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Prickly

skin, treatment, sweat, rupture, perineum, heat and urethra

PRICKLY HEAT.—A skin affection which is very frequent in summer and in tropical countries. It is due to the greatly increased and constant secretion of sweat, and to the irritation produced by clothing. Prickly heat usually develops very rapidly. On superficial examination the affected parts of the skin appear to be red surfaces ; but on closer examination it is seen that innumerable, closely crowded, minute, red nodules cause this ap pearance. These nodules develop into small blisters. If these rupture, larger or smaller portions of the skin become sore, especially those parts of the body which are irritated by closely adhering garments. The throat, the wrists, the waist, and the shoulders are particularly susceptible. The eruption is acccompanied by severe itching, pricking, and burning of the skin, increasing with every new appearance of sweat, and causing the patients to scratch themselves. The disturbances may be so marked that the patients can scarcely rest during the night. In healthy adults prickly heat, though very annoying, is otherwise without danger ; but in delicate children it may eventually develop into a serious disorder. Special care should therefore be taken to keep the child's skin in a healthy condition.

The duration of prickly heat varies. In mild cases the eruption disap pears after a few days ; but, if new nodules continuously appear, the affec tion may be protracted for weeks or months. Cooler weather generally effects a cure.

The treatment, as well as the prevention, of prickly heat requires limita tion of the activity of the sweat-glands. It is necessary, therefore, during the hot season, as well as in the tropics, to wear light, porous garments which do not adhere closely to the body. Underclothing made of fine, smooth cotton fabric, or shirts with medium-large meshes, should be selected. Woollen underwear is especially unsuitable. To diminish the secretion of sweat, one should avoid bodily exertions as much as possible, and restrict the ingestion of fluids to a minimum. Another requirement is cleanliness. Underwear saturated with sweat must be changed every day ; and the daily bath, so essential in the tropics and during hot weather, must not be sus pended even if it should aggravate the disturbances for the time being. Soap should not be used with the bath ; and it is advisable, after each bath, to dust the skin with flour or with talcum-powder, or to rub it with some bland ointment or oil.

PROSTATITIS.—Inflammation of the prostate gland (see p. 165). This condition is generally a result of gonorrhcea of the posterior urethra. There are two main forms of prostatitis, a rapid and an insidious type. The rapid form is accompanied by severe pain, by difficulty in urinating or complete retention of urine, by fever and chills, and in some cases by the formation of an abscess which tends to rupture into the urethra or into the rectum or externally through the perineum. Proper treatment may sometimes effect a total reduction of the inflammation. In other cases the suppuration reappears, and there is a rupture in several directions, leading to permanent deformity. This rapid type of inflammation is best prevented by the proper and timely treatment of gonorrhoea. If signs of a beginning inflammation (retention of urine, painful pressure in the rectum and perineum, fever and chills) be already present, it is advisable to rest in bed, to effect a light move ment of the bowels, and to consult a physician. Timely medical advice is important in order, if possible, to prevent the rupture of pus into the bladder or into the peritoneal cavity, which complication may cause a very dangerous blood-poisoning.

In the case of insidious prostatitis, gonorrhoea of the urethra plays a chief part ; hut sexual excesses, violent masturbation, and injuries must also be taken into consideration. There are symptoms of dull pressure in the perineum, radiating into the rectum, and some burning pain while urinating. Constipation, u Inch often occurs simultaneously, tends to aggra: vate the unpleasant sensations in the region of the perineum. As is usually the case in diseases of the sexual organs, there appear sooner or later certain nervous complications, such as loss of appetite, disinclination for work, and mental dulness. There are also pains in the sacrum and in the back, de creased power of procreation, and melancholy. In all diseases of the urethra a reputable physician should be consulted. The prospects for a cure are not unfavourable. The treatment, however, usually demands much time and patience, but if properly carried out the results are generally satisfactory.