Diseases of the Skin
Itching of the Skin. Pruritus.
PRURITUS is always secondary to some disturbance of the nervous system, occurs at all ages and in both sexes, but its aggravated forms are peculiar to middle life and advanced years. It frequently is a symptom in disturbances of the stomach, liver and intestines, in derangements of the urinary system and genital organs, and may be caused by worms in the rectum, piles,. a too stimulating diet, sedentary habits or perversion of the sexual functions. Pruritus is common in gouty and rheumatic persons. Itching of the anus is one of the most distressing forms.
Arsenicam. Crawling, burning sensations; intolerable itching of the genitals; itching of the anus, with burning, or an eruption emitting a small drop of watery fluid; chronic cases.
Mercurius Viv. Itching as from fleas; may be pleasant, voluptuous itching, or burning or tickling; itching of the genitals; of the anus with moisture, burning and smarting, worse at night.
Pulsatilla. Pruritus in women during monthly flow or pregnancy; itching as from ants.
Sulphur. Severe itching and burning of the anus, keeping the patient awake at night.
Rhus Tox. Itching, redness, swelling and tingling of the parts.
Nux Vom. Itching after stimulating food and alcohol, with indigestion; sexual organs especially.
A dose of the indicated remedy every four hours. Regulate all the habits especially the sexual life, and exercise and diet. Scratching is most harmful, and temporary relief may often be obtained by pressing firmly on the surface or by gently drawing over it an oiled or wet cloth. When the skin is free from abrasions alternate hot and cold douching, or even the cold salt water sponge will improve its tone. A simple application is made by adding one ounce each of hyposulphite of soda and glycerin to three ounces of water. Lotions containing carbolic acid are probably the most effective, and may be obtained at any drug store. The long continued application of even a weak solution of carbolic acid may cause gangrene of the skin. Always use a dusting powder after drying the skin. A saturated solution of boric acid, or the compound tincture of benzoin may be painted on the genitals. The general health should be improved; organic diseases receive appropriate treatment, and the garment worn next the skin should not be of wool.
Cancer of the Skin. Epithelioma.
EPITHELIOMA is distinctly the product of long continued irritation, generally changing some primary benign condition to one of malignancy. Thus a wart, pimple, hardened gland, or a circumscribed excoriation as of the lip from a pipe or cigar may after some years become the starting point of a cancer. Nearly three fourths of all cancers of the skin occur on some part of the head or face, most frequently after forty years of age, and more often in men than in women.
When occurring without any previously existing affection, an epithelioma is first noticeable in the form of a few greasy scales, a papery crust covering three or four shallow ulcers, or a hard bluish nodule varying in size. It may be superficial or extend quite deeply into the tissues; occur on the genitals, extremities ' on the lip or any part of the face and head; may be indolent or of rapid growth; curable or incurable, but usually the outlook is serious.
Remedies that may be given internally are Thuja for warty growths with the symptoms given under "Warts"; Arsenicum in undoubted malignancy, with itching and burning pains, ulceration, and depression of the whole system. Nitric acid. Bluish red, nodulated, roundish ulcer; bleeding easily; unbearable burning pain worse from eating and drinking; cancer of the mucous membrane especially. Petroleum. Nodules on wrists, hands, arms, feet and legs; pimples in the folds of the genitals. Conium or Causticum recommended to prevent horny excrescences assuming a cancerous character. A dose of the remedy selected twice a day.
Local treatment should be promptly instituted, so promptly, indeed, that warts, fissures, erosions, or other abnormal conditions of the skin should never be neglected or allowed to persist, with the always present possibility that degenerative changes may take place. Internal remedies will improve the general condition, and supplement other measures, but the x-rays or the knife should be resorted to as early as possible. The results of treatment of superficial forms of cancer, especially by the x-rays, are very encouraging, and in very large cities leading surgeons and specialists in skin diseases have the necessary apparatus. Do not try "cancer cures," but go to a qualified practitioner, whether allopath or homeopath. Treatment by the x-rays is painless, and the skin less liable to be badly scarred than when the knife is used. Caustics are frequently used to destroy cancer of the skin, but we cannot recommend their use by the laity. Growths are also cauterized by means of electricity.
Whitlow. Felon. Paronychia.
A "run round" of whatever degree is an exceedingly painful affection. It affects the end of a finger or thumb causing inflammation and swelling, and excruciating pain, especially when the covering of the bone is involved. Pus may form, the nail be affected and come, off . One run round may be followed by others.
Hapar Sulph. Give early before suppuration occurs, when there is redness, tenderness, and more or less swelling; or after suppuration is established. A dose every two hours.
Silicea. A most valuable remedy; especially in bad cases with the bone involved; burning, tearing, sticking pains better from warm applications, worse from cold; suppuration; slow healing. A dose every three hours.
Fluoric Acid. Bone felons, with offensive discharge in persons subject to skin eruptions; pain and other symptoms better from cold applications, worse from warm. Give as above.
A felon, accompanied by the characteristic hammering, throbbing pains, may sometimes be aborted by the following simple treatment: Pour one half pint of boiling water on a handful of fresh wood ashes, making a strong lye. Thrust the finger into the lye which must be as hot as can be borne. After a few minutes remove the finger, and apply compress wet with the hot lye. Repeat the treatment in three or four hours, if necessary. An excellent application relieving inflammation and swelling is antiphlogistine. Plaster it on, cover with absorbent cotton, and renew daily. Free incision should be made with a sterilized lancet as soon as pus forms, and the wound cleansed with an antiseptic such as peroxide of hydrogen or listerine. It is well to keep the hand in a sling; the hand should be higher than the elbow.
COMMON warts consist of a pinhead to bean sized circumscribed elevation of the skin due to excessive growth of little end expansions of vessels and nerves in the skin. The precise cause of these warts is unknown, but in many instances they seem to be contagious. There are other kinds of warts, those in old people, may be due to changes in nutrition of the skin, or may precede the development of cancer of the skin. Venereal warts are due to specific infection, and warts in tuberculosis to the bacillus of that disease. Fig warts are excrescences shaped like a fig. The common warts here referred to may often be cured by the use of the indicated remedy; this will not interfere with local treatment.
Thuja. Wart shaped excrescences here and there, especially on the hands and genitals, but may appear about the head and ears; warts after gonorrhea; come in groups or crops; seed warts or fig warts that are moist or suppurate.
Nitric Acid. Warts especially on the arms, head, neck and nose; moist, bleeding, inflamed; cauliflower warts; may be hard and horny or large and fleshy; burning, pricking or painful; fig warts that split or crack.
Antimonium Crud. Flat, horny warts in fair, fleshy, children.
Causticum. Small, horny or hard old warts, may occur all over the body; may be large and fleshy, painful, stinging, inflamed and moist warts on the nose, face or hands.
A dose of the indicated remedy three times a day. When taken internally, thuja may be used as a lotion also, twenty drops of the tincture to a cupful of water. Warts may be removed by the knife, electro cautery, nitrate of silver, pure nitric acid or other caustic. Venereal warts should be kept clean, washed with a solution of peroxide of hydrogen, dried thoroughly and kept dusted with calomel.
Inflammation of the Glands of the Groin or Armpits.
WHILE inflammation of these glands is most common in persons of a scrofulous constitution, swelling, soreness and even suppuration may be due to other causes. Glandular enlargement may accompany the eruption in measles, or be present in hereditary syphilis, typhus fever, scarlet fever, tuberculosis, during the change of life, and in disease of the blood with impoverishment of the blood supply, great disturbance of nutrition, and more or less enlargement of the spleen. Sometimes injuries to the upper extremities cause inflammation of the glands under the arms, and to the lower extremities of the glands in the groin. Consult the remedies given under "Scrofula."
Belladonna. Enlargement and hardening with heat and redness of the glands under the arm, especially in women at the change of life; also, during scarlet fever.
Alumina. Swelling of the glands or a gland in the groin in gonorrhea, with yellowish discharges from the male organ, and itching and burning along the urinary passage.
Carbo Animalis. Enlargement of the glands of the groin and armpits, feel hard like a stone, especially in syphilitics.
Conium. Stony hardness of the glands, with little or no pain, after a contusion or bruise, or in enlargement and hardness of the glands in persons with scrofula or cancer in the family.
Also Hepar sulph., Calcarea carb., Iodine, Sulphur, etc., as given under "Scrofula," and Silicea when glands have broken down and discharged matter, yet feel bard and are slow to heal. Mercurius. Enlarged glands in syphilitic or scrofulous persons, with or without suppuration. Phytolacca. Inflammation and swelling of the glands, with rheumatic pains; may be ulceration. A dose of the indicated remedy three times a day.
When pus forms in an enlarged gland it should be evacuated, and the wound cleansed with an antiseptic wash such as listerine and water, 1 to 4, or corrosive sublimate 1 to 1,000. Gauze wet with tincture of calendula, 20 drops to a cupful of water, may be used as a dressing, and covered with oiled silk and a bandage. When the glands are merely sore and inflamed, antiphlogistine makes a most excellent application. In syphilitic cases a mercurial ointment may be applied.
Science, tells us that scrofula is a form of tuberculosis caused by the same variety of rod shaped cell called a bacillus. The form of scrofula to which this section refers is that manifested by swelling of the glands under the jaws, in the neck, groin, and under the arms. For a detailed description see page 529. Infection may take place through the tonsils, the lining membrane of the nasal passages, or through abrasions of the skin. It is most often poorly nourished children and adults who are affected, especially those living under unhygienic conditions. Sometimes the glandular trouble accompanies consumption of the lungs.
In children of a scrofulous constitution humors and sores on the skin are common, healing is often slow, and recurrence frequent. Remedies used homeopathically are of great value, because correcting the constitutional condition which favors the development of the disease locally,
Calcarea Carb. Enlarged glands in plump, fair skinned individuals; tendency to grow fat; take cold easily, feet damp and cold; perspire profusely.
Baryta Carb. Painful, hard swelling of the glands under the jaw or in the back of the neck, especially after influenza; in children subject to inflammation and swelling of the tonsils, and who develop slowly mentally.
Hepar Sulph. Enlarged glands which tend to suppurate, and break down; skin unhealthy, even slight injuries are slow to heal and matter forms.
Mercurius Viv. Scrofulous somewhat emaciated individuals, especially children, with large heads; limbs cold and damp; oily, offensive perspiration of the head; enlarged glands suppurate and discharge pus.
Silicea. A valuable constitutional remedy when the bones as well as the glands often seem to be affected; sour or offensive perspiration at night; sensitiveness to cold air; large head and distended abdomen; glands suppurate, and a thin discharge persists.
Also Iodine when glands are enlarged and hard, especially in dark-haired, sallow, thin persons. Sulphur as a constitutional remedy in dark complexioned individuals, with dry skin subject to eruptions, sores, cracks, itching and burning; slight injuries are slow to heal. A dose of the indicated remedy may be given three times a day.
Plenty of fresh air; sunshine; nourishing, digestible food, and hygienic surroundings are indispensable. Cod liver oil is both a food and a medicine, and may be given by mouth and also rubbed into the skin daily after bathing. Change of air is frequently beneficial. Children of a scrofulous constitution should not be allowed to eat sweets, fried food, pastry, cake, pork, griddle cakes, or to spend much time indoors.
SWELLING of the veins near the surface, especially of the legs; with relaxation of the walls, and a more or less permanent distention with the accumulated blood is familiar to all. Tight garters, tight lacing, constant standing, pregnancy, hereditary tendency, and impaired circulation from debility or other diseases are common causes. A vein may burst causing severe bleeding, or ulceration may result. Medical treatment is valuable as a preventive or curative measure, but occasionally must be supplemented by surgical interference.
Hamamelis. Especially in acute cases; veins inflamed, painful or dilated, and soreness is conspicuous.
Pulsatilla. Varicose veins occurring during pregnancy; soreness and stinging pains.
Fluoric Acid. This remedy is recommended by several good authorities as producing shrinkage in the size of the affected veins.
When there is acute inflammation of a vein, Arnica is suitable, and later if the veins are blue and livid, with threatened ulceration and burning pains, Carbo veg. should be taken. A dose of the indicated remedy morning and night.
Bathe the affected part with Hamamelis, and at night apply cloths wet with the same and covered with oiled silk. For the leg an elastic stocking will be found of great service, or bandaging with a rubber or woolen bandage. Keep the limb elevated. If the skin is broken, apply hamamelis cerate; if hemorrhage occurs, the sufferer should lie down and the affected part be elevated, while bleeding is controlled by pressure and cold applications.
THIS is a Small, circumscribed, painful tumor, which begins in the form of a pimple and increases in size until as large sometimes as a walnut. A boil differs from a simple abscess in having a core of dead tissue, around which the inflammation develops. Modern science is of the opinion that this disease is due to the invasion of a microorganism, which, entering some tiny gland in the skin sets up changes causing death of nearby tissue, and irritation with inflammation. One boil is frequently followed by another in persons in ill health from anxiety, overwork, unwholesome food, lack of exercise, etc. A boil may be very painful before pus forms, and the tumor softens and breaks down, discharging matter and the hard core.
Belladonna. If the boil is hard, red and painful, a dose of Belladonna every hour will often relieve pain and prevent the formation of matter.
Hepar sulph. Pulsating pain indicating suppuration. The boil will come more quickly to a head through the use of this remedy every two hours.
Arnica. An excellent remedy to be taken three times a day for a week or two after having boils, to prevent their recurrence.
Sulphur as a preventive is sometimes more effective, especially in persons subject to skin eruptions.
Silicea. Boils that come in crops are slow to heal and have a thin, watering, bad smelling discharge or thick pus; also, for the hard spots left by boils.
In its earliest stage a boil can be aborted by introducing a pointed stick of nitrate of silver, and working it thoroughly round; this is, of course, very painful. The galvanocautery is also used. The injection of two or more drops of carbolic acid (95 0/0) will frequently abort a boil. Never use a knife on a boil until it is thoroughly ripe. In the very beginning spread antiphlogistine over the, affected area only, and cover with gauze or cheese cloth, and absorbent cotton. This will often prevent suppuration, if available, and is superior to poulticing. When a boil is opened by knife, all pus and dead matter should be removed, peroxide of hydrogen, or corrosive sublimate 1 to 1000, used as a wash, and cheese cloth wet with one of these antiseptics applied, or with calendula tincture twenty drops to a cupful of water. Do not poultice after opening a ripe boil, or the formation of more boils will be encouraged.
A GOOD description of carbuncle will be found on page 588. A carbuncle is a malignant boil, much harder to heal than a simple boil, and seems to affect the whole system. Spring and summer are the, seasons of the year when boils or carbuncles are most likely to develop, and in debilitated people, or persons who make a sudden change in their diet or habits, undergo prolonged fatigue, or those having kidney disease or recovering from long continued illness.
Arsenicum. Large, painful, malignant carbuncles; cutting, burning pains, worse after midnight, relieved by heat; great prostration and restlessness, much thirst for small quantities of water at a time. A dose every two hours.
Belladonna. Smooth, bright red swelling, skin drawn tight; throbbing pain; patient drowsy but cannot sleep; head and face congested; some fever. Give as above.
Bryonia. Especially recommended to hasten suppuration. Give as above.
Crotalus. The affected part is bluish, and often surrounded by many small pimples; the skin is very sensitive, with burning, throbbing pains. Carbuncles which slough; are very offensive. A dose every four hours.
Silicea. To check excessive suppuration, promote healing, lessen the hardness of surrounding tissue, and improve the constitutional condition. A dose three times a day.
Do not poultice a carbuncle. Inject two or three drops of carbolic acid (95%) into each of its openings or in several places, and apply ice bags. If the patient is not suffering from kidney disease, and the carbuncle increases in size, spray the surface with ethyl chloride or inject a few drops of cocaine (4%) to produce insensibility of the part, then open the carbuncle freely with a sharp knife that has been sterilized in boiling water. The incisions should cross each other. All pus and diseased tissue should be scraped out; the wound treated as recommended for a boil. Improve the general condition by a diet of milk, eggs, cod liver oil, beef juice, broths, fresh fruits and vegetables, outdoor life, frequent bathing, etc. Always look for the cause of boils or carbuncles, and remove it.
Acute abscess may be said in general to be a localized inflammatory condition, characterized by chills, increase of pulse and temperature, redness, heat, pain, swelling, the formation of pus with a tendency to point and discharge matter spontaneously unless prevented by dense tissue structures. A chronic abscess rarely exhibits these symptoms, but forms an indistinct tumor, sometimes difficult to diagnose and often requiring surgical treatment. Abscesses may result from falls; blows; wounds where dirt, nails, slivers of wood, etc., enter or remain in the injured part. They sometimes are caused by diseased bone; they may accompany other diseases, or depend upon constitutional conditions.
Belladonna. Surface bright red, swollen and tender to the touch, the swelling forms suddenly and develops rapidly. A dose every two hours.
Mercurius viv. After pus has formed, and to bring abscess to a bead; throbbing, stinging pains. Do not give it before pus forms; it follows Belladonna well. Give as above.
Silicea. Continued suppuration after abscess has broken or been lanced; slow healing; offensive discharge. Chronic abscess or abscess of the bone. A dose every four hours.
Calcarea carb. A good constitutional remedy for those of a scrofulous constitution, or ill nourished; fair complexion; tendency to grow fat; small wounds suppurate; skin eruptions occur frequently; perspire easily.
If any foreign body like a sliver of wood is present, remove it, Spread antiphlogistine one eighth of an inch thick over the abscess. An abscess should be opened with a sharp, sterilized knife as soon as it points, and the cavity thoroughly washed out with listerine and water, I to 4, or carbolic acid and water 1 to 40, or peroxide of hydrogen. Drainage tubes of soft rubber perforated with small holes, are put in the cavity to allow pus to escape. Gauze wet with an antiseptic, or with calendula tincture (see Boils) makes a good dressing.
Iodoform, one part to nine parts glycerin, makes a good emulsion to apply to the cavity of a chronic abscess, after washing with an antiseptic solution. This stimulates healing. Persons subject to abscesses should eat no rich or spiced foods, use no stimulants and avoid all excitement of the passions.
PEOPLE Of low Vitality, of bad habits or inheriting some constitutional defect are most liable to ulcers. There are many different kinds, e. g., the irritable ulcer, red, inflamed, with painful ragged edge; the varicose ulcer, with much distension of the nearby veins, and swelling; indolent ulcer, slow to head; scrofulous and syphilitic ulcers. A bruise, burn or boil may excite the formation of an ulcer. The ulcers occurring within the body will not be referred to here.
Arsenicum. Intense burning, shooting pains; bloody or thin, acid discharge; superficial, raw looking ulcers that bleed readily.
Kali Bich. Deep ulcers on the leg, with hard bases and overhanging edges.
Mecurius Sol. Syphilitic ulcers, superficial, flat, and enlarging rapidly, with thin, corroding, offensive discharge of watery pus.
Nitric Acid. Ulcers irregular in outline, tending to dip downward deeply; often show profuse granulations; bleed at the slightest touch, sticking, burning pains; excellent for syphilitic ulcers after taking too much Mercury.
Carbo Veg. Varicose ulcers with burning pains; skin mottled and small blood vessels enlarged; in indolent ulcers surrounded by spots like black and blue spots, with thin, corrosive, burning discharge, and hard borders; in cancerous ulcers.
Lachesis. Skin about ulcer pimply, mottled, blistered, dark blue or purple; ulcers extend superficially, threatens to involve veins; discharge scanty; the skin may become cold and feel dead; disagreeable odor like a grave.
Sulphur. Especially useful for chronic ulcers in scrofulous people; excessive itching, with burning pains; thick yellow, or thin offensive discharge. A dose three times a day.
The symptoms given under " Abscess, " page 743, for Calearea carb should be read.
Simple ulcers most frequently occur on the arm or leg; when located keep the limb at rest and elevated. Keep the ulcer clean and apply gauze or soft cotton cloth wet with calendula tincture, twenty drops to a cupful of water, cover with oiled silk and lightly bandage. A chronic callous or indolent ulcer should be well scraped and stimulated by the application of nitrate of silver; a varicose ulcer requires support of the veins by a rubber bandage or elastic stocking. Sloughs formed by dead tissue must be removed, and the surface of the ulcer washed with an antiseptic, see treatment of "Abscess," page 580. Pure carbolic acid or nitrate of silver may be applied to an irritable ulcer. All hygienic rules must be observed, and only digestible food eaten.
THIS common affection affects the fingers and toes, causing reddish or bluish swelling, soreness or inflammation; intense burning and itching. The skin may break down, and a suppurating sore result. Chilblains are most common in the winter time, and in those with lessened vitality or of a scrofulous constitution.
Agaricus. Itching, burning, redness of the toes or fingers with swelling and great soreness. One of the most useful remedies in the author's experience. Should be taken internally and applied externally also. A dose every three hours.
Arnica. Hard, shining, unbroken skin; pain and itching of the parts. Give as above.
Arsenicum. Burning, stinging pains, with ulceration; lack of vitality; feet easily chilled; heels as well as toes affected. Give as above.
Belladonna. Much inflammation; skin bright red; throbbing pains; swelling. A dose every two hours. Chronic cases; much itching, worse from warmth;
Sulphur. affected part a bluish red. A dose three times a day.
Agaricus tincture may be applied to the affected parts; note the symptoms indicating the remedy. Kerosene gives relief in many cases, also olive oil and turpentine, equal parts. When the skin shows a tendency to blister, apply tincture of cantharis, one part to six parts of soap liniment.
Remedies must be supplemented by measures to improve the patient's condition both general and local. Take outdoor exercise regularly; wear easy boots; bathe the feet daily with cold salt water, applying brisk friction afterward, snow may be used in place of water; wear woolen or other heavy stockings, no tight garters, and keep away from the fire; eat simple, nourishing, unstimulating food; no alcoholic beverages,
Liver Spots. Maculae
Maculae exhibit a wide variation of color from a rosy pink to a chocolate brown or black, are usually without depression or elevation, occur in patches on the face or elsewhere, and although commonly called liver spots, may be due to any cause resulting in congestion of the arteries or veins, to the escape of the coloring matters of the blood into the skin, or to freaks of pigmentation. They may occur in the course of measles, yellow fever, cancer, impoverished blood, uterine disorders, and many other conditions besides derangements of the liver. When due to the latter cause the patches are frequently yellowish brown, and appear on the face.
Sepia. Men, but especially women having a yellow, or dirty yellow brown blotched skin; who are inclined to sweat especially about the genitals, armpits and back; suffer with hot flashes; headaches in the morning, awaken stiff and tired, and are subject to diseases of the sexual organs. There may be biliousness, constipation, sediment in the urine.
Chilidonium. Yellowish brown patches in those having affections of the liver, with jaundice, yellow coated tongue; bitter taste in mouth; pain under right shoulder blade; shooting pains in region of the liver; clay colored or yellowish stools.
Nux vom. and Sulphur are frequently helpful. Give a dose of the indicated remedy night and morning until the color fades and the spots disappear. Tea, coffee and alcohol are forbidden, also sugar, much fat in any form, new bread, cake, pastry and fried foods. Lean meat and green vegetables are allowed, also fruits sparingly. Water should be drunk freely, baths taken daily, and exercise in the open air.
THE, cause and symptoms of scurvy are well 'given on page 530. While medicines occupy a secondary place in the treatment, they are nevertheless of value in cases which do not respond promptly to changes in diet, habits and surroundings.
A form of scurvy called scorbutus occurs in infants and may be mistaken for rheumatism because there is much pain about the knees and legs on motion. But in scorbutus the characteristic symptoms of scurvy are present, the black and blue spots, extreme debility, swelling of the gums, which bleed easily, etc., but it is usually the severe pain in the legs which first attracts attention in infants.
Mercurius Viv. Scurvy with ulcerated gums; mouth waters constantly; bad breath; puffy tongue; tenderness over the stomach, and diarrhea.
Muriatic Acid. Great muscular debility, feeble action of the heart, the patient slides down to the foot of the bed absolutely helpless; ulcers in the mouth, the lips raw and cracked.
Nitric Acid. Extensive ulceration of the gums; gums white, swollen and bleeding; ulcerated spots on the inner surface of the cheeks; foul breath; profuse flow of saliva; blisters and ulcers on the tongue; tearing, stitching pains; great weakness.
Natrum Mur. An excellent remedy in cases with dry, yellowish skin; emaciation, debility; sore mouth; ulcers on the tongue and gums; bad breath; headache as if the head would burst; fever blisters on lips; often palpitation of the heart.
Also Arsenicum or Lachesis when the whole system is badly involved, and the sores and ulcers threaten to become gangrenous; the pains are severe and burning; the face pale and sunken. China or Ferrum phos. may be given during convalescence, especially after loss of blood and when the patient's recovery is slow, and debility marked. A dose of the indicated remedy may be given three times a day.
The general treatment of scurvy is well outlined on page 531. Infants should be given fresh cow's milk; cream; beef juice; orange or lemon juice, and if the child is over one year, bread and butter and baked potato.
SMALL pimples first appear between the fingers, in the bend of the wrists or elbows, the groin, under the arms or, in women, the breasts and about the ankles in children. The face is not affected. The cause of the disturbance is the itch nute or acarus. A good description of this parasite will be found on page 167. The local treatment is of special importance in these cases, but internal remedies also should not be neglected.
Sulphur. The leading remedy; tingling, itching, burning and soreness after scratching; worse when warm in bed; rawness of the surface; glandular swellings.
Mercurius Viv. Itching all over, and especially in the bends of the elbows, if some of the pimples contain pus; worse at night in bed, cannot sleep for the itching; diarrhea.
Arsenicum. Inveterate cases; eruption in the bends of the knees; burning and itching; symptoms better from external warmth.
Croten Tig. Itching and painful burning, with redness of the skin; formation of watery pimples, and pimples containing pus; drying up and scaling off of pimples.
The patient should soak in a warm bath fifteen minutes ' then be rubbed all over with soft soap and a flesh brush, to break up the burrows made by the itch nute. Wash off the soap, thoroughly dry the surface and rub in sulphur ointment, strength 20 per cent. Do this at night, and have fresh bed linen, also in the morning put on new underclothes. Everything worn previously or used on the bed should be baked or boiled for an hour or two. Renew the ointment the second and third night, and the fourth night take a warm bath, dry the skin and dust on talcum powder; change the underclothing and bed linen again, and treat that discarded as above. The treatment may be repeated in a week if necessary; it is not advisable to use such measures so continuously as to set up a bad inflammation of the skin.
Nettle Rash. Hives. Urticaria.
URTICARIA is an inflammatory affection of the skin characterized by the formation of whitish and pinkish elevations attended by more or less intense itching. They may be few or many; appear and disappear suddenly; be irregular in shape, the size of a pea, bean, or even egg, or extend lengthwise, and the eruption be repeated for days or months. Many times drawing the fingernail or a pencil over the spot where the wheals have been, will produce a white line which becomes elevated and red, and shortly disappears. The eruption may occur anywhere, but generally on covered parts of the body. The cause is most frequently some digestive disturbance, the irritation of indigested food or the absorption of toxins. The following foods may produce hives: lobsters, crabs, mussels, cheese, sausage, pork, nuts, strawberries, oatmeal, mushrooms; also such drugs as quinine, copaiba, cubebs, chloral, the coal tar products, or salicylic acid.
Arsenicum. Scarlet elevations, especially on the face and neck, the size of a half dollar; intense burning; intolerable itching, better from external heat, worse from cold and scratching; irritability of the stomach.
Apis Mel. Sudden appearance of long, pinkish white blotches, raised above the skin, stinging and burning; also sudden stinging sensation over whole body, passing off after sleep; all symptoms aggravated by heat, ameliorated by cold water. The arms, feet, nape of neck and palm of hands are favorite locations with this remedy, which is also especially indicated in acute cases.
Urtica Urens. Nettle rash preceding or accompanying rheumatism; itching swellings all over the fingers; intense burning; raised red blotches, or fine stinging points, or a pale rash provoking constant rubbing, disappearing at night and reappearing in the morning; especially after eating shellfish; may appear each year about the same time.
Calcarea Carb. Chronic cases; white, elevated hard eruption disappearing in the cold air, or elevated red stripes on the skin, itching and burning intensely after rubbing. In children inclined to grow fat or during dentition.
Also Pulsatilla when the hives are of gastric or uterine origin; after eating fat pork, fruits, buckwheat cakes, pastry, etc.; burning, itching rash, worse from warmth. Nux vom. Nettle rash with headache, vertigo and constipation; after the use of drugs or stimulants. Rhus Tox. when hives accompany ague or rheumatism, or come on after getting wet in persons subject to rheumatism, itching all over the body. A dose of the indicated remedy every three hours.
First find out the cause and remove it; empty the stomach and bowels of all irritating contents, and regulate diet, exercise, bathing and all other habits. Sleep on a firm mattress, with only light weight bedclothes, and in a well ventilated room. Wear soft underclothing. Baths medicated with sea salt, aromatic vinegar, alcohol, cologne, camphor, or boric acid sometimes alleviate the symptoms. One of the most easily prepared effective applications is starch mixed with cold water and boiled until about the thickness of mucilage; while still boiling add one drachm of zinc oxide and two drachms (teaspoonfuls) of glycerin; stir well and let cool, then apply to the affected surface. Warm vinegar and water may allay itching, or cream, one ounce to which one-half drachm of chloroform has been added. After applying a lotion, take up the excess gently with absorbent cotton or gauze, do not rub the spot; after drying, apply talcum or other dusting powder. Isolated spots in mild cases may be painted with flexible collodion.
Shingles. Herpes Zoster. Zona.
THIS painful disease of the skin due to injury or irritation of the nerves, is characterized by the formation of grouped pinhead to pea sized vesicles or watery pimples, along the course of a nerve, preceded, accompanied or followed by neuralgic pains in the part affected. A marked feature is that the eruption is almost invariably confined to one side of the body. It often forms a semi girdle about the chest or abdomen, thus obtaining the name of Zona, but may follow the course of a superficial nerve on any part of the body. Sensitiveness of the skin, or pain, and slight fever generally precedes the appearance of the vesicles which attain maturity in from three to seven days, then dry up, form crusts, and scale off; one group may be followed by another. The disease may last from ten days to three weeks, and rarely occurs but once in a lifetime. It is serious only in the aged, and in the greatly debilitated. The chief causes are exposure to cold, damp weather; injury to some nerve, certain poisons, and diseases. In some cases it is now thought to be an infectious disease.
Arsenicum. Tendency of the vesicles to run together, with intense burning of the blisters; worse after midnight and from cold applications; in persons much debilitated, not well nourished, as feeble, old people.
Strychnia. Much prostration; great sensitiveness and soreness of the skin, with severe neuralgic pains; headache; lack of appetite.
Rhus Tox. Small burning vesicles, with redness of the skin; rheumatic pains during rest; symptoms worse in cold weather; shingles brought on by getting wet when overheated.
Graphites. Zoster on the left side; large blisters from the spine round to the naval, burning when touched; worse indoors, better in the open air; in fair individuals, rather stout, and having a dry skin.
Consult the remedies mentioned under "Nettle Rash" and "Neuralgia." Give a dose of the indicated remedy every three or four hours. It is desirable to keep the vesicles unbroken, and to this end they may be painted with collodion containing ichthyol, one drachm of the latter to one ounce of the former; or one-half ounce of collodion containing two grains of morphed sulph., when the pains are severe. Ordinary dusting powders of starch, talcum, or oxide of zinc make a good dry dressing, the surface being covered with absorbent cotton filled with the powder, and kept in place by a light bandage. Galvanism is often highly beneficial for neuralgic pains persisting after the, eruption has disappeared.
Eczema. Salt Rheum.Tetter.
ECZEMA is a noncontiguous, inflammatory disease of the skin occurring in many different forms, the commonest of which are described on page 166. That occurring on the face of infants is frequently called " milk crust." Chronic eczema is known as "salt rheum." The causes of eczema are both internal and external, and include indigestion, constipation, general debility, rheumatism, diseases of the kidneys, scrofula, teething, diseases of the uterus, the use of soaps containing too much alkali, irritation of the skin by chemicals, friction, scratching or parasites, overfeeding, especially in children, unhygienic surroundings. To learn the cause should be to endeavor to remove it. Eczema may coexist with any other skin affection, or be the expression of some disease of an organ or the whole system which must first be cured.
Rhus Tox. Redness, of the skin, quickly followed by the formation of vesicles, the watery contents changing to pus; the skin is of ten puffy; burning and itching worse at night and in cold weather.
Mezereum. Scrofulous cases, in which hard, thick crusts form, crack and ooze pus; pimples often form about the part mainly affected.
Arsenicum. Red or white pus filled pimples, or painful and black, with burning and itching on the scalp, forehead, cheeks, arms, shoulders and upper part of the chest; thick crusts form which have well marked scars.
Natrum Mur. Cracks and fissures of the lips, chapping of the lips; fever blisters; cold sores; chapped hands, skin rough and dry. In the very beginning of a cold sore apply camphor or pure alcohol.
Mercurius. Eczema with suppuration, the pustules run together and discharge an acrid humor, or remain sore, bleed easily and are painful to the touch; itching and burning worse in bed; the sufferer sweats easily.
Sulphur. Dry, thick yellowish scabs all over the body, especially on the scalp; painful to touch; great itching; aversion to washing.
Calcarea Carb. Heat, thirst and loss of appetite accompany the eruption which is often on the head, and extends to the face; white, chalky looking crusts; especially in scrofulous children.
Also Sepia, with itching pimples on the chin; eczema of fingers with the formation of little ulcers. Silicea, pimples filled with pus all over the body, do not suppurate or dry up, sensitive to touch; chronic eczema in persons subject to eruptions and swelling of the glands. A dose of the indicated remedy may be given every three or four hours.
Much attention must be paid to the general condition. Omit from the diet sugar, cake, pastries, fried food, cheese, shellfish, salt fish or meats, pickles, nuts, tomatoes, rhubarb, and all stimulants. Cod liver oil is well adapted to scrofulous or debilitated individuals, also a good preparation of iron. A liberal, wholesome diet, including cream, butter and other fats is necessary, and the drinking of at least three pints of water a day. Alkaline mineral waters are recommended. Exercise especially of the muscles of the arm and trunk should be systematically taken. Let "blood purifiers" alone; they frequently aggravate the trouble. Soap and water is harmful in most cases of acute (recent) eczema, and rubbing and scratching will undo all the good remedies and applications can effect. Protect the parts from all irritation, and keep as quiet as possible. 'When water must be used, soften it with borax, bran or soda. Olive oil, to which has been added one per cent. of carbolic acid, may be applied to soften crusts, but dressings soaked with oil should not be kept on many hours at one time lest the skin be weakened and macerated. When there is no discharge a very fine dusting powder such as zinc, talcum, starch, rice flour, or lycopodium may be applied. A good lotion which may be applied, and the skin then gently dried before using a powder, is prepared by combining two scruples of carbolic acid, one drachm of oxide of zinc and two drachms of glycerin with enough limewater to make one-half pint in all. Tar or zinc ointment will be found helpful in many cases of chronic eczema.
Small Pox. Variola.
IT is not uncommon for those living fax away from towns and cities to be obliged to care for cases of smallpox. The disease is well described in earlier pages of this book. Vaccination is the surest preventive known and should be immediately repeated when a person has been exposed to infection, even although previous inoculation has given satisfactory results.
Tartar Emet. The leading remedy, it reduces the fever, and the pustules run their normal course; is also useful when there are lung or stomach complications. Given early it mitigates the severity of the disease.
Belladonna. High fever; severe local symptoms; throbbing of the arteries in the neck; eyes bloodshot; aversion to light; sore throat; pain in the back; difficulty in getting any sleep, or in passing urine.
Mercurius Viv. When the eruption contains pus; tongue moist and swollen; throat ulcerated; breath foul; great thirst and flow of saliva; diarrhea.
Arsenicum. Bad cases; great prostration with tendency to hemorrhages; eruption dark; skin blue, small, frequent pulse; thirst; burning heat; great restlessness.
Rhus Tox. When the eruption is watery, and runs together; burning and itching; or when patient has many of symptoms like typhoid fever (which see) and is much exhausted.
Also Sulphur when the eruption is drying up. Bryonia when the eruption is delayed or suddenly disappears. Phosphorus. Bloody pustules, hard, dry, exhausting cough, with pain, or rawness in chest; bronchitis; bleeding from the lungs; frequent faintings. A dose of the indicated remedy every one or two hours.
While the general treatment is quite fully given on page 160, it may be said by way of emphasis that the patient should be strictly isolated and quarantined, in a darkened, well ventilated room; should be often sponged with alcohol or tepid water; gargles (see "Inflammation of the Larynx") used for sore throat, and the face anointed, after careful cleansing, with fresh lard and charcoal, vaseline, almond oil or sweet cream to prevent pitting. The pustules should not be broken or irritated.
A new method of treatment, the Finsen red light treatment ' has proved successful in several cases, and consists chiefly in placing the patient in a room to which no light is admitted that is not first filtered through red glass or other material that win effectively shut out the chemically active rays of light. Treatment should be begun at the earliest possible moment, and is said to prevent suppuration and scarring.
Any statements made on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA
and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or condition.
Always consult your professional health care provider.
copyright 2005, J. Crow Company, New Ipswich NH 03071