Looseness of the Bowels. Diarrhea.
Infants and children are more liable to diarrhea than adults, and this is the reason for speaking of the disease here as well as else. where. It may be caused by inflammation of the stomach and bowels, by irritation produced by too much or improper food, by cold and damp weather, or by teething. The discharges from the bowels may be more or less thin, of a dirty white color, of a curdled appearance and acid smell, or they may be watery, yellow or green in color, and often mixed with blood. Sometimes they are mixed with portions of undigested food, are very acid, and when the looseness has been caused by unripe vegetables and fruit, in a state of fermentation, like yeast. At other times, especially while teething, they are a kind of thick mucus, like jelly.
If pressure on the bowels causes pain, the diarrhea is the result of inflammation. When the disease has become chronic, the skin is dry, harsh, and discolored, the face wrinkled, looking yellowish, dirty, and old.
Treatment. First, regulate the diet. This is very important. In the case of older children, take away every kind of solid food, as well as pastry, confectionery, sweetmeats, and fresh vegetables. Give plain boiled rice and milk, sometimes boiled milk, water gruel, crackers and milk, tapioca, etc. At the beginning of the attack, give some mild physic, as castor oil, or syrup of rhubarb. A warm bath at this period is excellent. If the discharges are very sour, dissolve a teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda in half a tumbler of water, and give a teaspoonful every hour, or the same amount of lime water, mixed with an equal quantity of new milk, or prepared chalk and ipecac (158), some slight astringent being used also (159).
After cleaning out the bowels in the way recommended above give a one fourth teaspoonful for a child five years old of a mixture which may be obtained at the druggist containing 2 drachms of the subÂgallate of bismuth, 20 grains of salol in 2 ounces of compound chalk mixture.
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