Treating Typhoid Fever
It had not been my intention to mention typhoid, but upon reflection I have decided to include it. Typhoid fever is little liable to attack people living under such conditions as exist in the mountains where the air is pure, the water comes from eternal springs, and flies are few. Summer camps along lake shores and the larger, slow-moving streams are liable to it, and it is- just as well to recognize it when it arrives.
The person about to come down with typhoid generally feels extremely tired for several days, the head and back ache, the nose frequently bleeds slightly, a rumbling is present in the right side just below the ribs, and the ears rings as though one had taken an overdose of quinine. The tongue is characteristic of the disease, so much so, in fact, that we speak of a particular condition as the "typhoid tongue."
After a few days the patient begins to feel feverish. All the symptoms increase until he is quite ill and takes to his bed. About this time tiny red spots called "rose spots" appear on the abdomen, perhaps only a few, again they are quite frequent. The mind becomes dull and the hearing imperfect.
Typhoid is said to be a self-limiting disease, that is, it cannot be cut short or aborted in any way. That, however, is hardly the case. By vigorous treatment, at the outset, it is now thought by a great many that the disease can be limited to a few days. If the treatment is not begun early and carried out, the disease will run a course of some twenty-one days.
The treatment consists in eradicating the nest of typhoid bacillus that is setting up the disturbance. Here, again, we resort to calomel. Four grains given in quarter-grain doses every half hour will usually produce sufficiently free passages. After this administer the intestinal antiseptic religiously, with aconitine for the fever. Give plenty of water to drink and restrict the diet. If the disease gets beyond control, the routine treatment is the intestinal antiseptic.
Cold packs for the fever, in the later stages of the disease, will be found preferable to any medicines. All the time the diet should be watched. No solid foods should be allowed. Milk, light broths, fruit juices, and rice water supply sufficient nourishment and do not irritate the tender glands of Peyer and Brunner that are the seat of the disease. These glands become very friable in typhoid, and any violent action of the walls of the intestines, as in digesting food, will cause them to break through and permit the bowel contents to enter the general peritoneal cavity, when the patient will die from inflammation of the bowels.
Moody, Charles Stuart. Backwoods Surgery & Medicine. New York: Outing Pub., 1916. Print.
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