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Diseases Tongue

affection, inflammation, tonsils, tonsilitis, fever and difficulty

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TONGUE, DISEASES OF.—Various diseases of the mouth are accom panied with inflammation of the mucous membrane of the tongue. The tissue of the tongue may become inflamed after insect bites, as a consequence of burning with hot food, after slight wounds, or during the course of anthrax, erysipelas, abdominal typhoid, etc. Such inflammation may be followed (happily very seldom) by severe swelling of the tongue, which may result in death by suffocation. The inflammation, and resultant swelling of the tongue, causes pain, difficulty in swallowing, and increased flow of saliva ; it generally abates under medical treatment, however. Abscesses or which demand operative interference, occasionally occur. Ulcers of the tongue arise in consequence of wounds, or as a result of syphilis, tuberculosis, or cancer.

TONGUE-TIE.—In some children the ligament, or frenum, of the tongue may be abnormally short, or may reach forward toward the point of the tongue ; and, in rare cases, this condition may cause difficulty in nursing. As a rule, however, it is not necessary to perform an operation. If a child nurses with difficulty, the physician must decide regarding the necessary measures ; and if an operation be indicated, it must be performed by him only, as bungling may injure arteries and lead to death from bleeding. Stress must be laid on the fact that a short frxnum does not cause faulty speech.


TONSILITIS.—Inflammation of the tonsils. This is a very frequent affection, especially of children, and may occur in various forms. The most important types of the disease are discussed in the following : Simple, or catarrhal, tonsilitis consists of a mild infection of the crypts of the tonsils. The chief symptoms are : pain on swallowing (often radiating into the ear), slight fever, pain in the back, and sometimes headache. The tonsil appears red and glistening, and projects more than usual into the pharynx. The patient experiences a sensation as of scratching and pricking in the throat. In some cases the inflammation disappears in from 24 to

48 hours ; in others, a coryza or a catarrh of the larynx develops. The disease is only in rare instances followed by rheumatism, pleurisy, etc.

Follicular tonsilitis is a more severe form of the preceding type, and is characterised by graver symptoms, higher fever, and a more protracted course. This affection usually sets in with high fever (often with a violent chill), and with general lassitude and loss of appetite. The tonsils swell rapidly, as do also the lymph-glands under the chin, which likewise become painful. On the second day of the affection, isolated yellow spots, of the size of pin-heads, are observed in the follicles of the tonsils. The fever usually lasts three days, the nights are restless, and great bodily discomfort is felt. This form of tonsilitis is often associated with inflammation of the middle ear. See EAR, DISEASES OF. After the fever has subsided, marked weakness remains, and recovery is slow. Rheumatic sequelx are not infrequent.

Ulcerative tonsilitis (quinsy) is a condition often developing from follicular tonsilitis when, especially if deep infection take place, pus may collect in the deeper tissues of the tonsils. In this affection the mouth can be opened only with difficulty, and swallowing, even of the saliva, is excessively painful. The tongue is heavily coated, and ingestion of food is rendered very difficult, or even impossible. The patient is usually very sick. High temperature is present, and the glands of the neck become swollen and painful. The process is one of abscess formation in the tonsil, and recovery does not take place until the abscess is opened. This is best done by a knife, when relief takes place at once. If the abscess ruptures spontaneously, it may do so either into the mouth (sometimes during sleep), or it may burrow down the neck and result in serious blood-poisoning. The affection lasts at least two weeks, and may attack both sides successively.

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