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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2059

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1853
NON-INFECTIOUS DISEASES

laudanum may be given with 15 drops of dilute sulphuric acid every 4 hours, in water. Patients afflicted with the disease should avoid indiscriminate expectoration, since the sputum contains millions of bacilli, and when the sputum is dry these may be carried about in the air, and become a source of infection to healthy individuals. little flasks are now sold in which patients can expectorate when travelling. At home a spittoon, containing a 1 in 20 solution of carbolic, should be used.

Diarrhœa.—Diarrhoea, like constipation, is a symptom of disease rather than a disease itself. Causes.—Exposure to cold not unfrequently gives rise to diarrhoea by driving the blood from the surface of the body to the internal organs, thus producing in the bowel an excess of blood (congestion) which is relieved by the escape of the watery parts into the bowel, and an increased production of fluid by the intestinal glands. Exposure to intense heat and over-exertion may also occasion diarrhoea. Among other causes may be mentioned malarial influences, sewer gas, decaying animal and vegetable substances, errors of diet, exhaustion, and the disarrangement of the regular habits of life.

Symptoms.—Pain is usually present, often of a colicky nature, and is relieved by an action of the stomach. It is occasionally unattended by pain.

Treatment.—It is of great importance to ascertain the cause, and if possible, remove it. Give the body rest and administer bland food such as milk, arrowroot or cornflour. If caused by some undigested food, give a dose of castor-oil with 10 or 15 drops of laudanum for an adult. Apply a mustard poultice or mustard leaf over the abdomen if there is much pain. In tropical climates, where severe attacks of diarrhoea from chills are common, a broad flannel belt should be worn round the abdomen day and night. This will prevent many chills, and its value is so well recognized that the so-called "Cholera Belt" is a regulation garment in the kit of every British soldier on Indian service.

Flatulence.—Flatulence is an undue collection of gas or air in the stomach or bowel, generally arising from the decomposition of unsuitable foods, or from the irritation of the walls of the stomach, etc., when in an enfeebled state. It is -a common and very unpleasant symptom of indigestion or dyspepsia. In a great number of instances it is due to temporary errors of diet, and disappears on correction. The of certain articles of food, and especially of tea, is responsible for much persistent flatulence.

Symptoms.—Often there is pain on the left side over the heart, and some palpitation. There may be a feeling of faintness, giddiness or choking. Eructation is a frequent symptom.

Treatment.—Flatulence is best treated by dieting, keeping mainly to solid food, with stale bread, or, better still, toast. Vegetables, pastry,