Gastric Fever of Infancy.
THE, inflammatory affections of the bowels, which happen after teeth cutting, are frequently accompanied by remittent fever, the fever showing itself very distinctly towards evening, and subsiding, or nearly disappearing, in the morning. It is a sympathetic fever, and is generally the result of a reaction produced by inflammation of the stomach, or ileum, or colon. The attack is sometimes sudden, though generally gradual.
Symptoms. For several clays, the child will be languid and fretful, with loss of appetite, increased thirst, and some heat of skin. Towards night these symptoms are more intense; the skin is more hot, the thirst and restlessness are greater, the pulse more rapid. In the morning, the skin is more moist and cool, and the child falls into a short, disturbed sleep. Early in the attack, the bowels are constipated, though there is sometimes diarrhea, or a frequent desire to go to stool without much being passed. The evacuations are always unnatural and very offensive. They are dark colored, or clay like, or of the consistency of tar, sometimes mixed with mucus, and occasionally with blood. There is tenderness of the belly, and pressure upon it causes pain. It is also hot to the touch, while the feet are cold. The face is flushed, and the breath has a decidedly sickly smell. The stomach is irritable, and vomiting is frequent. The tongue, after a time, becomes coated, dry, and pointed.
In the chronic form of the disease, there is, frequently, diarrhea, the passages being unhealthy and fetid; the tongue is covered with a brownish yellow mucus, the gums with sores; the lips are parched and cracked; the urine is scanty and high colored, with a white sediment. the skin, dry, harsh, and dirty looking; the countenance contracted and wrinkled; and there is, frequently, a dry, hacking cough.
Treatment. Regulate the diet. This is important. In recent and acute cases, withhold all food, except some cold mucilaginous fluid to drink, as rice water, gum water, infusion of slippery elm bark, or milk diluted with barley water
Give a warm or tepid bath daily.
Purgatives should be used sparingly. The bowels, when costive, had better, generally, be opened by injections of tepid water, or thin gruel. If any laxative be used, let it be the compound rhubarb powder, or either of the following (28), (281). When the discharges have become healthy, and the tongue clean and moist, some light bitter, as the infusion of Peruvian bark, or calumba, in combination with diluted sulphuric or hydrochloric acid, may be given. These, carefully given, with the daily tepid bath, and exercise in the open air will soon restore the strength.
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