Archive for October, 2009

About Berris

Hi there,

I hope you enjoy my blog. I will be adding to it regularly so keep checking. You can also go to my website – www.berrisnaturopath.com– and register to receive my newsletters.

I have been in clinical practice as a naturopath for 20 years. During that time I have treated a very wide range of conditions and health problems. Although I still treat many different conditions, these days I tend to specialise in specific health issues, for example: Fatigue, Immune related problems including autoimmune diseases, Stress and Adrenal Health, Thyroid conditions, Menopause, Endocrine disorders, Male and Female Reproductive problems.

I lecture regularly to practitioners throughout Australia, New Zealand, the UK and South Africa. I also give guest lectures to students at universities in the UK and South Africa. I love this part of my work equally as much as I love clinical practice. The research and writing I undertake in preparing my post-graduate lectures keeps me up to date with the very latest research and treatments for a number of different conditions.

I also have a keen interest in herbal safety, particularly herb-drug interactions and I co-wrote the Herb-Drug Interaction chapter in the acclaimed herbal textbook “The Essential Guide to Herbal Safety” by Simon Mills and Kerry Bone.

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Ross River Virus – Part II – How I treat RRV successfully in my clinic

Ross River Fever – Part II

What are the Medical Treatments for Ross River Fever?

There is no specific medical or drug treatment for Ross River Virus. Most commonly patients are simply advised by their doctor to go home and rest. Sometimes in cases of severe joint pain drugs are used to manage these symptoms or drugs such as paracetamol may be recommended to reduce the fever.

My Treatment Approach for Ross River Fever

The doctor’s advice to rest is extremely valid and it is important to do so as much as possible.

The most important thing to do in any infection is to improve immunity. My favourite herbs for this purpose, particularly in the case of RRV are Andrographis and Echinacea. Hypericum can be used for its antiviral activity, however only specific preparations will be beneficial. Hypericum may interact with some drug so should always be prescribed by a health care professional. These herbs need to be prescribed in the correct proportions and at the correct dosage to suit the individual person and their symptoms. I will often prescribe a high dose of Vitamin C and other nutrients to improve immunity depending on the person’s underlying nutritional status. Symptoms change over time and in accordance with this, the naturopath treatment and dosage also changes. This is important to achieve the best health outcomes.

In naturopathic medicine fever management is a fundamental component of helping the body to fight an infection. After all, fever is one of the ways that the body does this. It makes good sense to support this process, rather than trying to reduce or suppress the fever with drugs such as paracetamol. I prescribe diaphoretic herbs which help to optimise the fever process and make it much more efficient in dealing with the infection. Naturally, great care must be taken when managing fever in children and should only be done by an expert in the field.

Managing the various symptoms such as joint and muscle pain can be achieved very effectively with a number of different herbal medicines. The particular herbs I prescribe will depend on the degree of the inflammation and the degree and nature of the pain.

Follow-up Patient Management

I cannot stress the importance of follow-up management enough.  Ross River Fever is one of the conditions that is reputed to recur and it commonly precedes chronic fatigue syndrome and other post viral syndromes.

For these reasons it is not only important to manage and treat the acute infection very efficiently and quickly, it is absolutely vital that follow-up post infection treatment is given. This minimises the risk of a recurrence and certainly reduces the risk of long-term fatigue and general ill-health.

Immune enhancing treatments need to be continued for a period of time after symptoms resolve. This is because the symptoms disappear long before the actual virus is total out of the system. As mentioned previously the virus can exist at low levels, causing no symptoms at all, until a person becomes run down, stressed or has reduced immunity for some reason.

I have a wide range of different herbs and nutrients that I choose from to ensure that complete recovers occurs. I also discuss with my clients many dietary and lifestyle factors they will remain symptom free and be able to experience good health into the future.

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Ross River Fever-Part I

Ross River Fever – Part I

I have treated many people over the years in my clinic for Ross River Fever and the majority of them respond very well and quickly to the treatments I offer. I do not have a ‘one treatment suits all’ approach. I prescribe natural medicines on an individual basis for each patient.

What Causes Ross River Fever?

Ross River Fever (sometimes also called epidemic polyarthritis) is caused by Ross River Virus which is transmitted by mosquitoes. It cannot be spread from human to human like common cold and flu viruses.

There are a number of different types of mosquitoes that spread the virus and these depend on environment and geographical location. Some types breed in salt water such as salty pools in mangroves and salt marshes after flooding by spring tides and heavy rains, whilst others breed in permanent areas of fresh water. One type of mosquito, Aedes notoscriptus, breeds in containers close to homes and other human activity such as bird baths, pot plant saucers and backyard rubbish holding water1. It is important that you do not have containers around you home that can hold still water.

What are the Symptoms?

Symptoms and severity of Ross River Fever can vary from one person to another. In some cases no symptoms are experienced at all. The most common symptoms include:

  • Flu-like symptoms with fever, fatigue, headache and swollen lymph nodes
  • Painful and swollen joints
  • Sore muscles, aching tendons

Less common symptoms include:

  • Sore eyes
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea
  • Tingling in the palms of hands and soles of feet

Sometimes symptoms can recur after a period of time. This probably means that the virus has not been totally eradicated from the body so that during times when a person is run down or has reduced immunity the virus once again takes hold and the following long-term symptoms can occur:

  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Depression       

Treatment

Based on my many years of clinical experience I know without doubt that the way Ross River Fever is treated at the time of infection, not only impacts on the initial symptoms but also impacts on long-term health. Once the initial infectious stage is resolved it is extremely important to continue with a longer-term herbal/nutritional treatment protocol that will help to prevent recurrence and ensure that the person does not develop fatigue syndromes in the future.

Watch for my next posting where I will discuss how I treat Ross River Virus successfully in my clinic.

References

  1. http://access.health.qld.gov.au/hid/InfectionsandParasites/ViralInfections/rossRiverVirus_fs.asp

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