AFFECTIONS OF THE MOUTH, STOMACH, AND BOWELS.
Thrush (Aphthce—Sprue).—In this disease the tongue and inside of the mouth are covered by white patches of a peculiar growth, some times forming a continuous white crust. It is often accompanied by disordered stomach and bowels, particularly if the child be weakly. The patches are really due to the growth of a minute microscopic plant, flourishing because of the unhealthy state of the digestive canal.
Treatment (1) Give mild opening medicine —magnesia with a little rhubarb. (2) Correct at once any errors in diet. (3) Apply to the mouth borax and honey, or glycerine with an equal part of solution of borax, or chlorate of potash (20 to 30 grains of either to an ounce of water). The disease will not be properly cured unless the disordered stomach is set right by proper dieting.
Ulcers on Lips and different parts of the mouth occur readily in children whose stomach and bowels are in bad condition. Treatment is the same as for thrush.
Inflammation of the Mouth of an ex tremely serious kind is seen in weakly, ill-fed children, living in large towns, in badly-aired apartments. It frequently follows on measles or other weakening disease. It begins as an ulcer, of a dirty ash-gray colour, on the lip or inside of the cheek, and eats its way into the cheek and gums. The face is swollen, saliva dribbles from the mouth, the breath is foul smelling, and the teeth may drop out. The pulse fails, the stomach and bowels become disordered, and death results, often very rapidly, from exhaustion.
Treatment requires first of all to be directed to cleanse the stomach and bowels by a dose of rhubarb and magnesia. Nourishing food must be freely supplied, but in small quantities given often, milk and beef-tea specially. Wine is frequently needed to combat the feebleness. A mixture of chlorate of potash, 60 grains, syrup, 1 ounce, and water, 3 ounces, should be ob tained, of which one to two tea-spoonfuls should be given every four hours. The mouth should be bathed with a solution of 30 grains chlorate of potash to 1 ounce of water.
Derangements of the Stomach and are oftenest due to improper feeding; they also are frequent at periods like teething, weaning, and so on. They may be due to excessive quantity of the milk or altered quality. If the child be at the breast it may have been too frequently suckled, or, owing to some condition of the mother, or some improper food taken by her, the quality of her milk has been changed. This can be easily remedied. If the child is not at the breast the quantity and kind of food it is getting must be seen to. Similarly, too sudden weaning, or irritation due to teething, may be the cause. If the cause can be discovered let it be removed at once, and probably, without further steps, but simply under the influence of proper food, given at proper intervals and in the right quantity, the child will be restored.
A careful reading of the directions given in I the immediately preceding section regarding the diet at various ages will materially help the mother or nurse to decide whether the child is being properly handled or not.
If there seems reason to believe that errors are being committed, the sooner the person in charge of the child begins afresh the better. Let the food be prepared to suit its age, let small doses of castor-oil be given morning and evening for a day or two, say half to one tea spoonful, till the bowels have been, not freely purged, but only gently moved each day, and till the motions have become of a uniform pulpy appearance, free of lumps, and of a good yellow colour. Probably, meantime, the child should be. kept at rest.
Simple treatment like this will in a few days clear up the large majority of awes.
Above all, let dosing, by unskilled persons, with drugs be avoided.
Vomiting may be the result of some simple stomach derangement, the consequence, for in stance, of overfeeding or a chill. On the other hand, it may be a symptom of the gravest possible disorder, demanding rapid steps to avert disaster.