Inflammation of the Brain. Brain Fever.
Acute, and general inflammation of the brain and its membranes has two stages.
The Stage of Excitement, in which there is intense and deep seated pain in the head, extending over a large part of it, a feeling of tightness across the forehead, throbbing of the temporal arteries, a flushed face, injected eyes, looking wild and brilliant, contraction of the pupils, great shrinking from light and violent sound, delirium, want of sleep, general convulsions, a parched and dry skin, a quick and bard pulse, a white tongue, thirst, nausea and vomiting, and constipation of the bowels.
The Stage of Collapse, in which there are indistinct mutterings, dull and perverted hearing and 'vision, double vision, the pupil from being contracted expands largely and becomes motionless, twitchings of the muscles, tremors and palsy of some of the limbs, a ghastly and cadaverous countenance, cold sweats, profound coma, and death.
The disease will not show all these symptoms in any one case. It runs a rapid course, causing death, sometimes, in twelve or twenty-four hours; or it may run two or three weeks.
Treatment. This should be energetic, and administered early. The measures usually employed are hot foot baths, and the application Of cold to the head, with occasional mustard poultice to legs.
Cold Applications. These, applied to the bead, are of great importance. First, shave the bead, and put on cloths wetted in water as cold as it can be made, changing them often; or, put powdered ice in a flexible ice bag, and lay it upon the head, taking care not to make it too heavy. Heat in a few cases is better borne.
Cathartics. These, while the inflammation is in the active stage, should be thorough and energetic. To effect it, many use calomel and other forms of mercury. They are not needed. Croton oil is one of the best articles (31), or colocynth, gamboge, etc. (32), without the oil, or the compound powder of jalap.
In the stage of collapse, if there is pallor of the countenance, a feeble and flying pulse, great debility and tremors, coldness of the extremities, etc., give wine and other stimulants.
See that the bladder is emptied every day.
The feet, in the early stage of the complaint, should be bathed in warm water, or mustard and water (242). Mustard draughts must also be put upon the feet.
The tincture of veratrum, given in full doses, to bring down the pulse, and produce sweating, must not be omitted. Give (351).
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