COUGHS, COLDS, AND AFFECTIONS OF THE CHEST. , Cold may take the form of running at the nose—snuffles--(preceded by frequent sneez ing), watery eyes, some degree of feverishness, and the child is cross. This is a form of what is called " catarrh ", from two Greek words meaning "a running down" (see p. 214). It may extend from the nose to the throat, caus ing it to become red and swollen, may pass down into the windpipe, and may also cause a similar condition in the stomach, called catarrh of the stomach. In these severer forms there will be loss of appetite, white tongue, and if the child can speak it may complain of headache and pains in the back or limbs. Whether the attack be mild or severe, simple treatment is all that is required, that is, give the child a warm bath, keep it warm in bed, give gentle opening medicine—castor-oil—at once, let it be fed on milk only, and give, thrice or so daily, 3 to 5 drops ipecacuanha wine. If the nose is very much obstructed, some relief may be given by laying over it a sponge squeezed out of hot water, or by spraying into the nostrils by means of an atomizer (Plate XLVII.). This is all the treatment that should be adopted without medical advice. This affection may, however, go on, the lungs may become affected, and bronchitis or other disease of the chest result.
. Bronchitis (p. 363).—This will be attended with quick, hurried breathing, with flushed face, and other aggravated signs, with a moderate degree of fever and quickened pulse. Cough is present and may be incessant, at first hard and dry, and later loose and rattling. But infants and children in general do not put up any spit, which, coughed up out of the wind pipe, passes over into the gullet and down to the stomach. Reference to fig. 101, p. 195, will show how this happens.
The ear applied to some part of the chest may detect wheezing or piping sounds. These are too serious forms of disease to be delayed over, and medical aid should speedily be secured.
Treatment.--Till medical advice is obtained, the child should be put to bed in a room kept at a uniform warmth of 60° Fahr. A fire should
be kept up, large or small according to the state of the weather.
The diet should be restricted to milk of a strength suited to the age; and the bowels should be opened daily by a small dose of castor-oil.
The air of the room should be kept moist by means of the bronchitis kettle. Often a small tea-kettle with spirit-lamp will suit the pur pose, if placed on a table by the bed-side. If the water be boiling in the kettle, before the kettle is put over the spirit-lamp, the lamp will be sufficient to keep it steaming. Two or three drops of ipecacuanha wine may be given in water every three or four hours if the cough is dry, five or ten of syrup of squills if it is loose.
Only if these measures fail to give relief, should a poultice be applied. If used, it is best applied all over the back, not the front ; and if any mustard be added to the linseed-meal, it should be little, not more than one dessert spoonful to four table-spoonfuls of meal.
The child should be kept many days in bed, after the attack is over, to avoid a recurrence and the establishment of a chronic condition.
Asthma in childhood does not materially differ from the same disease in the adult. The nose and throat in children subject to it should be carefully and thoroughly examined, and any thickening, obstruction, adenoids, &c., dealt with. See p. 598.
Pneumonia in the child may be ushered in by an attack of convulsions. The temperature rises quickly and high, the pulse is greatly quickened, the face is deeply flushed, the skin dry and hot. There is a short, hard, dry cough, and breathing becomes very rapid, 50 or 60 per minute or more frequent, the movement of the nostrils showing how embarrassed is the breath ing. In five or seven days the fever suddenly ceases, breathing becomes easier, the skin moister, the pulse slower, and the child free of the oppression under which it was labour ing.