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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2132

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Weak and improper food is often the cause of tardy teething. Children should be washed daily, and always kept sweet and clean.

Thrush.—This is a common affection in infants. It may be seen in the mouth as small white specks on the lining membrane. The malady is due to the Saccharomycetes albicans, and is of ten due to mal-nutrition and bad feeding, especially to dirty bottles or teats, and sour milk. The swallowing of food becomes difficult, there is thirst, and the water is scanty and high-coloured.

Treatment.—If the infant is bottle-fed, see that everything is scrupulously clean. If breast-fed, a nipple shield should be used, otherwise the nipple will become irritated. Give a little lime-water in the milk, in the proportion of 1 to 4 parts. Paint the mouth frequently with glycerine and borax, or honey and borax, using a feather or small camel-hair brush; or dissolve some powdered borax in water (4 grains borax to 1 ounce of water), and apply in the same way. Should this fail, wipe the mouth out thoroughly with a soft wet rag, and then rub some flowers of sulphur on the white patches with the finger. Great attention must be paid to the diet, and any errors must at once be corrected. If the stomach is disordered and the motions offensive, benefit may be derived by giving the child one of the following powders twice a day: grey powder, 6 grains ; bicarbonate of soda, 18 grains; powdered rhubarb, 8 grains. Mix and divide into 6 powders; 1 twice a day to a child a year old. Change of air when the child is getting better will often work wonders.

Whooping-Cough.—This is an infectious disease of great frequency in childhood, and a large proportion of infant mortality is due to this cause.

Symptoms.—The earliest symptom is a common cold or catarrh, accompanied by a cough; there is also a slight amount of fever, restlessness, and sometimes running at the eyes and nose. The cough in a few days becomes most troublesome; in a week or 10 days, but often later, the child will begin to have the characteristic whoop; the cough comes on in paroxysms, more frequently by night than by day; each paroxysm begins with a deep and loud inspiration, followed by a succession of short and sharp expirations, again followed by a deep inspiration, and the repeated expirations; this may go on several times, and last 1 or 2 minutes, according to the severity of the case. Just before each attack comes on, the child clings to its nurse or mother. During the paroxysm it sits in an erect position, the face is flushed, the veins in the head and face prominent, the eyes suffused and watery, and generally there is some glairy fluid expelled from the mouth, or vomiting may come on. After the paroxysm the child will rest for a time, and appear pretty well until the next attack. These symptoms last for 3 or 4 weeks, and then the cough abates in severity and frequency, and finally ceases altogether. If it comes on during the winter the cough may last six or seven weeks, unless extra care is taken. In