Recent health crisis induces to search the health fatalities of olden period. Though we are living in the world of developed science and technology, we have no concrete solution for COVID19 infection so far. In olden days, the mortality rate was high because we did not have facilities and drugs like now. The most fatal pandemic in recorded history was the Black Death (also known as the Plague) which killed an estimated 75-200 million people in 14th century. We have gone through the Pandemics of last 100 years.
What is Pandemic?
After onset of COVID19, Pandemic is the most spelt word among the people. Pan means,” All” and “Demos” means,” People”. If the disease affects most of the population of world, then this situation is called Pandemic. Now COVID19 spread across the 188 countries of world.
Spanish Flu 1918
Spanish flu caused by Influenza A (H1N1 Virus) and broke out during the climax of World war I. It was the deadliest pandemic in recent past and killing around 50 million people (As per CDC estimate). Spain was the neutral country in world war I and allowed press to news about Flu. So the disease called as Spanish Flu.
Asian Flu 1957
It was originated in birds and it was H2N2 influenza A strain. It spread from East Asia. So it was called as Asian flu. Approximately, 1.1 million people died.
Hongkong Flu 1968
It was caused by H3N2 influenza A virus and also came from birds. Around 1 million people died worldwide, according to CDC estimate.
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome caused by COVID19 like virus (both from corona virus family) and probably originated in birds and first started spreading in Asia.
Swine flu 2009
It is caused by H1N1 virus which originated in USA and mostly affected children and young adults. 1-4 lakhs people died.
Similar to SARS, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a corona virus family of viruses. It was originated in middle East Asia and majority of occurred in Saudi Arabia.
Ebola epidemic 2014
In West Africa 2014, the outbreak begun in forests of south eastern Guinea and spread to Liberia and Sierra leone. The fatality rate of Ebola was much higher than the influenza. In that outbreak alone, 11038 people died according to CDC.
COVID 19 outbreak
At present we are experiencing the COVID19 virus consequences from late last year. These viruses are capable of cause mild respiratory problems like common cold to more severe acute respiratory problems. This virus is known to produce severe impact on older people and persons with pre-existing medical conditions like cancer, diabetes and respiratory diseases. As per WHO data, more than 1 crore people are confirmed and more than 5 lakh people are death so far.
Siddha system and Pandemics/Epidemics
Generally, they are classified under Kollai noigal (Communicable diseases) which are most commonly occurred at the time of Aathanakalam (From Maasi to Aadi- Mid February to mid-August) and Ayana santhi months (which falls in Aadi and marghazhi in Tamil calendar). It is believed that the immunity of human beings will be low in those days as per Tridhosa theory.
The Tamil literature Silapathikaram mentioned about diseases as follows
(Andru thottu pandiyanodu Mazhai, Aram koornthu, varumai eithi, Veppu Noiyum, Kuruvum thodara….)
The main Epidemics/ pandemics explained in Siddha system of medicine are Uzhi Noi(Cholera), Veppu noi (Fever) and Ammai Noi (Measles).
Ancient method of management
In ancient period, Measles was the major infectious disease and caused more casualties. They believed that it was caused by nature god and followed few rituals to Goddess Mariamman. What we practising today, they followed their maximum in the name of God.
The following preventive measures are followed in epidemic conditions
- Tied the bunch of Neem leaves and Turmeric at the house entrance. Through which, they indicated others that people who were inside the house infected. It is like Notification.
- Isolated the patients up to 10-15 days inside the house. Outsiders not allowed and experienced people only handled the patients. It is like Isolation.
- If more number of people infected, entire village was sealed and nobody allowed entering or exiting the place. It is like Quarantine.
- Spread the Neem leaves under the patient and covered by bed spread which was sunk by Turmeric water. It is like Disinfection.
- Did not write letters to others.
- Did not touch the patients directly and they used Neem leaves as a protection gear.
- Nobody allowed to enter the infected house and exchange of things prohibited.
- Patients rehydrated with Butter milk and Tender coconut water.
- Advised to eat easily digestible foods with fruits like Banana and Goosebery.
By virtue of above facts, the invisible invaders are not new to human beings but people experienced throughout the history. So we stay safe and follow the strict preventive measures from latest intruder COVID19.