Erysipelas. St. Anthony's Fire.
ERYSIPELAS is an acute inflammatory disease of the skin and tissue beneath, caused by a germ and ushered in by debility, loss of appetite, headache, chilliness, coated tongue, nausea, increase of temperature (102 to 105 degrees), rapid pulse, and followed by continued high temperature and the speedy appearance of an inflamed patch generally on the face or head, but may occupy a portion of the body or an entire limb. The affected area is of a glowy red, bright, shiny, with marked swelling, feels hot and firm and is sensitive to the touch; there is pain, burning and itching. Inflammation of ten extends rapidly; watery pimples or blisters may form, and finally pus. The disease should subside in a week unless complications occur involving the brain, lungs, heart, kidneys, etc., dropsy develops or an abscess forms. It is now believed that the erysipelas germ always obtains admission to the system through some abrasion of the surface, as through wounds, vaccination, skin diseases, etc. Whatever diminishes the vitality of the system predisposes one to the infection, also alcoholism and kidney diseases.
Apis. Much swelling; skin puffy and pale; stinging, burning, prickling pains, or sore, bruised feeling; skin sensitive to slightest touch; erysipelas of the face and scalp, with puffiness of the eyelids; chronic erysipelas occurring about once so often.
Belladonna. High fever; skin smooth, shining, bright; congestion of the head; sometimes delirium; severe headache; great thirst, dry tongue, parched lips; tendency of the inflammation to spread in streaks.
Rhus tox. Watery blisters (vesicles) on the face or body; itching, and burning after scratching; dark bluish redness of the affected part; bruised feeling in the back and limbs.
Arsenicum. This remedy follows Rhus tox. well when the disease shifts from one place to another, and tends to attack internal organs; great restlessness and sinking of strength; skin bluish or black and blue; burning pains; quick, wiry pulse; grave cases.
Cantharis. An excellent remedy when watery blisters form, and in them as well as elsewhere there are fine stinging, burning pains; much inflammation; urine burns and is scanty or can not be passed; patient very restless and uneasy.
Also Aconite in the beginning with high fever. Arnica when the inflamed surface is extremely tender, and painful on pressure; hot hard, shining, deep red and patient feels as if he could not bear the pain.
Painting the affected surface with collodion will in ordinary cases often relieve the pain, and limit extension of inflammation. Cold water dressings, renewed before they become warm, are valuable. Rye flour or powdered starch may be dusted on as a dry dressing. A cranberry poultice made by mashing the raw berries with cold water to form a paste is a good and simple application. An ointment of lanolin containing twenty five per cent. of ichthyol, or a lotion with the same proportion of ichthyol, or a drachm of the hyposulphite of soda to one ounce of water can be recommended. Isolate the patient in a well ventilated room; keep him in bed, and scrupulously clean; at regular intervals give highly nourishing food such as milk, malted milk, chicken and lamb broths, meat juices, panopepton, trophonine, peptonized milk, plenty of water, and no alcoholic stimulants unless the pulse is weak, and the patient collapsed.
The injection of about 20 c. c. of anti streptococci serum every eight hours is one of the most modern methods of treatment.
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