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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2113

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1903
THE MONTHLY NURSE

childhood, and with the simple remedies that may be useful before a medical attendant can be procured, or when such attendance is considered unnecessary. All these little ailments are preceded by symptoms so minute as to be only perceptible to close observation; such as twitching of the brows, restless sleep, and grinding of the gums; in some inflammatory diseases the child even abstains from crying from fear of the increased pain produced by the movement. Dentition, or cutting of the teeth, is attended with many of these symptoms. Measles, thrush, scarlatina, croup, whooping-cough, and other childish complaints, all of which are preceded by well-known symptoms, may be alleviated and rendered less virulent by simple remedies instantaneously applied.

Cleanliness, fresh air, clean utensils, and frequent washing of the person, both of nurse and children, are even more necessary in the nursery than in either drawing-room or sick-room, inasmuch as the delicate organs of childhood are more susceptible of injury from smells and vapours than adults. It may not be out of place if we conclude this brief notice of the duties of a nursemaid by an extract from Florence Nightingale's admirable Notes on Nursing. Referring to children, she says

"They are much more susceptible than grown people to all noxious influences. They are affected by the same things, but much more quickly and seriously; by want of fresh air, of proper warmth; want of cleanliness in house, clothes, bedding, or body; by improper food, want of punctuality, by dulness, by want of light, by too much or too little covering in bed or when up." And all this in health; and then she quotes a passage from a lecture on sudden deaths in infancy, to show the importance of careful nursing of children: "In the great majority of instances, when death suddenly befalls the infant or young child it is an accident; it is not a necessary, inevitable result of any disease. That which is known to injure children most seriously is foul air; keeping the rooms where they sleep closely shut up is destruction to them; and, if the child's breathing be disordered by disease, a few hours only of such foul air may endanger its life, even where no inconvenience is felt by grown-up persons in the room." "Don't treat your children like sick," she sums up; "don't dose them with tea. Let them eat meat and drink milk." "Give them fresh, light, sunny, and open rooms, cool bedrooms, plenty of out-door exercise, facing even the cold, and wind, and weather, in sufficiently warm clothes, and with sufficient exercise; plenty of amusements and play; more liberty, and less schooling and cramming and training; more attention to food, and less to physic."

THE MONTHLY NURSE

The doctor will, in most cases, be best able to recommend a suitable and trustworthy nurse. It is of the utmost importance to engage