As the Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) death toll crosses 150 in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur, several messages are being circulated regarding its causes, prevention and treatment.
A WhatsApp message claims that a homeopathic medicine called Ocimum Sanctum Q could treat children suffering with encephalitis, locally known as ‘chamki fever’.
True or False?
FIT spoke with Dr Kushal Banerjee, from Kalyan Banerjee Clinic located in CR Park, Delhi. He explained:
"If we go by the active ingredients present in Ocimum Sanctum, it is theoretically possible that it may be helpful in cases of swelling and in dealing with encephalitis."
However, he advises not to ever take a medicine without consulting a qualified medical practitioner.
"Homeopathic medicines are safe and there is no harm or side-effects. But it is still very important to visit a doctor so that a proper diagnosis is possible. " - Dr Kushal Banerjee
A doctor will always be in a better position to prescribe medication once a diagnosis has been done. This medicine may be different from what a patient may decide to buy from the chemist him/herself.
Dr Banerjee also points out that different causes of encephalitis have been observed in different patients. The reason may also determine which medication (Apis Mel, Hyoscyamus Niger, Belladonna and others) may be effective in a particular case.
What is Ocimum Sanctum Q?
Ocimum Sanctum Q is the Latin name for Holi Basil or Tulsi. Originally found in the Indian subcontinent, Tulsi is used in the treatment of many diseases like chronic fever, cough, diarrhea, arthritis, skin diseases, asthma and malaria.
Speaking of Tulsi’s medical benefits, Nutritionist and Clinical Dietician Huda Shaikh says,
"Tulsi has many antiseptic and antibacterial properties that help in strengthening the immune system. This reduces the risk of sickness and infection from deficiencies. "
Delay in Treatment Could Be Fatal
More than 150 children have died because of encephalitis in Bihar.
Doctors state the need of immediate medical care in such cases. The treatment will be based on the symptoms and causes of the disease in each particular case.
Most patients of encephalitis die because of not getting timely treatment. It is important to stay alert about the symptoms and visiting the doctor if required.
(This story was originally published on Fit Hindi. It has been translated to English by Saakhi Chadha.)
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