Thursday, July 2, 2009

Viral Meningitis and TCM

Here are some FAQ's about viral meningitis from the CDC:

Q:What is viral meningitis?
A:Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes ("meninges") that cover the brain and spinal cord. Viral infections are the most common cause of meningitis; bacterial infections are the second most common cause. Other, rarer causes of meningitis include fungi, parasites, and non-infectious causes, including those that are related to drugs.

Q:Can I get viral meningitis if I’m around someone who has it?
A:If you are around someone with viral meningitis, you may be at risk of becoming infected with the virus that made them sick. But you have only a small chance of developing meningitis as a complication of the illness.

Q:Is viral meningitis a serious disease?
A:Viral ("aseptic") meningitis is serious but rarely fatal in people with normal immune systems. Usually, the symptoms last from 7 to 10 days and the patient recovers completely.

Q:How is viral meningitis treated?
A:There is no specific treatment for viral meningitis. Most patients completely recover on their own within 2 weeks. Antibiotics do not help viral infections, so they are not useful in the treatment of viral meningitis. Doctors often will recommend bed rest, plenty of fluids, and medicine to relieve fever and headache.

No specific treatment... that's too bad.

But wait! I hear the sweet, sweet voice of Zhang Zhong Jing telling me that there must be a way to alleviate the symptoms and encourage faster recovery from such a painful disease process.

I had to find out for myself. Really.

Two days of a splitting headache with the sensation of my neck and back wanting to explode, and I found myself in the care of Dr.Yu Hong Chen at the Yo San University Clinic. She's pretty much the most awesome person on Earth. As an intern, I was witness to her genius when she constructed custom formulas for patients that brought them back from hopelessness into well-being. Now it was my turn to be the patient, and she did not disappoint.

The diagnosis? Tai Yang he Shao Yang Bing. Straight from the Shang Han Lun.

The formula? Gui Zhi Tang Jia Xiao Chai Hu Tang, with Ge Gen and a couple of other herbs to address my secondary symptoms.

I also got an amazing acupuncture treatment, working on the Du and Gallbladder channels, followed by some bleeding-cupping along those channels and the Urinary Bladder. Worked like a charm. I feel mostly human again! Life is great!

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