Purple Disease. Purpura Hemorrhagica.
THIS has been sometimes ranked as an affection of the skin; but it is not such; it is rather a disease of the general system.
Symptoms. The complaint is known by the appearance upon the skin of two kinds of spots; the one kind are small, round, bright red points even with the surface, and changing in a day or two to a purple or livid color, which are yellowish brown when about to disappear. This variety of the purples is quite simple, attacking, generally, young persons, and in warm weather. It is sometimes tedious in its course, but never dangerous. It requires little treatment pure air, wholesome diet, with quinia and the mineral acids, make up the chief part of it. It may be known by the spots not disappearing when pressed upon by the finger.
The other and more dangerous variety of the disease is attended, generally, by faintness, wandering pains, great debility, and the appearance upon the legs, arms, and body, of dark red spots, and irregular, livid patches, looking just like the marks of recent bruises. These marks are caused by the effusion of blood in patches under the skin; and in this respect they are just like bruises, only they are .produced by different causes.
In the rapid progress of the disease, dark venous blood frequently oozes from the tongue, mucous membrane of the mouth, nose, breathing tubes, ears, vagina, womb, stomach, etc. The other symptoms vary in different cases very much, but generally indicate great disturbance of the system.
It often runs a very rapid course, but sometimes remains for months. The disease, as seen in this country, is oftentimes associated with rheumatism, it not infrequently being the forerunner of a long and tedious rheumatic outbreak.
Treatment. The bowels are to be kept regular by gentle physic (26), (21), (12), (15). Iron is a valuable remedy (73). Astringents generally have a good effect (156), (159), (279), (305). The best astringent in this complaint is Gallic acid, taken in five grain doses every three or four hours.
The sponge bath, twice a day, with tepid or cool water, and followed with gentle rubbing with a coarse towel, will do much to restore and equalize the circulation in the skin.
During the active stage of the disease, the diet should be very light, simple toast water, rice and arrow root gruel, and either alum or wine whey.
While getting well, the patient may have a more nourishing diet, consisting of tender fresh meat, broths, etc. ; and must take gentle exercise in the open air.
When associated with rheumatism, the latter disease should be treated on the same lines laid down elsewhere for rheumatism.
Iron usually is the mainstay for building up the blood, and should be given in some mild, unstimulating form, such as Bland's pills, or pepto mangan, peptonate or albuminate of iron, etc.
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