Category Archives: Ailments: M-N

Mumps

Mumps are a very common viral infection that produces fever and swelling of the salivary glands.

What to look for

  • swollen, inflamed glands (above the angle of the jaw and occasionally under the tongue)

  • secondary inflammation of the testes, or of the ovaries or pancreas (adults and teenagers)

It is very easy to recognise when your child has the mumps. Once your child has had the mumps, the child will never get it again, having developed what is known as natural immunity. Children are required to be immunised against mumps before starting school if not already naturally immune.

Mumps is only mildly contagious and it is usually a childhood disease although adults and teenagers can contract it as well. In adults, the swelling of the testes should be checked out by your doctor because of a very slight risk of its causing sterility.

Causes

Mumps is caused by a virus and is transmitted through the air in droplets from a sneeze or cough, or by direct contact, it enters the body through the mouth or respiratory tract and then begins to affect the gland tissues.

Traditional Treatment

Call your doctor and make sure the child does not go to school until all the symptoms are gone.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies –  No herbs specifically treat mumps, but to reduce swelling, try cleavers (Galium aparine) orEchinacea (Echinacea spp.). No herbs specifically treat mumps, but to reduce swelling, try cleavers (Galium aparine) or Echinacea (Echinacea spp.).

Homoeopathy – Always consult a Professional for appropriate dosages for children. A homoeopath may recommendBelladonnaBryonia or Phytolacca. Always consult a Professional for appropriate dosages for children. A homoeopath may recommend BelladonnaBryonia or Phytolacca.

Dietary Considerations

Avoid dairy products and citrus juices and have your child eat light foods such as soups, vegetables, and fruits.

Personal Care

 


  • Keep your child quiet; confinement to bed is not required.

  • An ice pack or a heating pad applied to the swelling may relieve pain.

  • A tea made from apple juice and cloves can help relieve painful swallowing.

Prevention

Because fighting the illness strengthens the immune system, many practitioners of alternative medicine believe it is better for an otherwise healthy child to contract mumps than to be vaccinated. But always discuss this with your child’s doctor.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you suspect your child has the mumps.

  • your child has the mumps and has any other symptom

  • any teenage or adult male family member with the mumps has swollen testes

     

Muscle Cramps

These are spasms or tight muscles. Usually in the legs.

What to look for

  • a sharp, sudden, painful spasm (or tightening) of a muscle, especially in the legs.

  • muscle hardness

  • twitching of the muscle

  • persistent cramping pains in lower abdominal muscles

Sometimes occurring when a muscle contracts with great intensity and stays contracted, refusing to stretch out again (as is usually the case).

Causes

Muscles contract or lengthen in response to our wanting to move. Imbalances in certain minerals as well as in certain hormones, body fluids, and chemicals which allow this lengthening and contracting to occur can prompt spasms and cramps. As well as this, malfunctions in the nervous system itself can also cause problems.

Excessive physical activity and hormonal imbalances depletes fluids (through sweat) and minerals.

Traditional Treatment

If you suffer from frequent or severe cramps, see your doctor. And severe cramps in your chest, shoulders, or arms can be symptoms of a heart attack; call immediately for medical help.

No medicinal treatment of common muscle cramps is required. Massaging a cramping. For frequent or severe cramps, your doctor will diagnose and treat the underlying cause.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies – An infusion of ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) may help improve circulation and relieve leg spasms. An herbalist might prescribe Japanese quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) for cramps in the calves. An infusion of ginkgo(Ginkgo biloba) may help improve circulation and relieve leg spasms. An herbalist might prescribe Japanese quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) for cramps in the calves.

Aromatherapy – Try using the following essential oils in a carrier oil for massage purposes. Use them separately or in a blend (do not blend more than 3 together). Peppermint, marjoram, lemongrass, lavender, clary sage, basil and ginger. (For more information see our aromatherapy section) Try using the following essential oils in a carrier oil for massage purposes. Use them separately or in a blend (do not blend more than 3 together). Peppermint, marjoram, lemongrass, lavender, clary sage, basil and ginger. (For more information see our aromatherapy section)

Dietary Considerations

Nutritionists recommend taking vitamin E supplements to prevent night cramps. You may also find relief by increasing your intake of calcium.

Personal Care

To relieve a typical cramp, you need to make the muscle stop contracting, by physically either stretching it or massaging it, or both.

Prevention

Drink 6 to 8 cups of water every day. Be sure to warm up before exercising.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you experience frequent muscle cramps.

  • your muscle cramp lasts more than an hour.

  • your cramp is in your chest or arms

     

Nappy Rash

Nappy Rash is the inflammation of the skin around the nappy area.

What to look for

  • a burn-like red rash over the nappy area

  • if not treated, the rash can become infected and thrush sets in – the rash will become shiny and bright red with patches.

  • in boys, an inflamed penis.

Almost all babies develop a nappy rash at some time and it is rarely serious. Most cases do not last long and can be treated easily enough.

Your baby can get nappy rash whether you use disposable or cloth diapers; it is moisture which is the problem, not the nappy itself. Keeping your child clean and changing a nappy soon after it is soiled is the key to avoiding this problem.

Causes

This problem can be caused by:-

  • Nappies left on too long

  • If cloth nappies are not washed properly and the bacteria are left in there.

  • inadequate drying of the baby’s skin after a bath

  • allergic reaction to lotions or soaps

  • chemicals in the laundry detergent

  • thrush, a type of yeast infection

Traditional Treatment

Most diaper rashes respond well to home treatments and require no medical care. If your baby’s rash fails to improve after three or four days, see your doctor

For an ordinary rash, the doctor may recommend an over-the-counter ointment containing zinc oxide to protect the skin. If there is a bacterial infection present, see your doctor.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Aromatherapy – Mix 2 drops each of essential oils of sandalwoodpeppermint, and lavender in 4 tbsp of a carrier lotion or oil such as sweet almond oil; gently apply the lotion to the reddened area of skin. Do not use on babies younger than 2 weeks. See our aromatherapy section. Mix 2 drops each of essential oils of sandalwoodpeppermint, and lavender in 4 tbsp of a carrier lotion or oil such as sweet almond oil; gently apply the lotion to the reddened area of skin. Do not use on babies younger than 2 weeks. See our aromatherapy section.

Herbal Therapies – Calendula cream may relieve diaper rash. Calendula cream may relieve diaper rash.

Personal Care

At the first sign of redness, wash your baby’s bottom with warm water, and dry it thoroughly. Then apply an antiseptic cream and a barrier ointment, such as sorbolene cream mixed with water, or zinc oxide, to protect the skin.

Use oilated oatmeal or raw oats in your baby’s bath. Oatmeal is very good to use on the rashes.

Change your baby’s nappy as soon as it becomes soiled.

Until the rash clears up, avoid plastic pants or diaper covers, which trap moisture.

Prevention

Keep your baby dry and clean and change the baby’s nappy as soon as it becomes soiled.

Do not use strong detergents and creams which may irritate your baby’s skin.

When drying nappies, hang them outside in the sun, then put in the drier for several minutes to soften them.

Keep nappies off as often as you can to let air into the area – not too often outside in the open hot sun.

Wash cloth nappies in hot water and sterilise well.

If the entire nappy area is red and irritated, the child may be allergic to your detergent. Try another brand to see if the rash clears.

The best preventive measure is to let your baby go without nappies as much as possible.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you see no improvement after four days of home treatment,

  • the rash is scaly and has a yellowish colour or is blistered

  • your son’s penis is swollen and red

     

Nicotine Withdrawal

Stopping inhalation of nicotine (which is the addictive substance in tobacco) causes discomfort and physical side effects in most people.

What to look for

Withdrawal symptoms in cigarette users include the following;

  • headache.

  • nausea.

  • constipation or diarrhoea.

  • falling heart rate and blood pressure.

  • fatigue, drowsiness, and insomnia.

  • irritability.

  • difficulty concentrating.

  • anxiety.

  • depression.

  • increased hunger.

  • tobacco cravings.

Withdrawal from nicotine is characterised by the above symptoms. Nicotine creates a chemical dependency, so that the body develops a need for a certain level of nicotine at all times. Unless that level is maintained, the body will begin to go through withdrawal.

Giving up nicotine is not very pleasant for most people as a consequence of the withdrawal symptoms, however they are usually completely gone in six months.

Causes

The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal are responses to the removal of a substance on which the body has become dependent.

Traditional Treatment

Your doctor may recommend a smoking cessation program such nicotine replacement packs and may also prescribe nicotine-based chewing gum to help you through withdrawal. These aids are only provided to help you wean yourself off smoking, not as a substitute for nicotine.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Alternative therapies can offer support to tobacco users trying to quit their habit. Behaviour modification techniques that may help include meditation and guided imagery.

Herbal Therapies – Lobelia (Lobelia inflata) has actions similar to nicotine but is gentler and longer lasting. It is often used by medical herbalists in conjunction with ephedra (Ephedra sinica), a stimulant, to help tobacco users quit. Always see a professional as these herbs may have side effects that are serious. Lobelia (Lobelia inflata) has actions similar to nicotine but is gentler and longer lasting. It is often used by medical herbalists in conjunction with ephedra (Ephedra sinica), a stimulant, to help tobacco users quit. Always see a professional as these herbs may have side effects that are serious.

Herbalists also often recommend the following herbs to calm the nervous system during withdrawal – chamomile (Matricaria recutita), hops (Humulus lupulus), and valerian (Valeriana officinalis).

Dietary Considerations

Supplements of Vitamin AB complexC and E have been successful in helping people recover from smoking. Also supplements of garlicEchinaceavalerian.

Personal Care

Most programs will suggest you analyse your habit and the reasons why you smoke. These are beneficial as they offer insights into the underlying causes of your habit.

It is also a good idea to pick a specific day to stop smoking – at least a couple of weeks in advance and tell all your friends and family of your intention. They will be invaluable support and you will also feel obliged to give up smoking as you have told everybody of your intentions.

Your success depends upon your motivation and will to give up. Talk to yourself often and tell yourself how good you will eventually feel with a healthy body and mind. As well as this tell yourself how much money you will save as a result of not smoking – this money can go towards a luxury item you have been denying yourself.

Prevention

The best preventive step is not to start using tobacco and to educate your children to its dangers.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you are a tobacco user concerned about your health for any reason