It is undeniable that complementary and alternative Medicine (CAM) has to a great extent been used in the management of chronic illnesses or those, which have no cure, just like in this outbreak case. However, the use of CAM is associated with certain risks and should be approached with caution. Thus, it is important to consider the administration of CAM therapies to manage an outbreak described in the case by focusing on their strengths, precautions, and effectiveness.
CAM Therapies Recommended for the Disease back at Home
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The effect of the disease outbreak back at home is devastating, and CAM can play a significant role. First, CAM therapies have been proven to be effective in end-of-life care (Dorfman, Denduluri, Walseman, & Bregman, 2012). As such, bleeding-out patients who receive such treatment can benefit from it because it helps to manage pain and symptoms. Moreover, meditation and prayers make then ready for a peaceful death. A biologically-based intervention, such as the use of herbs, for instance Ginkgo biloba and ginseng can treat patients signs of cognitive impairments because there is evidence of their neuroprotection properties (Mental Health America, 2016). Such herbs as garlic, Echinacea, and olive leaves can be used to manage fever due to their antibacterial and antiviral properties. Since the infected require strong immune systems, vitamins A, E, C, as well as such minerals as zinc and selenium can also be provided to the population as supplements to boost their immune system and help reduce fever symptoms. According to Subenthiran et al. (2013), Carica papaya juice increases the platelet number in individuals with hemorrhagic fever and can be given to bleeding-out patients.
Another CAM therapy applicable to managing the disease outbreak in the population is massage. It is believed that this method helps to reduce distress, induce relaxation, decrease edema and inflammation, and sooth pain among others (Dorfman et al., 2012). Therefore, massage will reduce patients severe back pain and headache. As reported by Dorfman et al. (2012), a certain meta-analysis showed that this therapy reduced subjectively perceived pain symptoms during 18 hours after procedures. Acupuncture is another CAM therapy that can significantly help manage pain. Tan et al. (2007), provide the evidence of the effectiveness of this technique in the management of acute and chronic back pain, just like the one experienced by the victims of the outbreak. According to Tan et al. (2007), therapeutic touch has also been shown to reduce headache pain within hours after single treatment. Therefore, it can be used to manage headache pain in the infected individuals.
The Strengths of CAM in Comparison to Western Allopathic Medicine
The major strength of the use of CAM in this outbreak is the fact that the disease is unknown, and Western allopathic medicine can do little to cure it except for managing the symptoms. Accordingly, CAM is preferable because administering allopathic medications to patients without knowing the exact diagnosis exposes them to significant danger and may worsen their condition. In fact, CAM has been shown to have a lower incidence of adverse effects as compared to allopathic medicine (Barnes, Bloom, & Nahin, 2008). The argument is that the latter can increase death rates caused by side effects from drugs, unnecessary surgeries, prescription errors, nosocomial infections, as well as other risks. Moreover, CAM provides a holistic approach to treatment and is more preferred because a CAM specialist can use therapies that bring balance to the body and enhance healing.
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Precautions, Risks, or Arguments against CAM
Some risks must be considered if the President supports the use of CAM. First, CAM therapies, especially those that involve the intake of herbs or other compounds, are associated with adverse effects, toxicity, as well as clinically significant incompatibility with allopathic medicine drugs (Tabish, 2008). According to Dorfman et al. (2012), the latter can occur for instance when patients using Ginkgo biloba for cognitive impairment take antiplatelet serum and anticoagulants, because it can increase concentrations of certain medications in the blood, such as antidepressants.
Another risk associated with the administration of CAM therapies to this population relates to the danger of ingesting toxic materials. For instance, a study in California showed that 7% of 251 herbal products tested contained undeclared compounds, such as chlorpheniramine and ephedrine, which can cause undesirable pharmacological effects (Dorfman et al., 2012). To give an example, Dorfman et al. (2012) report the case in Belgium, where contaminated traditional Chinese medicines resulted in subacute interstitial nephropathy leading to those affected requiring kidney transplant. As such, the risk-benefit ratio is uncertain when herbal, naturopathy or homeopathy interventions are used, and administering them in this outbreak requires caution (Ventola, 2010).
The Effectiveness of CAM
CAM has found use in the management and treatment of multiple diseases and conditions. However, the NHIS has shown that most people use it when their health status is poor, for instance, in case of chronic, serious or recurrent illnesses (as cited in Barnes et al., 2008). I think that CAM is the most effective in managing such diseases as musculoskeletal problems, including back and joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, HIV infection, and cancer among others. According to Barnes et al. (2008), the most effective CAM therapies for musculoskeletal problems include massage, meditation and energy techniques, such as reiki. For HIV infection, patients can take prescription drugs concomitantly with dietary supplements. The National Cancer Institute has reported the use of CAM therapies, such as biologically based methods, for example herbs and dietary supplements, mind-body interventions and meditation, body-based interventions with massage, and energy techniques, including a therapeutic touch and reiki (as cited in Mental Health America, 2016).
I support the idea of using CAM therapies to help manage the symptoms of those infected by the unidentified disease back at home. However, I emphasize the need to ensure that CAM specialists for this case are qualified. Also, it is important to be cautious about the risks linked to CAM therapies explained above.