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Action Ether

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ETHER, ACTION OF.—Ether acts as alcohol, and others of the marsh gas series, but being more diffusible its effects come on much more rapidly and are recovered from more quickly. Its main actions are primarily to impair consciousness, then to cause muscular excitement, then loss of mus cular power, and finally anesthesia, and loss of all sensation. It is important that ether-vapour be given diluted, otherwise it may induce very dangerous collapse. When a patient is fully under the influence of ether, the heart action is slightly slower than normal, as are also the respirations. The body is flushed and warm ; blueness indicates trouble with breathing. The pupils are moderately contracted and all consciousness is lost. The involun tary movements of a patient, as well as the cries and groans that he may utter during an operation, are the results of the narcotic, and not the response to painful sensations. Patients should not take ether immediately after having eaten, as ether often brings on vomiting attacks, which may cause suffocation. Patients with false teeth should always inform the physician of this fact before being amesthetised, so that they may be removed. Following aristhetisation, patients are often sick at the stomach. Broken ice, carbonated waters, cold champagne, etc., are useful in the treatment of this condition. Etherisation is a very safe procedure, and should not occasion any special fear on the part of the patient. See also the article on AN.ESTHETICS.

EUCALYPTUS.—The dried leaves of Eucalyptus globules, a large forest tree which is native in Australia, and extensively planted in India, Italy, California, and other tropical and subtropical regions. The active principle of the leaves consists of a volatile oil of very complex structure. It has the characteristic action of other volatile oils, being a powerful anti septic, deodorant, and irritant. It is largely used for nose and throat medi cation in the treatment of various forms of catarrh of those regions. It has been assumed that the eucalyptus-tree is capable of curing malaria, but this is an erroneous belief which has its origin in the circumstance that mosquitoes are rarely observed in the neighbourhood of these trees. The reason for this, however, is that the eucalyptus-tree, being a very active and rapid grower, and having very large leaves, can absorb immense amounts of water. In common with other large trees, it is capable of drying up marshy places, thereby eliminating the breeding-places of the mosquitoes, and con sequently the mosquitoes themselves. The dearth of mosquitoes, especially of certain forms, brings about the elimination of malaria ; but the digging of ditches and the thorough drainage of the marshes would secure the same results as the planting of the eucalyptus. The effect is not due to any vital property of the tree, hut solely to its ability to absorb large quantities of water from the ground.