GERMAN MEASLES (RUBELLA).—For some time it was an open question whether rubella was an independent disease or merely a variety of measles or scarlatina. Only within the last fifty years has the opinion become prevalent to look upon rubella as an independent infectious disease. If it were merely a milder form of measles or scarlatina, recovery from either of these diseases would protect against an infection by rubella. Such, however, is not the case.
Rubella most frequently affects children, and recovery from an attack usually renders the patient immune to the disease. The time elapsing between infection and the appearance of the eruption fluctuates between two and three weeks. Premonitory symptoms are generally absent. If present, they are similar to those of measles, varying in severity and in duration. They consist of slight cold in the head, cough, and of moderate sensitiveness of the eyes to light. In a number of cases these symptoms are not observed until after the appearance of the eruption.
The eruption, which resembles measles, appears first on the face, and spreads rapidly over the entire body. In some cases it is visible for only a few hours ; in others, for several days. The spots are separate, round, pale-red in colour, about the size of a pea, and slightly raised above the skin. Scaling is either very slight (dust-like), or altogether absent. The mild catarrhal symptoms which accompany the affection disappear rapidly. Fever may be absent during the entire course of the disease. The disturb ance of the general health amounts to little or nothing, so that it is difficult to make the sick children stay in bed. Incidents of any importance are usually absent, and the course of the affection is always favourable.
Rubella is most apt to be confused with a mild case of measles, and it requires a practised physician to distinguish one disease from the other. Since it is often difficult, even for the physician, to recognise the disease, it is obvious that a layman is absolutely unable to do so. It is desirable to
isolate the patient from the rest of the family, as it is unnecessary to have even so mild an affection as German measles.
If stricter precautions were taken with the milder affections, people would learn the value of rational hygiene, and the severe infectious diseases could be more readily controlled. It is a sign of a defective understanding of the importance of hygiene to believe that " children must have certain diseases." It is not necessary. Sickness is really due to ignorance in its truest sense.
GINGER (ZINGIBER).—The scalded and dried rhizome of the ginger plant, Zingiber olficinale, a perennial or biennial creeper indigenous to India and Jamaica. The rootlets are from one to four inches long, light ashen grey externally, yellowish-white and fleshy internally, yielding a yellowish brown powder. The Jamaica variety is called " white ginger," because the rootlets, being deprived of covering, are white or pale yellow on the outside. The powder also is lighter than that of the Indian variety. Ginger has an agreeable aromatic odour, and a spicy, pungent, and burning taste. The peculiar flavour is dependent upon the presence of a volatile oil, NVIliCh may be extracted by alcohol or water.
Ginger is used as a stimulant in weakened conditions of the alimentary canal, such as dyspepsia, flatulence, etc. It is also frequently used as a vehicle for disagreeable drugs. When the root is chewed it irritates the mucous membrane of the mouth, and increases the flow of saliva. Applied externally to the skin, it acts as a blistering agent, causing redness. The dose of powdered ginger is from ten to thirty grains. The tincture of ginger is usually given in teaspoonful doses.