Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/822

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
802
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Apoplexy.—The proximate cause of apoplexy is due to a congestion of the cerebral blood-vessels, induced by alcoholism, dietetic excesses, combined with the influence of sedentary habits. Consciousness, at least, can generally be restored by lessening the tendency of the circulation toward the head. The patient should be propped up in a sitting posture, with his head erect, his neck bared, and his temples and occiput moistened with cold water, while friction or a warm foot-bath should determine the circulation toward the extremities. Open every window of the sick-room, and, after the patient has sufficiently recovered to sit up in his bed, direct him to turn his face toward the cool draught, and now and then cool his temples with a cataplasm of crushed ice. For the first twenty-four hours let him abstain from all solid food.

Persons with an apoplectic diathesis should adopt a frugal and aperient diet, and avoid prolonged sedentary occupations, especially in a heated room. They should also avoid superfluous bedclothing, and open their bedroom-windows in all but the stormiest nights. The feet, however, ought to be kept warm under all circumstances. Plethoric gourmands ought at least to renounce late suppers and alcoholic stimulants.

Burns and Scalds.—Loose cotton, slightly moistened with linseed-oil, has an almost magical effect in relieving the pain of severe burns. When inflammation has supervened, the feverish condition of the patient requires cooling ablutions and the free use of ice-water, both topically and as a sedative beverage. Slight burns can be treated with any emollient application, and a piece of common court-plaster is sufficient to protect the sore till a new skin has formed under the blister.

Chilblains.—The effect of frost-bites is often aggravated by a too sudden, change of temperature, or rather by the application of the wrong kind of caloric. The restoring warmth should come from within rather than from without. It is not necessary to scrape a frost-bitten person with icicles, after the Russian plan; friction of any kind above or around the affected part will restore, as far as possible, the suspended circulation of the blood, and thus initiate the remedial functions of Nature. Deep foot-sores should be bandaged with linen rags and clean, warm tallow.

Dropsy.—It is a suggestive fact that the prevalence of dropsy has decreased since bleeding has gone out of fashion. There was a time when venesection was resorted to in nine out of ten kinds of diseases, and at that time a complaint which in its chronic form appears now almost only as a consequence of outrageous dietetic abuses was nearly as frequent as consumption. Bleeding impoverishes the blood, and dropsy, in any of its forms, can nearly always be traced to a depravation of the humors by unwholesome food or drink, or a disorder of the blood-making organs. As a symptomatic complaint, for in-