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Success with Recurrent Viral Infections

by Dr Angela Jones(more info)

listed in homeopathy, originally published in issue 30 - July 1998

One of the areas where homeopathy has a useful role is in the management of nonspecific ill health, where a person feels generally unwell and is often prone to recurrent viral infections. Furthermore, they tend to have difficulty shaking off these infections and feel more ill still for some time after them. Just such a patient was Marianne, a young woman who came to see me over a year ago. Her story was typical and, as an ordinary general practitioner, I would have been at a loss to think of any way to help her.

Marianne's story started when she was only eighteen. She had fallen in love and married a local fireman. The marriage was a disaster and ended in divorce only fifteen months later. She remarried at twenty five years of age and this time things went better. She had a son after a difficult pregnancy with hyperemesis and weight loss. During this time her mother developed cancer and died soon after the baby was born.

After her mother died, Marianne became very depressed and began to suffer from recurrent viral infections. These took the form of a severe sore throat, chesty cough and terrible aching all over her body. She was so debilitated that she was often unable to spend any prolonged period of time out of bed and would spend days on end, in the bed with her young son. As he got older, he would look at story books and play while she rested, unable to do anything else. On top of everything, her husband lost his job and had to take up a travelling salesman post, which meant that he was away from home for a week at a time.

During this period, she developed a nasty sensation of a lump in the throat. Her doctor found she had a cyst on the thyroid gland and this was drained at the hospital. The doctors also did extensive blood tests to try and establish why Marianne was having so many viral infections and why they were affecting her so badly. No medical explanation could be found. Marianne's immune system seemed to be functioning according to the tests and yet, she was ill for seven weeks out of eight and her lifestyle was very limited indeed.

Further questioning revealed that Marianne was very sensitive to smells, which could make her sick or even vomit. Particular aversions were cigarette smoke and meat. She was averse to eating fat, milk or cream. Her favourite foods were starchy and she also likes salt and chocolate. She classed herself as thirsty, drinking a lot of bottled water and Diet Coke.

She was moderately sweaty, mostly from the armpits and more since she had been unwell. Her sleep tended to be restless and she preferred to sleep on her stomach. She described herself as a "freezer" hating the cold and loving warm weather, but being averse to stuffy atmospheres. Past medical history revealed only raised blood pressure during the pregnancy, which had now settled. Her mother died of cancer of the breast and various members of the family had had heart attacks, diabetes and thyroid trouble.

Marianne certainly came over as quite a cool customer: hard, direct, telling her story quite unemotionally and seeming to have coped quite well with her debility. She admitted to being extremely fastidious and fussy about cleanliness in the home and very orderly without clutter. She was planning to take an Open University course in Mathematics if her health would permit and had already done the Foundation course despite her ill health.

I felt that Marianne's case called for the prescription of the medicine Carcinosin. This was a medicine developed earlier in this century and is particularly suited to patients with a strong family history of cancer, thyroid disease, diabetes or TB. They often also have a personal history of whooping cough although this is becoming rarer with the advent of immunisation against diseases such as whooping cough. These patients may have many moles, or naevi, as did Marianne, and marks on the skin known as cafe au lait spots which are largish and coffee coloured. They are usually perfectionists, sensitive to and intolerant of criticism and commonly sleep on their stomachs.

I gave Marianne three doses of Carcinosin 30c to take at 4 hourly intervals in one day. She returned the following month to report that, within twenty four hours of taking the medicine, she had developed nausea and vertigo which was reminiscent of previous bouts of illness. Eight days later, she caught a virus but to her delight, fought it off within a week. She had then had another sore throat and another virus but both of these were relatively short lived.

Both Marianne and I felt that the Carcinosin had resulted in a small but definite beneficial effect in that, although she had caught several infections, they had not had the usual disastrous effect on her. The given wisdom with Carcinosin is that it should not be repeated at intervals closer than three months so this is what we did. Marianne came to see me a month after her second dose and four months after the beginning of her treatment. In the last month she had had only one viral infection which had lasted one week instead of the usual six. We agreed to repeat the Carcinosin again after a further three months.

When I last saw her, Marianne was very much better. She was elated because she had been well at Christmas for the first time in her six year old son's life. She'd had no viruses at all and her chief complaint was of short menstrual cycles with premenstrual irritability and severe dragging pains in both ovaries and in the back. Her libido was decreased and she was desperate to rectify the situation in order to be able to commit herself to her Open University course. I decided that there was no indication for Carcinosin at this point and prescribed Sepia 30c, three doses aimed specifically at this pattern of hormone related symptoms. I look forward with interest to her next review. We may need to repeat the Carcinosin at some later date if her viral illnesses recur, but I feel confident that, in this difficult case, homoeopathy has made a real difference to this woman's health in ways which would not have been possible by means of conventional medical treatment.


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About Dr Angela Jones

Dr Angela Jones works in NHS general practice and also privately, using homeopathy alongside conventional medicine. Dr Jones can be contacted via the Faculty of Homeopathy on Tel: 020-7566 7800.

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