavender oil can be helpful to relax.

  • To soothe itchiness, try a warm bath followed by an application of topical ointment such as calendula

  • Watch your diet.

Dietary Considerations

If Eczema is caused by allergic reaction, your diet will be of utmost importance. As mentioned previously, avoid cow’s milk, eggs, wheat flour, and nuts, also to limit red meat. Eat foods rich in zinc and vitamins A and C such as wholegrains, seeds, fresh fruit, and vegetables (red, yellow and green.)

You may benefit from a zinc supplement. Ask your Doctor or our Pharmacist to assess your particular case.

Prevention

Try not to wean your baby off breast milk too early as doctors suggest that this can cause Eczema to develop.

Avoid triggering food allergies that might bring on Eczema.

Babies should also be protected from potential allergens.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have any of the symptoms above flare up

  • the inflammation does not respond within a week to treatment with over-the-counter creams. A Physician may suggest more aggressive forms of treatment.

  • you develop blisters filled with pus

  • you have a bout of Eczema and are exposed to anybody with a viral disease

     

Emphysema

A serious lung disease where the alveoli and the narrow passages leading to these air sacs become permanently swollen with air.

What to look for

Typical symptoms of emphysema include:

  • breathlessness, worsening over the years.

  • a chronic, mild cough, sometimes accompanied by a small amount of phlegm brought on by the slightest exertion.

  • chewing and swallowing may be hard

  • in severe cases a ‘barrel shaped’ chest.

Emphysema is a potentially fatal lung disease and is characterised by a shortness of breath followed by coughing. Emphysema is most often caused by excessive and heavy smoking.

There is no cure for this disease but seeing a Doctor may be able to help alleviate some of the symptoms.

Emphysema results when the alveoli the tiny air sacs and the narrow passages leading to them become enlarged. These sacs are responsible for taking oxygen to the bloodstream and drawing out carbon dioxide waste. But when the lungs’ airways become constricted or damaged, the lung tissues lose their elasticity and become damaged and breathing becomes difficult. This is because the damage prevents the lungs from supplying the blood with enough oxygen .

This disease is most common in heavy smokers usually over 40 years of age.

Causes

The most common cause of emphysema is heavy, long-term smoking. Cigarette smoke is thought to attack the lung tissue. Smoking also has the effect of weakening the walls of the lungs airways, causing them to collapse on exhalation, trapping stale air. Smoking also causes chronic bronchitis and this in turn usually makes the emphysema worse.

Smoking causes the tiny cells called cilia to become debilitated and dysfunctional. Their job is to rid the lungs of excess mucus and other debris. Clogged with mucus, the lungs are then susceptible to viral and bacterial infections.

Traditional Treatment

Unfortunately there is no treatment yet that will give you a new set of healthy and unaffected lungs. However you can do some things that will help the symptoms and avoid the disease becoming worse.

You must consult a doctor if you have any of the above listed symptoms and continue to see him or her regularly. Your doctor may show you the correct ways to breath with this affliction.

Quitting smoking immediately and avoiding any areas where there is cigarette smoke is a vitally important step.

Start and maintain a low-impact exercise regime such as walking or swimming.

In severe cases of emphysema, at-home oxygen therapy may be necessary; In some other serious cases, surgery may be an option.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

You must never stop seeing your doctor when you have this illness. However alternative therapies often relieve your symptoms and discomfort.

Aromatherapy –  This has been very successful in the treatment of emphysema. Popular essential oils for this ailment are Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum), Lavender(Lavandula officinalis), Pine (Pinus sylvestris), and Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis).

Chinese Herbs –  The Chinese herb Ephedra (Ephedra sinica), also called Ma Huang, is a potent bronchodilator. This herb does have side effects and should only be taken under the supervision of a Professional.

Herbal Therapies – A number of herbs act as expectorants and may be appropriate in the treatment of emphysema.

Elecampane (Inula helenium), for example, is believed to help clear excess mucus from the lungs.

Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) tea is recommended for soothing the mucous membranes.

Other herbs that may help relieve shortness of breath include grindelia (Grindelia spp.), Euphorbia pilulifera, Lobelia (Lobelia inflata), Wild Black Cherry (Prunus serotina) Bark, Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca), and Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum).

Homoeopathy – To treat emphysema, a Homoeopath might recommend Antimonium Tartaricum for wheezing and congestion,

For symptoms that worsen on damp days, in stuffy rooms, or early in the morning, Ammonium carbonicum.

For symptoms that grow worse at night or in cold air and drafts, Hepar sulphuris.

Dietary Considerations

Some Health Professionals recommend avoiding foods that cause excess mucus production, such as dairy products, processed foods, and white flour products. Also eat plenty of garlic.

Personal Care

Inhaling steam can help loosen phlegm in your lungs. First, fill a sink with boiling water. Keeping your eyes closed, drape a towel over your head and inhale the steam for two to five minutes. To further ease breathing and help relieve nasal congestion, try adding a few drops of one or more essential oils to the hot water.

Prevention

Stop smoking immediately.

Although there is no cure for emphysema, you can practice some simple exercises and breathing techniques that will help you cope with the disease. See a Yoga specialist and your doctor.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you cough up dark coloured or thick mucus.

  • you have a lingering, mild cough

  • you begin to lose weight and you are not trying to

  • you regularly become breathless after simple activities

     

     

     

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a chronic disease of the nervous system characterised by fits or seizures.

What to look for

Seizures (episodes of abnormal mental or muscular activity) are the basic indicator of epilepsy. They vary widely…

  • Staring straight ahead and lapsing into complete immobility for a few seconds.

  • Loss of consciousness, rhythmic jerking motions, and incontinence are among the signs

  • Repetitive lip smacking, fiddling, and a sense of detachment from surroundings may indicate a temporal lobe seizure.

  • Rhythmic twitching of a hand, a foot, or the face, often followed by a period of weakness or paralysis, indicates a Jacksonian seizure.

  • Convulsions in an already ill child three months to three years old, resulting from a sudden climb in fever, indicate a febrile seizure.

Epilepsy is an neurological disorder. There are many varied symptoms and widely differing degrees of severity. In all cases, however, it results from electrical activity in the brain. This produces epilepsy’s characteristic seizures.

Epilepsy is divided into two categories:

Generalised –

where there is a disordered electrical activity over the whole brain. The two types of seizures experienced by this person are grand mal seizure and the petit mal.

The grand mal seizure begins with the smelling of something odd or unreal or having another type of sensation. They can also experience deja vu. The next stage is when the muscles contract and the person falls to the ground often injuring themselves in the process. The person may shout and the limbs may twitch and they will hold their breath. They also may bite their tongue and become incontinent.

With the petit mal seizure, the person usually does not fall down but may lose touch with reality for a very short time. This seizure usually happens in childhood and does not usually persist into adulthood. The child may not even be aware of the attacks.

Partial – electrical activity in only one area of the brain.

Among the partial seizures are temporal lobe seizures, which may be preceded by a vague feeling of abdominal discomfort, sensory hallucination, and distorted perceptions such as déjà vu;

Causes

Most experts do not know what causes this disorder. It has been reported that it can be genetically passed down, or due to birth trauma, lead poisoning, head injury, alcohol or drug addiction, or the effects of organ disease.

There may be triggers for the attacks such as certain chemicals or foods, sleep deprivation, stress, flashing lights, menstruation, some prescription and over-the-counter medications, and possibly oral contraceptives.

Traditional Treatment

This disorder can be controlled by certain medications. It is also advisable for epileptics to wear Medic Alert bracelet so that other people can quickly recognise what is happening during a seizure and help appropriately.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

If you suspect you have epilepsy, you must seek traditional medical advice. Never treat yourself as certain drugs and treatments may be incompatible.

Homoeopathy – Go to a qualified and experienced Homoeopath who can advise on which treatments to use, he or she will need to get permission from your Doctor to be able to treat your illness. Go to a qualified and experienced Homoeopath who can advise on which treatments to use, he or she will need to get permission from your Doctor to be able to treat your illness.

Personal care

  • Make sure you get ample sleep; too little can increase the likelihood of seizures.

Prevention

Watch for potential allergens, environments, or physical and emotional signs that precede attacks. It’s not uncommon, for example, to ‘feel’ something immediately before the attack, to become aware of a warning sign.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you or someone without a prior history of epilepsy experiences a seizure for the first time.

  • one seizure follows another without a return to consciousness; the brain could be deprived of oxygen,

  • call 000 immediately



Food Poisoning

This is an illness caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria, toxins or chemicals.

What to look for

Usually, food poisoning causes some combination of nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhoea that may or may not be bloody, sometimes with other symptoms.

If you eat food contaminated by viral, bacterial, or chemical agents you may come down with food poisoning. It can give you mild to very painful discomfort.

Causes

Food contaminated with bacteria, toxins or chemicals can cause food poisoning. Bacterial food poisoning occurs when a germ is contained in the food (salmonella) you have eaten. Harmful bacteria grow in cooked and raw meat and fish, dairy products, and prepared foods left at room temperature too long. People who are ill or infected can transmit bacteria to food they are preparing it.

Badly canned or bottled products can contain a bacterium that needs no oxygen to multiply and is not destroyed by cooking. This bacterium causes botulism, a rare but potentially fatal food poisoning.

If your symptoms are mild, you probably don’t need a doctor. However, if you are worried or your symptoms last longer than two days visit your doctor.

Traditional Treatment

Vomiting and diarrhoea are the body’s way of flushing poison out of your system, so it is advisable not to take anything which stops this natural process from occurring.

Because repeated vomiting or diarrhoea can remove large amounts of water from your system, drink plenty of filtered water to replenish your system.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Try one or more of these alternative remedies while the body rids itself of the poison.

Herbal Therapies – Ginger (Zingiber officinale) can be an effective remedy for nausea. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) can be an effective remedy for nausea.

An infusion of meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), catnip (Nepeta cataria), or slippery elm (Ulmus fulva) may help soothe stomach and intestinal membranes.

Also try some chamomile tea as this will soothe your stomach.

Homoeopathy – You could try any of the following over-the-counter remedies – Arsenicum Album, Veratrum Album,Nux Vomica, or Podophyllum. You could try any of the following over-the-counter remedies – Arsenicum Album, Veratrum Album, Nux Vomica, or Podophyllum.

Dietary Considerations

After symptoms subside, restore strength slowly by eating foods like white rice, bland vegetables, and bananas. To restore essential bacteria to your digestive tract, eat plain acidophilus yogurt, or take acidophilus capsules. Avoid unfermented milk products, which may be difficult to digest.

Prevention

  • Practice good hygiene and wash your hands before cooking and preparing any meals, and after you have been to the toilet.

  • Don’t thaw frozen meat at room temperature. Let it thaw gradually in a refrigerator, or in a microwave oven and cook immediately.

  • Avoid uncooked marinated food and raw meat, fish, or eggs; cook all such food thoroughly.

  • Don’t eat any food that looks or smells rotten, or any food from bulging cans or cracked jars.

  • Never eat cooked meat or dairy products that have been out of a refrigerator more than two hours.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have any of the above symptoms

  • the vomiting or diarrhoea is severe and lasts for more than two days