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Diseases Intestines

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INTESTINES, DISEASES OF.—The most important of these is CON STIPATION (which see). Other affections are intestinal catarrh, intestinal occlusion, tuberculosis of the intestine, and tumours of the intestine. Certain diseases in which the intestines are involved are treated under separate headings, as CHOLERA, DYSENTERY, t2tC.

Intestinal Catarrh may be either acute or chronic. Acifte intestrna/ catarrh begins suddenly without pain, colic, or other disagreeable sensations. Fever may be present at the beginning of the attack, but the chief characteristics are diarrhcea, loss of appetite, and excessive thirst, which, if satisfied, would merely increase the number of stools.

Treatment. —The most needed requirements are rest in bed and a restricted diet. On the first day the sufferer should abstain from food or be given only warm fluid, as gruel, tea, arrowroot, or milk and soft-boiled eggs. When the severe symptoms have subsided, the diet may include zwieback, w hitt& bread. toast, rice, farina, etc. To relieve the pain, apply hot, preferably dry, abdominal applications, which will favour the process of healing ; this may occupy from three to fourteen days.

Chronic intestinal catarrh generally develops from a neglected attack ot the acute form. The transition from one phase of the disease to the other is often unobserved ; the abdominal pains diminish, but the diarrh ea tinues, although with less severity. The ffeces become more solid, and sionally constipation follows, to be succeeded by increased diarrlhea. The or (..ges....on longer the duration of the catarrh the quicker are the organs I li ti impaired, and the intestinal glands lose their power to absorb the nutrient materials of the food. Thus the patient's nutrition is affected. lie becomes emaciated ; his skin becomes dry and hard ; his complexion pale ; urine scant and strength diminished. In such a condition the sufferer is an easy prey of other diseases.

Treatment. —The patient must be put upon a diet following a course under medical supervision for from four to six weeks. In dieting such a case the following are absolutely forbidden: Vegetables, fruits, cakes. spices, sugar, sour and SWCCt diSlICS Or drinks, beer, Wine, brandy, rye bread, fat meat, cheese, lobsters, etc.

The following arc permitted : Milk (provided that no unfavourable effects are observed), soup, gruel, rice, sago, tapioca, farina, white bread. toast, zwieback, crackers, eggs, lean meat or fish, tea, cocoa, chocolate, claret, and seltzers water which has ceased effervescing.

The andwne" s"°"1(11)e kePt wan" by w'aring ‘wollen lxindage. Wa applications, sitz-batits, and complete body-baths are also of value. Where drugs are necessary, these must be prescribed by a physician. ln obstinate cases, irrigations of the colon may be tried.

Intestinal Catarrh in Children (see CHOLERA INFANTUM). There is, however, another and more chronic type of intestinal catarrh which affects children. Lack of appetite is one of its first indications. This :ollowed by excessive thirst. The abdomen becomes distended and tender, and tlze child draws up

its legs and cries or moans pitifully. At first there is little change in the appearance of the stools ; later, however, they become curdled and green, and are mixed with mucus and have a very foul odour ; finally they become fluid and are passed with a great deal of gas. Sometimes the foul stools alternate with apparently normal evacuations. Marked emaciation of the little sufferer takes place, it loses all fatty tissue and its body gradually comes to resemble a skeleton covered only with skin. Boils and bed-sores develop in the region of the buttocks, the genitals, and the heels. The voice may sink lower and lower until it becomes nothing more than an indistinct moan, and in some cases be stilled by death.

Treatment.—Gastro-intestinal catarrh in children, one of the commonest causes of infantile mortality, should be treated by a physician. The food the patient is to take serves also as medicine, and must be prepared with the greatest care and protected against flies. To relieve the thirst give bland drinks, the best being boiled water, to which add a teaspoonful of granulated sugar to every pint, or a thin infusion of black tea. Prepare the tea by pouring a pint of boiling water over a teaspoonful of tea, straining after two minutes and then sweetening with a lump of sugar. This may be given warm or cold. Keep the patient in a clean bed ; replace soiled linen immediately and so avoid bed-sores and furuncles, or prevent their becoming worse if already present. Keep the soiled napkins for the inspection of the physician that he may note the progress of the disease. To provide pure milk from a well-conducted dairy is the most important preventive measure.

In older children the course of the disease runs about the same as in adults.

IVY-POISONING.—Poisoning by the climbing shrub Rhus Toxicoden dron, commonly known as or the shrub Rhus venenata, or poison sulnac, or poison-oak. These plants cause irritation to the cutaneous tissues, and produce intense itching and swelling with heat, pain, and blister for mations. Internally they cause intense thirst, burning pain in the throat and oesophagus, drowsiness, nausea, delirium, and convulsive seizures. At first the pulse is slow, but later becomes more rapid and irregular.

Treatment.—Apply a saturated solution of acetate of lead in diluted alcohol to relieve severe itching, or apply cloths saturated with a solution of bicar bonate of soda in water or Condy's Fluid. Hot-water applications give instant relief. Peroxide of hydrogen, diluted four times, is said to relieve the intense itching.

Many physicians use no remedy but the so-called "black-wash," composed of calomel, 3o grains ; glycerine, fl. oz. ; mucilage of tragacanth, s. fl. ozs. ; lime water to make so fl. ozs. Nervous disquietude can be relieved by doses of so grains of sodium bromide taken in water every two or three hours for three doses,