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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2127

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1917
DISEASES OF CHILDHOOD

remain in this for about 15 minutes, during which cold cloths may be applied to the head, and then be put to bed.

Croup.—Croup means obstruction to inspiration associated with noisy breathing. It is a very common symptom of diphtheria when it has invaded the larynx; in fact, this disease was formerly known as membranous croup. Medical assistance should be summoned without delay. Croup is, however, very frequently the result of simple congestion of the larynx, or of merely spasmodic contraction; in which cases it is of far less serious import than when diphtheria is the cause.

Symptoms.—Croup is attended by very noisy inspiration, on account of the narrowed condition of the glottis preventing the free entrance of air into the lungs. The child feels as if it were about to be choked, and makes violent efforts with the muscles of the chest to increase the supply of air within.

Treatment.—Croup is a condition in which no delay should take place in treatment, as imminent danger may ensue from suffocation. Give the child a hot bath at once, then put it to bed between hot blankets. Wring sponges out of hot water, and apply them constantly to the throat. A bronchitis or other kettle should be kept boiling in the room, as the steam from this of ten has a very beneficial effect on the dyspnoea, or breathing trouble. Vomiting should be induced by doses of ipecacuanha wine as prescribed in "What to Do in Case of Accident."

After an attack care should be taken not to expose the child to draughts; flannel should be worn next to the slun, and the feet kept warm and dry.

Diarrhœa.—The causes of diarrhoea in children being very varied, it is necessary, as far as possible, to determine what it is in each case; thus, for instance, teething is a very frequent cause when it is difficult and accompanied by a good deal of irritation. When the tooth is cut, the irritation ceases, and the diarrhoea passes away. Again, cold may give rise to diarrhoea, from the impression made upon the nerves of the skin. This is frequently seen in children who toss the bed-clothes off during sleep. Fright may also give rise to diarrhœa, and of course, the eating of indigestible articles of food will do the same. A frequent cause of diarrhoea in infants is an overloaded condition of the stomach, or the giving of unsuitable articles of diet.

Treatment.—Diarrhœa in children ought never to be neglected, as, if allowed to run on from day to day, it weakens the child, and may pass into inflammation of the bowels, a much more serious disorder. If the diet appear to be at fault, it must be corrected. Suppose, for instance, that the child, previous to the cutting of the teeth, has been given solid food; the probability is that this has disagreed and set up irritation in the bowels, causing the diarrhoea. In such a case nothing but milk should be given for food, to which a little lime-water may be added with advantage, and a dose of castor-oil administered.

If the diarrhœa has continued for any length of time it is necessary