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Arsenic-Poisoning and Arsenic

chronic, poisoning, appearance and physician

ARSENIC-POISONING AND ARSENIC EATERS.—Arsenic-poisoning may result from swallowing the Nvhite arsenic in the form of rat-poison, or from eating the meat of animals which have become poisoned by this means. It may also be caused by the ingestion of various colours containing the poison, or by inhalation of dust from substances containing arsenic for colouring purposes,• as clothes, toys, wall-paper, candles, etc. The effects may come on immediately after the material has been swallowed, and consist of severe vomiting, cramps in the muscles of the legs, general prostration, uncon sciousness, and convulsions, which may end fatally. In place of this a chronic poisoning may result, which may also occur from continued ingestion of small quantities for a prolonged period. The latter form is seen also in persons who are occupied with arsenic preparations, or who live in rooms which are papered or painted Nvith materials containing arsenic. An epidemic of arsenic-poisoning a few' years ago came from beer, in the preparation of which arsenic had been carried over into the glucose.

The chronic type of arsenic-poisoning can be recognised only by the physician, and the most marked symptoms are the poor general condition and the pale, emaciated appearance of the subjects. Other symptoms are : diarrhoea ; vomiting after meals ; large, brown, scaly patches in the face ; the flexor aspect of the limbs, the palms of the hands, and on the soles of the feet ; and tremor and paralysis. In some cases the nails and the hair fall

out. A chronic cold in the head with puffiness beneath the lower eyelids is very characteristic.

In acute poisoning, emetics should be given at once, followed by lime water with milk or the white of eggs. The medicinal antidote to be adminis tered by the physician is a mixture of iron (the hydrated ferric oxide) and magnesia. In cases of chronic poisoning the source must be removed, and for the remaining treatment a physician had best be consulted.

In certain mountainous districts of Europe, as in the Tyrol, there are persons in the habit of taking small quantities of arsenic regularly several times a week in order to improve their appearance, and, as they claim, to enable them to bear more readily the fatigue of climbing. The habit is not considered harmful ; yet the sudden cessation of arsenic-eating is followed by the appearance of various symptoms of illness. See POISONING.

ARTERIES.—The vessels of the body that carry arterial blood, or blood after it has left the lungs and become oxygenated. The name signifies " air vessels," and was given to these vessels at a time when, because they were always observed to be empty, they were thought to be carriers of air, or " vital spirits." For a knowledge of their distribution and structure consult the article on THE CIRCULATORY' SYSTEM (pp. 152-157).