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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2065

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1859
NON-INFECTIOUS DISEASES

is chiefly recognized by the presence of a tumour in the liver and the absence of any constitutional symptoms. Should the contents of the cyst suppurate, the condition becomes one of abscess of the liver, and constitutional symptoms such as pain and shivering fits occur.

Treatment.—The treatment will consist in having resort to surgical aid, whereby the contents may be evacuated and the cyst allowed to shrink. If allowed to grow, such cysts may cause death by bursting into the abdominal cavity, or into some neighbouring organ.

Lumbago.—This is a form of chronic rheumatism affecting the lower part of the back and loins. The individual moves stiffly and has pain in getting up from the sitting posture or in turning over in bed at night.

Treatment.—The application of a menthol plaster, or strapping the affected side, often gives relief. Should it be impossible to apply either of these remedies, a hot bath and wrapping the part up in flannel will be found useful. Rubbing with a compound camphor liniment containing a little laudanum often relieves. In gouty persons the diet should receive attention.

Meningitis (Simple).—By this is meant inflammation of the membranes covering the brain. It is always serious.

Causes.—It may be produced by the presence of the micro-organism Diplococcus pncumoniae. It often follows a neglected discharge from the ear.

Symptoms.—In young children there is disturbed sleep, a cast or rolling of the eyes, dilated pupils, convulsions and fever. With older persons, who can express their symptoms, there is severe headache, intolerance of light, want of sleep, mental disquietude, sometimes unnaturally acute hearing, constipation; sometimes sudden loss of speech and delirium.

Treatment.—Put the patient in a darkened room; apply cold to the head by means of cloths wrung out of cold water; send at once for the doctor; purgatives are generally required to combat the constipation; the greatest quiet must be maintained. Milk is the best food.

Meningitis (Tubercular). This disease is associated with a scrofulous constitution, and occurs in children of different ages up to 12 or 13 years. Bad air, insufficient or unnutritious food, exposure to cold, want of sufficient clothing, all increase the unhealthy tendencies which combine to produce the disease, which is nearly always fatal.

Symptoms.—Loss of appetite, loss of spirits (seen in aversion to play); constipation; gradual wasting of the body; drowsiness; squinting of the eyes; vomiting; enlarged and glassy look of pupils, rolling of the head.

Treatment.—Keep the child quiet in a dark room, and give milk as food. The one medicine which the writer has found of benefit in this is iodide of potassium, given in doses of 2 grains every 4 hours