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Tonsils Diseases of the Throat

membrane, nose, cold, disease, symptoms, catarrh, chest, lining and sometimes

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Catarrh is the proper medical term for the disease commonly called "cold," or " cold-in thelead." It is sometimes, though improperly, called influenza, for true influenza is an epi demic disease. Weed is the term applied to catarrh by the people. Its cause is exposure to cold, either by sitting in a draught, by too rapid cooling down after some severe exertion producing profuse perspiration, or by a wet ting, and in various other ways. The term catarrh is derived from two Greek words, kata, down, and reo, I flow, a flowing down, and is so called because of the increased secre tion—defluxion—that pours out from the in flamed mucous membrane of the nose, throat, &c., specially during the early stage of the disease. It is a disease to which all are more or less liable; and one attack never gives security against a second. Some people, in deed, seem very prone to it, and are very frequently attacked by it. It is not in itself a serious disease, though it is one very incon venient, and producing great discomfort. Yet it must always be promptly and carefully attended to, since it is capable of leading on to much more serious diseases, of which bronchitis is the most common. If not pro perly attended to, it may be but the first step of a long period of illness, in which the lungs may become very seriously affected.

The symptoms of catarrh often begin with a sense of chilliness and shivering. There is fever, sometimes slight, sometimes severe, and a sense of weariness, with pains in the limbs and back. Sometimes the person feels as if he had been beaten or bruised all over. The skin is hot and dry, the pulse is quick, there are thirst, dryness of the tongue, and loss of appe tite. The urine is less than usual, of a dark colour, and there falls a copious brownish de posit on cooling; and the bowels are consti pated. Apart from these general symptoms there are others, affecting particularly the nose, throat, and chest. Commonly the nose is first affected. It is dry and stopped, and the person has to breathe through the mouth. The stuffi ness is due to swelling of the lining membrane, the blood-vessels of which are more filled with blood than usual ; and the membrane is thus red and irritable. The cold air acting on the irritable membrane causes fits of sneezing. The membrane lining the nose is continuous with that of the eyelids, which also partake of the increased blood supply, and are conse quently red and watery-looking. In a short time the dryness of the nostril yields to a flow of thin, irritating fluid, requiring constant use of a handkerchief. The irritating character of the discharge is seen by the redness and ten derness which it produces on the lip and parts over which it flows. Accompanying these symptoms are loss of the sense of smell, a feel ing of fulness about the bridge of the nose, and browache. This group of symptoms con

stitutes "cold-in-the-head," or coryza. The copious discharge from the nostrils does not continue long, and is succeeded by a secretion of thick matter, which indicates the diminu tion of the inflammation of the membrane of the nose, also signified by the nostrils becom ing less blocked.

We have said that the mucous membrane lining the nose is continuous with that lining the eyelids (through the tear-canal; see section on the EYEs), and that this explains the par ticipation of the eyes in the inflammatory process. But the same membrane is also con tinuous with that of the throat (see Fig. 101, p. 195); and so, as one would expect, the in flammation is not confined to the nostril, but travels backwards and downwards to the throat.

The symptoms associated with the throat are similar to those of the nostril. The mucous membrane becomes swollen and intensely red. The throat is also painful. The first sign of the throat being inflamed is frequently that of a tingling, pricking sensation ; and when, in consequence, the person looks at his throat in a glass, the unnatural redness of tonsils and fauces is perceived, at first, perhaps, only on one side, but ultimately on both sides. The tonsils frequently swell considerably, so that swallowing is painful and difficult; and the uvula may be much enlarged and baggy, so as to reach down and touch the upper surface of the tongue. There is from the throat a secres I tion of thick mucus. The same circumstance that explains the extension of the disease from the nostrils explains its extension down the throat to the windpipe. This occasions a dry, harsh cough, which begins a day or two after the onset of the cold. If the windpipe be to any extent effected, the constant coughing induced, the pain over the chest so caused, the sense of oppression in the chest that arises, and hoarse ness constitute that stage of the lisease called "cold-in-the-chest." The popular phrase that the "cold goes down" into the cheat is, therefore, quite a correct one. If the cold settles in the chest, then bronchitis and various other chest diseases may be induced, which will be con sidered in their proper place in the section on the RESPIRATORY SYSTEM. The stomach is also affected in the disorder, as the foul tongue in dicates, it may be by the catarrh extending down the gullet to that organ. In still an other direction the disease may spread, namely, up the tube--the Eustachian tube—leading from the throat to the middle ear. Swelling of the lining of that tube will block it, and so produce singing in the ears, and a temporary deafness, which are so annoying accompani ments of a common cold.

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