Causes, Symptoms, Dangers and Treatment
IN considering the ills, ailments and diseases to which childhood is subject, three points in particular may be borne in mind. First, that the stronger and healthier a child is, the more immune is he from disease. G ood food, fresh air and sunlight, cleanliness and regularity of habit, are the finest preventives of disease; and thcre is no need for a child to catch even the common infectious fevers of childhood.
Second, treat any disorder or pain of which the child complains with the utmost seriousness. As will be seen from a perusal of the following list, the early symptoms of many diseases are strikingly similar, and a cough, a cold, a chill, or a pain may mean very little, or it may mean a great deaT. It is better to risk the reputation of being fussy than to risk the childs life.
Third, convalescence is often the most dangerous period of a childs illness. It is then that precautions are apt to be relaxed, and the patient, with the thoughtlessness of childhood, exposes himself to draughts, gets cold, or overtires himself, and so makes the path ready for the complications which hover in the pake of even comparatively slight ills.
And – consult your doctor often and early. A periodic overhaul of the child, well or ill, is a wise safeguard. Adenoids. Adenoid growths are normal growths of soft, spongy tissue at the back of the throat and nose. Inflammation of these is the commonest and most serious disease to which young children are liable. Age. Adenoids may be induced in babyhood, but are most common in children from 2-8 years.
Causes. Lack of health and strength in parents. Lack of fresh air; stuffy rooms and bad ventilation.
Blocked or malformed nasal passages. Adenoids may be helped to form by neglect of any of the essentials to health – improper, especially soft, food, or food so given that it does not compel hard sucking in infancy or thorough mastication later. They are said to be induced by dummy teats, or by allowing the baby to keep the bottle teat too long in his mouth. Neglect of cleanliness, especially of the nose and mouth, predisposes to adenoids.
Sympto7ns. Mouth breathing as a habit. The child snores at night, his voice becomes thick or stuffy, he seems to have a perpetual cold in the head. As the disease develops he becomes dull, slow and stupid, and his face assumes a vacant expression.
Sleep is often greatly disturbed, breathing being irregular and difficult; it is not uncommon for the child to wake in a fright.
Dangers. The general mental and physical development of the child is seriously retarded; many a child in the past has been labelled a dunce, or even regarded as mentally deficient, . who was really a bright intelligent child suffering from adenoids. Hearing, taste and smell are affected; the child may become quite deaf. He suffers from headaches, and is listless in body and unintelligent in mind. Further, adenoids give rise to chronic catarrh, earache and deafness; prevent the proper inflation of the lungs and
BRONCHITIS chest development, and render the child an easy prey to all manner of diseases, and notably to consumption.
Treatment. The surgical operation for the removal of adenoids is simple and safe, and as a rule results in a marked change for the better in the child, a change in some cases amounting almost to a revolution. The operation should be followed by a course of breathing exercises.
See also EAR TROUBLE. Appendicitis.
Age. Any. More common with bovs than girls.
Causes. Various; constipation, or some foreign body – e.g. bristle from tooth-brush – in the appendix.
Symptoms. Any pain in the abdomen of which the child complains, especially if low down on right-hand side or across the navel, or if the abdomen is tender to pressure at these places, should be inquired into. Indigestion with vague pain and some sickness may indicate an attack of appendicitis, which in some cases may recur again and again without advancing to the violent stage.
In violent attacks there is nausea, vomiting, rise in temperature (101-102° F.), intense pain or tenderness in the abdomen.
Dangers. A violent attack may, if not immediately treated, cause death within a few hours.
Treatment. Put child to bed if appendicitis is suspected, and give him nothing but water. Send immediately for the doctor; delay may be fatal, but practically no deaths result from an operation within the first 12 or 24 hours.
Bilious Attack. All children are liable to a bilious attack, which usually means no more than a surfeit of raw fruit or a bolted meal, and which rights itself by vomiting. This should be followed by a short period of starvation or light diet.
If the attack persists beyond a few hours, then the onset of some more serious complaint may be suspected. See also GASTRITIS and INDIGESTION.
Bow-Leg. All children at birth are more or less bow-legged. This, however, should not persist after the age of walking.
See further under RICKETS. Bronchitis. Inflammation of mucous membrane of the bronchial tubes. Age. Any; especially prevalent in connection with measles and whooping cough (q.v.). Causes. Exposure to cold or damp. Sitting or standing in wet clothes. Measles, whooping cough. Symptoms. Bronchitis usually begins as a common cold, with feverishness and a feeling of being generally out of sorts. A short, dry, painful cough follows, breathing becomes rapid and difficult with a wheezing sound, and there is pain and rawness in throat and chest, the latter feeling tight and as though there were a weight on it. Dangers. Always a serious illness. It may lead to broncho-pneumonia . It is most dangerous in very young children and in those suffering, or recently suffering, from measles or whooping cough. Treatment. In a mild case it is sufficient to keep the child warm in bed and put him on light diet with plenty of water and liquid nourishment. In severer cases fomentations, inhalations and expectorants are used. Soothing mixtures should only be given under doctors orders, because they often contain opium in quantities which may be harmful to children.
Burns and Scalds.
Dangers. In severe burns and scalds the danger from shock is more serious than the actual injury. Children succumb easily to shock. Septic Infection.
The extent rather than the depth of the injury decides the danger, though the position counts.
Treatment. Deal first with shock. Soothe child; immerse in hot bath if shock is serious.
Apply moist dressing with soothing lotion, carron oil or olive oil, vaseline or pure lard. In an emergency a pad soaked in warm water and baking soda (1 tablespoonful to 1 pint) is useful. Chicken Pox.
Age. Usually between 2 and 6.
Cause. A contagious disease; period of incubation from 10 to 15 days.
Symptoms. There may be slight fever for a few hours before eruption of spots on back or chest. These spots fill with clear fluid within 24 hours.
Dangers. Very slight.
Treatment. Keep child in bed for few days and give a light diet; prevent scratching. Chilblains.
Cause. Rapid change in temperature.
Dangers. Septic poisoning; regular re-currence.
Treatment. Slices of raw potato applied to chilblains give relief. Many chilblain ointments are sold. Colds.
Dangers. The common cold presents three grave dangers: (I) It is very contagious. (ii) It may be the first symptoms of a serious disease. (iii) It may, if unchecked, lead to serious illness, such as influenza, catarrh, bronchitis, pneumonia. Treatment. Prompt isolation. No child with a cold should attend school or mix with other children. If the cold persists beyond a day or two consult a doctor. Colic.
Causes. Unsuitable milk.
Overfeeding, irregular or too frequent feeding; taking milk too quickly or too slowly. Constipation.
Skin irritation; hampering clothes; cold. Symptoms. Restlessness, puckering of forehead, kicking, screaming, drawing up of thighs into abdomen. Belly is hard and swollen. Dangers. Persistont digestive trouble-Convulsions. Treatment. Patting on back; giving warm boiled water; warming hands, feet, abdomen; massaging abdomen. Constipation. Age. Any.
Causes. Constitutional. Improper diet.
Irregular habits, of food or excretion.
Muscular atony. Intestinal ob-struction. Symptoms. Difficulty in evacuation. Hard, dry, small motions. Languor, headache, dulnosa in child. Dangers. Constipation can rightly be regarded as a curse of civilization. And no effort should be spared to secure to the child free, easy and regular motions. The ill3 to which it predisposes or gives rise are legion; it causes flatulenco and colic in infants, and is closely associated with
CROUP diarrhoea, while practically all diseases of the digestive system may be con-nected with it or derived from it.
Treatment. The treatment of constipation may be classified under three heads; (I) Habits, (ii) Diet, (iii)Laxatives. The first two are of the utmost importance in dealing with children. It is essential to recognize that even a tendency to constipation is dangerous; if the child is allowed to become actually constipated, the trouble may prove most stubborn and defy all manner of treatment. (I) Habits. Absolute regularity of feeding and evacuation should be practised from birth. The bowels are then trained to act as it were automatically, and the child, in addition to growing up with the idea of regular evacuation established in its mind receives promptings from nature. The mother should persist with faithful regularity of holding out, even though at first the results are disappointing; and special attention should be paid to the habits of children during the so-called careless years from 7 to 12. (ii) Diet. This question is so wide that adequate discussion is impossible here; but, broadly speaking, lack of fat is the main predisposing cause of constipation in the early months, a too-stodgy diet or overfeeding later. Insufficient fluid is a predisposing factor; hence the emphasis on plenty of water, fresh fruit, green vegetables and salads in the diet. But any irregularity or impropriety in the diet encourages any tendency to constipation. (iii) Laxatives. Medicines for the cure of constipation in children should be resorted to with regret, and refrained from whenever possible. If a natural cure by means of attention to diet and habits, correction of constitutional causes, careful surveillance of teeth, increased exercise, be anyhow possible, it is far better and more likely to be permanent.
Liquid paraffin, being a lubricant only, and not being absorbed as food, stands nearest to natural means. Olive oil, also a lubricant, is partially absorbed. Magnesia is safe; but the action of all salts is to eliminato, not to stimulate to healthy action. If aperients have to be given, the best method is to administer the smallest effectual dose regularly over a lengthy period. Some form of senna – senna-pods, syrup of senna, or liquorice powder – is probably the best aperient to use. See further references in the article on CONSTIPATION. Convulsions.
Age. Usually infancy. Causes. Poor general health; indigestion; colic; teething; constipation. Symptoms. Nervous twitchings, squinting, rolling of eyeballs, jerking of limbs. Dangers. A frequent cause of infant mortality.
Permanent damage to nervous system. Treatment. If signs of impending convulsions occur, give castor oil or enema. Send for doctor.
During convulsions, plunge child into hot bath , then put to bed and send for doctor. Croup.
Age. Above 2 years; usually in 3rd year. Causes. Exposure to cold, damp, windy weather. Symptoms. Great difficulty in breathing, hard cough in spasms of 4 – 5 minutes. Often the onset is quite sudden, with no preliminary symptoms. Dangers. Associated with diphtheria and laryngitis; may cause convulsions. Croup itself is not usually dangerous. Treatment. Put child into warm bath, sponge back and chest with cold water. Put to bod in warm room.
Send for doctor to ensure diphtheria is not threatened. Diarrhoea. Age. Any; but most common and dangerous in infancy and with bottle-fed infants. Epidemic during hot months and worst usually in September. Causes. Improper food; irregular feeding; uncleanliness of utensils. Symptoms. Green motions; looseness of bowels. Dangers. A fruitful cause of infantile mortality. Treatment. Dose of castor oil (level teaspoonful).
Withholding of food, but not of xvater; the danger is lack of fluid. Send for doctor. Diphtheria. Age. Any; young children are more susceptible to this complaint then adults. Causes. Infection.
Symptoms. Chilliness and depression; uneasiness in throat; some stiffness at back of neck; red and swollen throat With white patches; tenderness and swelling of gland under angles of lower jaw. Dangers. Delay in medical treatment is often fatal. Since the introduction of antitoxin treatment there is no reason why diphtheria should end fatally, but it must be applied early – the first or second day. Treatment. If diphtheria is oven re-motely suspected, isolate the child at once and immediately send for doctor. Ear Trouble. Any ear trouble must be treated seriously. The cause may be adenoids, a foreign body in the ear, or the onset of very grave disease of the middle ear. In the case of a known foreign body in the ear, warmed oil may be dropped in, but the doctor alone should extract the obstruction.
Eczema. Age. Any. Causes. Special irritability of skin; dirt; infection. Symptoms. Local itching; burning and blush on skin. Sometimes numerous tiny spots run together into one large one and then burst, discharging matter. Dangers. Infection. Treatment. Calomel; ointments; X-rays. G astritis. Inflammation of the stomach. Age. Any.
Causes. Unsuitable food; poisoning. Symptoms. Loss of appetite; sickness; nausea; headache; giddiness; furred tongue; foul breath. Dangers. May lead to chronic gastrio catarrh. Treatment. Riddance of irritant or poison by emetic. Sucking ice. Rubbing stomach. Bismuth.
Light diet and complete rest. Hay Fever. Age. Any. Cause. Irritation of nasal passage by pollen of certain grasses. Symptoms. As of severe head cold. Danger. May be associated with asthma. Treatment. No satisfactory one; as for cold; vaccine treatment has met with success. Insect Bites and Stings. Age. Any.
Dangers. Large number of stings; sting on tongue or other tender part; shock.
Preventives. Camphor, menthol, lavender, and oil of eucalyptus. Treatment. Apply soda or ammonia. For wasp stings, apply diluted vinegar.
For mosquito bites, apply moist toilet 3oap.
Causes. Catching cold; excessive use of voice; inhalation of irritating particles or swallowing very hot fluid. May occur during measles or influenza.
Symptoms. Tickling in throat and dryness; difficulty in swallowing; dry cough; voice husky or lost.
Dangers. Slight unless complications occur.
Treatment. Rest in bed; no talking; fight diet; inhalation of Friars Balsam. Measles.
Age. Usually early childhood.
Cause. Infection. Period of incubation, 8 to 14 days.
Symptoms. Ordinary cold in head; fever (102°-104°); rapid pulse: headache; thirst; restlessness; appearance on 4th or 5th day of small dusky red or crimson spots on brews, cheek, chin, behind ears and on neck.
Dangers. Often slight; the malignant form (slightly developed purplish rash) is dangerous.
Pulmonary complications (e.g. broncho-pneumonia), especially in weak or delicate children. Weakened general health.
Treatmeni. Immediate and complete isolation (3 weeks from latest date of infection). Bed, warmth, light diet. In convalescence guard against colds and from draught.
German Measles is a milder disease, free from complications, requiring no special treatment except isolation. It resembles in its eruption measles and scarlet fever.
Age. Usually under 10.
Cause. Inflammation of brain duo to tuberculosis germs. Symptoms. Wasting; loss of strength; Jistlessness; loss of appetite; headache: restlessness at night; unusual irritability persisting over weeks; vomiting; convulsions; obstinate constipation; wryneck; intolerance of fight; peculiar cry at night.
Dangers. There is no known means of cure. Mumps.
Age. Childhood and early youth.
Symptoms. Feverish cold; swelling of glands in front of ears; difficulty in mastication and swallowing.
Treatment. As for slight feverish ail-ments.
Nettle Rash. This slight skin disease shows red and white patches, similar to nettle stings, on body. It is usually regarded as symptomatic rather than a disease in itself.
Causes. Tainted food: unsuitable food; stings. Treatment. Except in severe eases, no special treatment. For severe eases antitoxin is used. Nose – bleeding. Nose-bleeding in children is usually of little importance, and may be beneficial. If it is symptomatic of hemophilia (bleeders disease) treatment from a doctor may be required. Report persistent bleeding.
Age. Any; common in childhood and youth. Treatment. Lay child flat on his back; apply cold water to the nose and head. Pneumonia. This may be lobar or bronchial, and the patient muse receive immediate attention at the hands oi the doctor. Age. Any.
Causes. Bronchial; sudden chill or result of measles; whooping cough; diphtheria, etc.
Symptoms. Rise in temperature. Pain in side. Cough.
Extraordinary breathing. In young children may start with convulsions.
Dangers. Complications, including pleurisy and meningitis.
Treatment. Absolute rest; warmth; fresh air; serums and vaccines. Rickets.
Age.. Manifests itself about 12 months.
Causes. Constitutional; insufficient or improper nutrition, especially a de-ficiency of Vitamin D.
Symptoms.- Digestive disorder; poor appetite; vomiting; diarrhoea; wasting; often profuse sweating of head in sleep; great tenderness in bones; changes in shapes of joints; bow-leggedness or knock-knees; curvature of spine.
Dangers. Deformity and dwarfing.
Treatment. Supplying Vitamin D, as by cod-liver oil. Anti-rachitic treatment by ultra-violet rays has made very great progress during the past twenty years. Scarlet Fever or Scarlatina.
Age. Early childhood.
Causes. Infection or contagion; period of incubation 1-7 days.
Symptoms. Vomiting; sore throat; rapid rise in temperature; after 24 hours rash of tiny, thickly-set red spots.
Dangers. Of simple scarlatina, slight; of septic scarlatina, in which throat trouble is much more pronounced; exhaustion. In general, complications during convalescence, which is prolonged (6-8 weeks).
Treatment. Complete isolation until all nose or ear discharge (if an ) has ceased and skin is perfectly healthy again. Warmth; fight diet.
Thrush. Age. Infancy.
Causes. Uncleanlinese of feeding utensils. Digestive troubles. Contagion. Symptoms. Refusal to feed; colic; diarrhoea; vomiting.
Small whitish patches inside mouth on tongue and cheeks, and hard palate. Dangers. Contagion; ulceration. Treatment. Wash mouth after feeds with solution of boracicacidl (drachm) and A oz. Glycerine to pint boiling water. Let baby suck pad of gauze containing dry boric acid (1 grain) and a touch of saccharine. Call in doctor.
Strict attention to cleanliness in all ways. Tonsilitis. Age. Any: especially in connection with adenoids. Came. Infection.
Symptons. Chilliness and shivering; swollen throat; difficulty in swallowing; high temperature; coated tongue; foul breath. Dangers. Complications, including tuberculosis and mastoiditis. Treatment. As for fevers generally. Purgative; removal of adenoids or diseased tonsils. Tonsils. See ADENOIDS. Whooping Cough. Age. Usually early childhood. Cause. Infection; incubation period about 14 days. Symptoms. Ordinary cough for week or ten days. Then attacks of coughing end in long noisy indrawing of breath (the whoop); very severe and painful, child spits phlegm. Dangers. Complications, with bronchitis. Treatment. Rest in bed, warmth, light diet, diluent drinks. Call in doctor.