Whooping Cough. Purtussis.
This is a contagious disease, peculiar to childhood, and occurring but once in the same individual. It is characterized by a convulsive, paroxysmal cough, which is attended by long"continued hissing, convulsive breathing, with rattling in the windpipe, which is succeeded by several short efforts to expel the breath, following each other in quick succession. The long, convulsive breathing, attended by the whooping sound, is immediately repeated; and these paroxysms continue until a quantity of thick, slimy, ropy mucous is thrown up, by expectoration or vomiting, when the breathing is again free. These paroxysms have all the appearance of impending suffocation, redness of the face, shedding of tears, sweating about the head and forehead, and such agitation of the whole body that the child lays hold of something for support. Blood sometimes starts from the nostrils, and the child involuntarily passes water or evacuates the bowels. In spring and autumn the disease most prevails. It is not generally dangerous.
Treatment. First give an emetic, say, two drams of wine of ipecac. Afterwards, give small doses of ipecac and sulphur (277). From six to fifteen grains of sulphur alone, three times a day, is an excellent remedy. A liniment of olive oil, oil of amber, etc. (193), applied to the spine, is useful. Belladonna (278) is a good remedy. Prussic acid (96) is strongly recommended by many, and is worthy of a trial. Ipecac (106) is a valuable remedy. Alum (279) is well recommended. Sulphuric ether, a little being spilled in the nurse's hand and held to the child's nose, generally shortens the paroxysm, and frequently abridges the disease. A solution of nitric acid in water, as strong as lemon juice, and sweetened, is a very valuable remedy, breaking up the disease in two or three weeks. The child may drink it freely, a little further reduced with water. Inhalations of cresoline are the most useful to abridge and soften the paroxysms.
There are remedies by the legion that have from time to time been used against whooping cough, but few of them have survived their infancy. Among the more modem drugs bromoform still holds a prominent place. Given in one to six drop doses in a tablespoonful of water, three times a day, and gradually increased to five, and ten drops, respectively, the drug exerts a marked impression on the duration and severity of the disease. Antipyrin, in five to ten grain doses, according to age of child, given three or four times daily, mitigates the paroxysm and shortens the disease. The burning of cresoline, a coal tar product obtainable at all drug stores, is a most valuable means of cutting short the disease. This liquid should be put in a tin box cover and set over a lamp with very small blaze, just sufficient, in fact, to evaporate the. cresoline. A lamp for the purpose comes with the cresoline, but any ordinary lamp with serrated lamp chimney may just as conveniently be used. The odor is strongly tarry. The vapor should be confined in the sleeping chamber at night, but may also be burned both night and day.
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