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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2066

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to children from 2 years up. It is needless to say that medical assistance should be procured as speedily as possible.

Peritonitis.—Inflammation of the membrane, called the peritoneum, which lines the abdominal cavity. It is usually caused by diseases or wounds of the abdomen or its contents.

Symptoms.—Severe pain is complained of, increased by pressure; the knees are generally drawn up and the patient lies on his back; the abdomen is puffed up ; there is obstinate constipation, and sometimes continued vomiting.

Treatment.—It is most essential that a doctor should be called in at the onset of the disease, for often immediate surgical treatment is the only possible means of saving the patient's life. The administration of opium, unless specially advised by the doctor, is not to be undertaken, for it will effectually mask many of the important symptoms by which the cause of the disease can be discovered, and the remedies applicable to that cause administered.

Pleurisy.—This is an inflammation of the pleura or serious membrane which covers the lungs, and lines the greater part of the cavity of the chest. It is generally brought on by exposure to cold and wet, but may be the result of an accident in which the ribs are broken.

Symptoms.—Stabbing or shooting pain in the affected side, increased by breathing deeply or coughing. The pain is usually confined to one spot, and, if the ear be placed against the side, a fine, rubbing sound will be heard, which goes by the name of "friction," and resembles that produced by rubbing a lock of hair between the finger and thumb. The pulse is quick, the tongue is coated; there is thirst and loss of appetite, and the temperature is raised. In a day or two the breathing becomes more difficult, owing to fluid being infused into the pleural cavity and pressing upon the lungs; this fluid after a time usually becomes absorbed, when the breathing grows easier. Sometimes this fluid does not become absorbed, when a slight operation has to be performed for its removal.

Treatment.—Place the patient in bed without delay, in a room the atmosphere of which is kept moist by allowing steam from a bronchitis kettle to pass into it ; the temperature should not be below 60° F.; 63° or 64° would be better. He should not be allowed to speak more than he is absolutely obliged. Linseed meal poultices should be applied to the chest. A mustard leaf poultice or a hot poppy fomentation, will often give relief at the onset. Strips of adhesive plaster placed obliquely in the direction of the ribs will often procure rest and relieve pain. Milk, beef-tea, broth and jelly should be given in the early stage; and later, when the fever has abated, light puddings, eggs, white fish, and other light, easily digested and nourishing diet. During recovery, cold and damp-must be carefully avoided.

Pneumonia.—This is an inflammation of the lung substance proper,