MEASLES is an acute inflammation of the entire skin, both external and internal, associated with an infectious and contagious fever.
Symptoms. The disease sets in with chills, succeeded by burning beat, listlessness, languor, drowsiness; pains in the head, back, and limbs; frequent pulse; soreness of the throat; thirst, nausea, vomiting, frequent dry cough and high colored urine. These symptoms increase in violence for four days. On the third day the eyes become inflamed, cannot bear the light and pour fourth a profusion of tears. This last symptom is called coryza. The nose likewise discharges a large quantity of watery secretion, and sneezing is frequent. The larynx, windpipe, and bronchial tubes become inflamed, and hoarseness, soreness of the breast, etc., are the result.
The redness of the skin and breaking out appear about the fourth day, and produce beat and itching. This breaking out is characterized by a patchy redness, which, on close inspection, is found to consist of numberless minute red points and pimples, collected into patches in the shape of a half or quarter moon. They appear first on the forehead and front of the neck, then upon the cheeks and around the nose and mouth. On the fifth day they reach their height in this region, and then appear upon the body and arms, and on the sixth day, upon the legs. The color of the skin, when the inflammation is at its height, is of a bright raspberry red. The decline of the rash takes place in the same order in which it comes out. The redness fades on the sixth day upon the face; on the seventh, upon the body and limbs. on the eighth, upon the back of the hands. The coryza, the hoarseness, and the cough, decline about the seventh day, while a diarrhea comes on about the eighth or tenth, showing that the inflammation of the mucous membrane is subsiding. When the inflammation disappears, the whole scarf skin peels off in the form of a scaly scurf. The artist has given a good picture of the disease in the beautifully colored lithograph, PLATF, 1, Fig. 1.
Treatment. When the disease is mild and regular in its course, scarcely anything will be required, except mild diet, slightly acid drin~, with flax seed tea, slippery elm, or some equivalent, to quiet the cough. Sponging with tepid water, if done with frequency, moderates the fever, and adds to the comfort of the patient. If the fever runs high, take half an ounce of Rochelle salt, and use recipe 125.
Those who have been exposed to the contagion, and are liable to have the disease, should avoid all unnecessary exposure to wet or cold, keeping the feet warm and dry, and the whole body well clad. With these precautions, and a mild, unstimulating diet, much of the force of the disease may be broken.
During the first stages of the disease if the onset has not been stormy nothing further will be necessary than the precautions already advised. Should, however, the rash be delayed or appear in patches over the body, the patient should be given a full bath of either hot water or hot water with the addition of mustard in the proportion of two teaspoonfuls to the gallon. The employment of hot drinks should be limited to saffron tea or hot lemonade, as we use care not to add to the existing high fever which usually is present when the eruption is slow in appearing.
Besides the milder forms of the disease, cases occur, chiefly in broken down constitutions, in which the rash delays its coming out till the seventh day, and is then mingled with dark and livid spots, which remain often, for ten or twelve days. The fever is of a low, typhoid kind, and the patient is extremely weak and languid.
In this condition of things, the patient must be supported by tonics (77 and 59), and whisky, and expectoration promoted by some appropriate remedy, if required.
If at any stage of the disease there should be fixed pain in any part of the chest, which is made worse by coughing,, or by taking a full breath, we may conclude there is some inflammation of the chest.
The seriousness of this complication will be understood from the fact that the bronchitis has now extended and small patches of inflammation known as broncho pneumonia have appeared. Medicines to enable the patient to raise the phlegm easier, such as five grains of chloride of ammonia in two tablespoonfuls of sweetened water or simple syrup may be given every three hours, and 1 80 of a grain of sulphate of strychnia to support the heart, in addition to the other treatment given under the heading "broncho pneumonia."
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