Abbildungen der Seite


must be boiled. When the child is weaned, and has acquired its proper teeth, it will be necessary to let it have small portions of meat and vegetables; also, dishes prepared of four, as the most simple food is the most nutritive. Pastry, confectionary, heavy or compound dishes, ought to be withheld, particularly from delicate children. Potatoes should be allowed only in moderation, and those not eaten with butter, but mashed up with other vegetables. It is advisable to accustom children to a certain regularity in their aliment, by giving them their meals at stated periods of the day; which will render them less subject to debility and disease, give the stomach time to recover its tone, and to collect the juices necessary for digestion. To children of four or five years old, animal food may be allowed at dinner; and bread and milk night and morning; due regard being, at all times, paid to the health and habits of the child.

SLEEP. “ Infants, from the time of their birth, should be encouraged to sleep in the night in preference to the day ; therefore, mothers and nurses ought to remove every thing which may tend to disturb their rest, and not to attend to every call for taking them up and giving food at improper periods. Infants cannot sleep too long; when they enjoy a calm, long-continued rest, it is a favorable symptom. Until the third year, children generally require a little sleep in the middle of the day; for, till that age, half their time may safely be allotted to sleep. Every succeeding year, the time ought to be shortened one hour; so that a child seven years old may sleep about ten hours. Children ought to rise at six o'clock in the summer, and at seven in the winter. It is extremely injudicious to awaken children with a noise, or to carry them immediately from a dark room into the glaring light, or against a dazzling wall: the sudden impression of light may debilitate the organs of vision, and lay the foundation of weak eyes.-Wet clothes or linen should never be allowed to be hung to dry in the bed-room, as an impure atmosphere is attended with various and often fatal consequences. “ Banish (says Professor Hufeland) feather beds, as they are unnatural and debilitating contrivances.” The bedstead should not be placed too low on the floor; and it is highly improper to suffer children to sleep on a couch which is made without a sufficient elevation from the ground.

EXERCISE. “The effort at exercise is both pleasant and serviceable to a child; and as it grows up, it is proper to regularly exercise it. Children who are perfectly healthy are in almost uninterrupted motion ; but if exercise, either from its violence or too long duration, exceed the proper limits, it naturally quickens the circulation and respiration, which may occasion the rupture of small blood-vessels and in. Hammatory diseases. A weakly child ought not to be allowed to stand or walk long together ; but should be alternately carried, drawn in a vehicle, and invited to walk. If a child seek to put its feet on the ground, let it do so; but do not force it to walk. In the first period of life, the exertion of crying is almost the only exercise of the infant; by which the circulation of the blood, and all the other fluids, are render. ed more uniform ; digestion, nutrition, and the growth of the body, are thereby promoted, and the different secretions of the skin (together with insensible perspiration) are duly performed. The loud complaints of infants deserve attention ; for if their cries be violent and long con.

WASHING AND BATHING.-TEETHING. tinued, and they draw their legs towards the belly, it may safely be concluded, they are troubled with colic pains; and no time should be lost in yielding relief. To endeavor to prevent an infant from crying on every occasion, is to do it an irreparable injury; for, by such mismanagement, it never acquires a perfectly formed breast, and frequently the foundation is laid in the pectoral vessels for obstructions and other diseases. Ifchildren have been properly exposed to the air from infancy, they may, if healthy, be safely exercised in it in all seasons. The sooner infants are taken into the air, they become less subject to cold, convulsions, disordered bowels, and the rickets,—diseases so frequent among those who are reared in nurseries."

WASHING and BATHING. “ The benefit to be derived from the daily practice of washing a child with cold water from head to foot, is almost incredible; it strengthens the nerves, maintains a sound and healthy state of the pores of the skin, and renders the surface of the body less susceptible of external impressions. In general, a child may be begun to be washed in this manner in the third or fourth week, warm water being used till that period, which must be changed for cooler, until it be gradually reduced to cold. In frosty weather, a little warm water may be added to the cold. It is highly imprudent to wash children directly after they rise from their bed, as the pores are then open ; but, in about half an hour afterwards, if they be cool, they should be washed quickly. Avoid wetting the skin gradually ; else the skin is not excited by the friction. After washing, rub the body until it be dry and warm. Delicate children should be washed in the evening, and placed in bed immediately afterwards.-In a striking manner does the cold bath preserve and promote the health of children; it refreshes and invigorates the organs of the skin, and considerably mitigates the diseases of measles and small-pox. It is proper to begin the practice in warm weather, and to continue it through every season afterwards. Delicate and weakly children must be bathed in luke-warm water ; but, as they increase in strength, the degree of warmth may be diminished. For the first two or three months, the child should re. main in the bath for a few minutes only at a time; which as it grows older, may be gradually increased to a quarter of an hour. The body, while in the bath, should be gently rubbed with the hand, or a piece of sponge, and the greatest care taken in rubbing it dry. If the shock of a cold bath appear too powerful for the constitution, bathing in salt and water may be substituted. If a child after bathing should feel disposed to sleep, it may be indulged; and weakly children using the cold bath, may wear a flannel shirt. A child should not be bathed directly after eating; nor, in cold weather, after coming out of the bath, exposed to the cold air."

TEETHING. This is an important and critical period of a child's life, and the danger generally increases in proportion to the delay of a child's getting its teeth. In general, children begin to cut their teeth between the fifth and eighth month. The symptoms attendant upon teething are well known; but many of the evils may be prevented by a strict attention to the bowels of the patient; for if the child be of a full habit of body, it is essential to have them in a lax state. If there be considerable fever, the gums may be scarified, and leeches applied behind the ears; but blisters have been used instead of leeches, with SUMMER COMPLAINT.-HOOPING COUGH. considerable effect. With strong healthy children, the process of teething passes off without the least difficulty; but it is generally the contrary with those who are weak or unhealthy. The practice of giving a child a coral, or other hard substance into its hand, cannot be too severely reprobated; a crust of bread, or a piece of wax candle, will be found much better. Opium is sometimes given in order to allay the pain and irritation; but as it is attended with some danger, it ought to be prohibited from being used in the nursery, and a tea-spoonful of syrup of poppies substituted; and this only in cases of urgency. To enable a child to pass easily through this dangerous period, every thing that has a tendency to promote general health, and prevent fever, should be resorted to ; such as pure air, exercise, nutritious food, &c.

SUMMER COMPLAINT. This is a disease which is said to destroy nearly one fourth of all the children who die, in the Middle and Southern States. Its chief causes are, doubtless, heated and impure air, and errors in regard to diet. Hence, as might be supposed, the disease is most prevalent in crowded cities, and among the poorer classes, whose children are badly nursed, and especially neglected as to cleanliness of their persons and clothing.

One of the most effectual means, therefore, of preserving children from an attack of this complaint, is to seek for them a healthy situation in the country, where they can enjoy the benefit of pure air. This, however, cannot always be effected-still much may be done by parents, who are confined with their families to the city, to prevent this disease. In such cases, the children should occupy, always, the largest and most airy room in the house; if possible, on the secondsdoor. The room should be guarded from exposuro to the direct rays of the sun, while a constant and free ventilation is kept up. The utmost cleanliness must also be observed in the room, as well as in the person and clothing of the children.

During the summer months, the daily use of the cold or tepid bath, while it ensures the cleanliness of the skin, is a very powerful means of preventing this disease. It should not, therefore, be neglected, provided there is no circumstance connected with the health and constitution of the child to forbid its employment.

In clear weather, and in the cool of the day, children should be frequendy carried abroad, in the most open and healthy parts of the neighborhood; or, when the parents have it in their power, a considerable benefit will be derived from repeated rides in an open carriage, into the neighboring country.

HOOPING COUGH. This is a disease distinguishable from all others by its shrill whoop, and which is terminated by vomiting; and is also indicated by a slight difficulty of breathing, hoarseness, &c.

In general, it is sufficient to guard the child from taking cold, and from eating to repletion. If the attack, however, be more than ordinarily severe, an emetic of ipecacuanha in the morning, and a gentle purgative during the day, will prove extremely serviceable. Small doses of elixir paragoric with ipecac or antimonial wine may be occasionally and beneficially administered. It is recommended, also, to give roasted apples, stoned prunes, &c., and frequently to bathe the feet in warm water. The vapor arising from a quantity of hot water, into which a


little vinegar or ether has been put, may be beneficially inhaled. A teaspoonful of equal portions of linseed oil and flour of sulphur is sometimes found useful. This quantity may be given to a child under four. years of age. Vaccination is now often practised as an effectual remedy for the hooping cough. Change of air is at all tinies important, and if practicable, the sea-coast should be visited in severe cases. Flannel, next the skin is very beneficial; a light diet should be used ; and when the patient is in bed, his head and shoulders must be raised. Parents ought to pay the greatest attention, when the cough comes on, by bending the patient a little forward, which will be of great service, and guard against suffocation. Cold bathing has been attended with the most beneficial results.

CROUP. This is a disease generally confined to children, and which comes on, imperceptibly and suddenly. The first indications of it are a hoarse dry cough and wheezing, which is followed by rattling in the throat. No time should be lost in obtaining medical aid; yet while the physician is coming, something should be attempted. A distinguished physician recommends the giving of emetics of ipecac, and oxymel of squills between; the former as often as every two hours at least ; warm bath often repeated; a blister put between the shoulder blades ; calomel two grains, doses every two hours. For children above eight years old, the calomel may be increased to six, eight and ten grains, according to the severity of the disease. A strong decoction of seneca (or snake) root, frequently taken into the mouth in small quantities, has been successfully used to promote a separation of the films and co agula that form and adhere to the windpipe and cells of the lungs. The decoction is made by boiling an ounce of seneca root in two pints of water down to a pint, and then straining. In all cases of croup, the child must be kept nearly upright in bed, to guard against suffocation. If the child be threatened with suffocation, sneezing may be excited by introducing strong snuff up the nostrils by means of a camel-hair pencil.

MEASLES. This disease is contagious, and spreads widely by its effluvia. It commences, observes Dr. Clutterbuck, with symptoms of sneezing, red and watery eyes, and a short, dry, hoarse cough; which symptoms continue for some time, after the eruption has disappeared. Frequently the inflammation extends to the substance of the lungs, giving rise to difficulty of breathing, with a pain in the chest, and a founda'tion is often laid for the pulmonary consumption. As the inflammation of the nose, eyes, and throat declines with the other symptoms, it is of little consequence; and unless the habit or mode of treatment be bad, the disease seldom proves fatal. It differs much in different seasons ; and its most frequent consequences are the various forms of scrofula, obstinate sores, and a weak and inflamed state of the eyes: the continuance of inflammation in the chest, in a chronic form, is another source of danger, which ought to be carefully guarded against. On the fourth day small red pimples appear, first on the face, spreading over the whole body; the pimples hardly elevated above the surrounding skin, but by the touch are found to be a little prominent. On the fifth or sixth day, they turn brown, and disappear with the peeling off of the scarf-skin. Mild cases of measles require only careful nursing, and a free expecto


ration, by means of mild purgatives, diluting drinks, and a spare, low diet. Barley water, tamarind tea, and any thing of a simple nature should be taken freely; but fermented liquors, and every kind of animal food, must be avoided. All the drink should be tepid. When the measles suddenly disappear, every exertion must be made, in order to restore the eruption. The patient must be placed in a warm bath, and warm wine and water, with ten drops of antimonial wine, frequently given. It may, also, be necessary to ply blisters to the inside of the thighs or legs, and to the throat. After the patient has recovered, it will be expedient to give two or three doses of cooling, opening medicines, and to cautiously avoid exposure to cold.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

POISONS may be defined substances which prove fatal to the life of animals, whether taken by the mouth, mixed with the blood, or applied to the nerves by friction of the skin, or other means. Most of the substances called poisonous are only so in certain doses ; when given in smaller quantities, they are, many of them, active medicines. Others are fatal in the smallest quantities; such are those of hydrophobia and the plague.

As we cannot treat of poisons at large, we think our object will be best accomplished by the following tabular statements; the first column containing the names of the poisons; the second the symptoms, and the last the remedies. But we nevertheless advise, in every case where poisons have been taken, recourse to the best medical assistance at





CONCENTRA. Burning pain, vomiting ; Calcined magnesia; one ounce

TED ACIDS: matter thrown up effer- to a pint of warm or cold water. A The vitriolic or sul- vescing with chalk, salt glassful to be taken every two mi. phuric, nitric, muri. of tartar, lime or mag. nutes, so as to excite vomiting. atic, oxalic, &c. nesia.

Soap, or chalk and water : mucilaginous drinks afterwards, such as lint-seed tea or gum-arabic and wa. ter.

ALKALIES: Nearly the sanre; the Vinegar or lemon.juice; a spoon. Potash, Soda, ain- ejected matter does not ful or two in a glass of water very monia, lime, &c. effervesce with alkalies, frequently; simply warm water.

but acids.

« ZurückWeiter »