THIS is One Of the scourges of childhood. Croup is an inflammation of the mucous membrane of the larynx and windpipe. It causes a peculiar fluid to flow out upon the surface of the membrane, which stiffens into a membrane, or skin like substance and adheres to the inner surface of the windpipe, and sometimes extends through the whole of the bronchial tubes. This is membranous croup, the worst and most fatal form of the disease. The ordinary form of croup consists in a congestion of the vocal chords with edema and swelling, so that the voice is very husky and the cough very much like a. hoarse, tight bark. This form is the result of cold, and is usually quickly amenable to treatment, although it is really quite frightful for parents, to hear.
The Symptoms of croup are, difficulty of breathing, hoarseness, and a peculiarly loud and ringing cough, with fever. In the membranous and worst form of the disease, the breathing is not, at first, so laborious, and the symptoms generally not so violent and alarming as in the less fatal but more inflammatory type. This latter kind, though generally causing great Alarm, like a highway robber, by the sudden fierceness with which they seize the throat, are yet much less fatal, and of course less to be feared, than the membranous form. The disease is pretty much confined to children between the ages of one and eight years.
Treatment. The mild and ordinary form of croup, so frequently experienced by young children at night time, is usually much alleviated by small oft repeated doses either of the syrup or of the wine of ipecac, say five drops (for a child two years old) every fifteen minutes, till nausea, and even vomiting ensue, then much less often. the inhalation of steam, and of many of the medicated vapors, is an excellent method of treatment for the older children. One tea, spoonful of the compound tincture of benzoin in a bowl of boiling water inhaled through a tin funnel is a very simple thing and a very efficacious one; this is to be repeated every twenty minutes. In cases which do not yield to this treatment at once, the employment of turpeth mineral, in one half to one grain closes every half hour till the child vomits, will clear up almost any severe case. The accompanying bronchitis which often follows is to be treated as laid down for that disease. Membranous croup is in reality diphtheria, and is to be so treated, the exudation being in the windpipe rather than in the throat. As soon as the case is diagnosed, the child is to be quarantined in a room by itself, and all the precautions taken against spreading the disease that would be employed in diphtheria proper. The newly discovered antitoxin, with which the world has now been blessed for a year or two, has already saved hundreds and thousands of lives by its timely use. Nothing is simpler, nothing more efficacious, and nothing less deleterious. (See Diphtheria, page 533.)
The inhalation of the vapor of water slacked lime softens the membrane and causes the little one to breathe with more ease. Place a bucket under a tent made with a sheet spread over the crib, into this bucket put a piece of lime the size of a turnip, and gradually add a little water. The fumes produced are not hard to bear, but an adult should also get under the tent, so that the little one will not be frightened. Keep the room warm, with plenty of moisture in the air. Liquid diet which is very concentrated, like beef extracts, milk and egg, etc., with stimulants, should be given every two hours. Support the strength and heart by simple tonics like quinine, one-half grain in powdered sugar, or in a tiny pill, every two hours.
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