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Ailments at the Periods of Teething and Weaning

tooth, bowels, child and management


The period of teething is undoubtedly a time when the child is easily upset, restless, and highly excitable, and, therefore, more liable to ailments than at other times. But it is quite certain that to the teething process is attri buted all sorts of trouble, due rather to careless nursing and bad management. In some cases the child is dosed with medicines of one kind or another, in other cases the excuse, "Oh ! it is just the teeth", is given for every disturbance of health ; and without much further thought the mother or nurse waits on time to remedy the ailment, when the teeth will all have been cut. Both methods are mistaken. It is not to be forgotten that the child is at a stage of de velopment when it is in a peculiarly sensitive condition, but just for this reason more watch ful care is to be exercised, and, while medicines are avoided, more attention is to be paid to good management. Disturbances of stomach and bowels are common, looseness of bowels especially. These are to be met by careful nursing and dieting, as indicated on p. 581. The same careful management will diminish the restlessness and excitability of the child. If, however, the bowels being free and regular, the child is much disturbed, mothers often feel they must give sdmething to calm and soothe. Again it is necessary to repeat the warning against so-called soothing syrups, given on p. 573. One drug, however, may be given to

calm the nervous system, and it is devoid of danger. It is bromide of potassium. Let 32 grains be dissolved in a little water and made up to one ounce, that is eight tea-spoon fuls, with simple syrup. Of this a tea-spoonful is given occasionally, but not frequently re peated. Lancing the gums, so often resorted to, is tut a rule a barbarous practice, and is never done by modern physicians, unless the gum over the coming tooth is distinctly dark and boggy looking, and the tooth near the surface.

Inflammation of the Gums does justify the procedure, and is greatly relieved by it, and that even though the tooth be not yet near the surface. The inflammation is readily known by the swollen state of the gum, and its dark red appearance. In such a case, when the tooth is yet deep in the gum, the lance should be applied to the side and not over the coming tooth. For, if the wound heal before the tooth is eut, the scar is likely to make the cutting of the tooth more difficult.

At the period of weaning, disorder of stomach and bowels is frequent. This difficulty may also be overcome by management. If the child's bowels are very troublesome, the mother had better delay the process for a little and then try again, or effect it very slowly.