First Aid and Acute Ailments

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In homeopathy, the only area of specifics – giving a remedy for a complaint or incidents, not for the whole person – is first aid. Most people respond in the same way in accidents and emergencies. In all other situations, the homeopath considers a case and prescribes on the individual’s unique reaction to the cause of a condition or disease.

First Aid

No household (or handbag) should be without Arnica. I always carry some with me when I am away from home, as it is often the first remedy in the event of a physical accident with bruising. It works well with injuries of the soft parts of the body – the muscles and flesh.
For: shock, with bruising (see also Bellis perennis); bruising and sprains (see also Ruta); muscle strain; bleeding; after surgery (take before and a few days after); after strokes and cerebral accidents; concussion; dental extractions; loss of sight or hearing after head injury; bruises to the breast (see alsoConium); tired muscles after exertion; childbirth, as it promotes delivery, relieves pains and helps to control hemorrhage.
The person needing Arnica is worse from touch, motion, damp cold and better from lying down with head low.

Hypericum is a remedy for injury, especially of the nerves and spine. Its hallmark is the sharp, shooting quality of the pains; they move up the limb from the wound. For: lacerations (jagged cuts); crushed fingers and toes; injury to nerve-rich parts (tongue, teeth, eyes, genitalia, etc); compound fractures; falls on the coccyx (tail-bone); pain in the coccyx following childbirth; injuries to any part of the spine; dental pain. The person needing Hypericum is worse from damp, fog, cold, movement, touch and better from bending head back, lying on front, rubbing.

This is usually the remedy for such accidents as puncture wounds. It also prevents sepsis in most of these types of injuries, and if given early enough in conjunction with Hypericum it can prevent tetanus.
For: puncture wounds – splinters, stepping on nails, cat bites,etc; sprains, especially in lower limbs, with marked bruising and effusion; purple discolouration and swelling; black eye from direct bruising; insect bites and stings; puncture wounds with suppuration; swelling or inflamed foot and ankle or lower leg where there is tremendous desire to put feet in cold or even ice water.
The person needing Ledum is worse from heat, warm applications, night and better from cold applications, ice, etc.

This remedy is especially useful for sports injuries and aches and pains caused by physical work such as gardening and labouring.
For: bruised muscles; torn or wrenched tendons; inflammation of the ligaments, knee and wrist joints; housemaid’s knee; tennis elbow; bruises and kicks on the shin; eye strain; eye stiffness caused by and worse from doing fine work; injuries to connective tissue, tendons and periosteum (outer covering of the bone); strains, sprains or twisting of joints resulting in a stiff, bruised pain.
The person needing Ruta is worse from cold air, stooping, exertion and better from warmth, lying on their back.

This remedy is indicated in trauma, though less often than Arnica, and is similar to Arnica in many respects. (If Arnica often seems not to be helping a patient, then Bellis Perennis should be considered instead.)
For: internal bruising (baby’s head in the womb pressing on the sciatic nerves); sciatica, sprains; bruises (sore, bruised sensations); lacerations or incisions where there is bleeding; after surgery and bruising of the trunk of the body both for the pain and to speed recovery.
The person needing Bellis Perennis is worse from the heat of bed or hot bath, chill and better from continued motion, cold applications.

Acute Ailments

This section is about homeopathic remedies useful for short-term illnesses that arise quickly from obvious outside causes – called acute illnesses. There are, however, two types of situation where there appears to be an acute illness, and only one where the illness is truly acute. These two situations need separating.
The most commonly understood acute is when you have ‘caught’ something: flu, a cold, a virus, a sore throat, a fever, a cough, food poisoning, a hangover, an allergic reaction, etc. In these cases there is a strong outside source of the problem.
However, there are many apparent acute illnesses which are not acutes at all, but outbreaks of an underlying condition. For example, some headaches, some allergic reactions, herpes, asthma attacks, epilepsy, diarrhoea without cause and recurring fever all have an inner cause. While the outbreak of these acute illnesses from an inner cause may be serious and need some form of immediate first aid (an asthma attack for example), the acute treatment and long-term cure needs professional homeopathic help.

This is a plant which grows high up in the mountains and relieves exposure to severe chill, or the response to a traumatic event such as witnessing a sudden death. This remedy is appropriate for acutes in which the symptoms begin within minutes or hours, not days, after the event. Signs and Symptoms: illnesses that begin with a shock, a sudden chill or a sudden fright, and are accompanied by great fear of death; fever caused by chill or shock; croup (see below). In fever the face is hot and flushed or deadly pale, with a very anxious look; dry and burning (see Belladonna), yet chilly on the slightest motion, with thirst, restlessness, and chill alternating with heat. Throat red, dry, and constricted. Headaches hot, and could be from sunstroke. Any cough can be hoarse, dry and croupy. Croup is an infectious cough that can pass round the family one after another; it has a dry stage, a wet stage, and a suffocative stage; worst time around midnight.
Treatment for croup: Aconite for the dry stage, Hepar sulph for the wet stage (when there is a lot of mucous in the lungs), and Spongia for the suffocative stage (when it is like breathing through a sponge).

Arsenicum people have a fear of dying (but not as urgently as Aconite types) with intense restlessness, and are worse at 1 a.m. Whatever is wrong is likely to be burning which unusually will be improved by heat; so an internal burning that is better from hot drinks, or a burning pain that is better from sitting on the radiator, is classic Arsenicum.
Signs and Symptoms: food poisoning, sudden great weakness from trivial causes; burning like fire; great anxiety about the seriousness of the complaint; very demanding of company and fresh air; gurgling in the food pipe (oesophagus) when drinking; diarrhoeas with coldness, weakness, and possibly vomiting.

Signs and Symptoms: symptoms similar to above, but with greater intensity and less anguish.

This is the number one high fever remedy.
Signs and Symptoms: high fever, where temperatures reach 40 C (104 F) with intense burning heat inside and out; earache when child cries out in sleep, is worse from noise and with a hot mouth and an inflamed, red throat, more right-sided; sunstroke, burning heat; bright red skin; dryness with no thirst or rarely thirsty; some fear (less than Aconite people); throbbing, congestion; right sided; little or no sweat (maybe on forehead only); dilated pupils; staring; delirium – even wildly delirious with hallucinations; cold hands and feet with the rest burning hot; over-sensitive to noise and light; generally worse at 3 p.m. and after midnight (bear in mind that fevers usually peak in the evening and early part of the night, and last for two days, and are a healthy sign that the self-healing ability of the body is working).

A keynote indication for Bryonia people is that they hate all motion when acutely ill, and do not wish to be disturbed at all. These patients are easy to nurse because they wish to be left alone. Bryonia is the best acute chest remedy, whenever there is dryness of the mucous membranes. These people need to drink a lot, with long intervals between drinks, as even drinking disturbs them. Signs and Symptoms: pleurisy (when the lung wall lubricating fluid drys up); slow onset, mild fevers around 38.5 C (101 F); pain of broken bones (needs high potency); after use of Arnica for joint injury if Arnica fails; splitting headaches, better from closing the eyes (patient holds the head); painful cough (patient holds the sore part); sharp pain in the chest; generally worse at 9 p.m.; worse from rising up, stooping, coughing, deep breathing, touch, eating, talking; better lying on painful part and bandaged, as this restricts movement.

This remedy is mainly for children who are teething, though it is not a panacea, and there are other remedies for this. A keynote indication that the child needs Chamomilla is when you feel driven to distraction by their state. The child commonly complains a great deal, and is impossible to please. Note: All cases of teething may include fever, irritability and sleeplessness.
Signs and Symptoms: teething; earache; tummy ache; problems caused by anger; mad with pain; one cheek hot, the other pale and cold; wants to be and is better being carried; moaning; earache; swelling; heat driving the infant frantic; worse at night; sweating; grass-green stools that smell of bad eggs.

Signs and Symptoms: travel sickness from cars, boats etc.; loss of sleep from night nursing, night shifts, etc.; giddiness from lack of sleep and traveling; nausea merely looking at food. This remedy is good for sensitive, introspective, kind children and adults.
Other remedies for car sickness include the following:
Signs and Symptoms: must stoop with the sick feeling, as if drunk; fears death is near; pain in back of head.
Nux Vomica
Signs and Symptoms: giddiness and moments of unconsciousness; hangover feeling, great irritability; nausea and vomiting; bitter taste; hiccups; wanting to vomit, but not being able to; over-sensitive to everything; faintness.
Signs and Symptoms: unpleasant, faint sinking feeling in pit of stomach; giddiness on getting up or looking up; better on deck in cold fresh air, and after vomiting; anxiety.

Sore throats can be acutes, but are often the result of a chronic inner problem. There are numerous distinct characteristics to sore throats; some of these are listed below, with the appropriate remedy indicated. All sore throats are sore and red.
Signs and Symptoms: sore throats go from left to right, or start or stay on the left; worse from swallowing and hot drinks; throat very sensitive to touch; pain extends to the ear; they feel behind or above themselves.
Lac Canninum
Signs and Symptoms: sore throats oscillate from one side to the other frequently; they feel behind or above themselves.
Signs and Symptoms: increased saliva which patient may swallow; metallic taste; pain extends to the ear on swallowing; worse at night.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is homeopathy safe?

Homeopathic medicines are not harmful because they are so greatly diluted. They are safe, non-toxic, and non-additive. They are prepared in Medicines Control Agency licensed laboratories to stringent standards of quality.

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Since the success of homeopathic treatment of cholera and typhoid was demonstrated in the nineteenth century, homeopathy has proven effective for millions of people world wide. It has often succeeded where other forms of treatment have failed.

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Homeopathy is as effective for animals as it is for humans. There is an increasing number of veterinary surgeons practicing Homeopathy around the world.

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