One of the most convenient articles to be used in a sick-room is a sand-bag. Get some fine sand, dry it thoroughly in a kettle on the stove, make a bag about eight inches square of flannel, fill it with the dry sand, sew the opening carefully together, and cover the bag with cotton or linen cloth. This will prevent the sand from sifting out, and will also enable you to heat the bag quickly by placing it in the oven, or even on the top of the stove. After once using this you will never again attempt to warm the feet or hands of a sick person with a bottle of hot water or a brick. The sand holds the heat a long time, and the bag can be tucked up to the back without hurting the invalid. It is a good plan to make two or three of the bags and keep them ready for use.
Give babies very little sugar, in any form whatever, as it has a tendency to constipate.
On the first symptoms of cold, such as snuffling, or any slight hoarseness, give immediately a warm foot bath, and then grease with mutton tallow the nose, neck, chest, and feet; warm the feet well at the fire. Sweet-oil, pig's-foot oil, or any kind of good grease will answer as well as mutton tallow. After warming well put them to bed and wrap up well.
Milk for the use of children should cool until the animal heat is gone before using.
The following rules for the management of infants during the hot season are from Dr. Wilson's " Summer and Its Diseases ":
Avoid all tight bandaging. Make clothing light and cool, and so loose that the limbs may have free play. At night undress, sponge, and put on a slip. In the morning remove slip, bathe, and dress in clean clothes if it can be afforded; if not, thoroughly air clothing by hanging it up during the night. Use clean diapers, and change often.
Let the child sleep by itself in a cot or cradle. Put to bed at regular hours, and teach to go to sleep without being nursed in the arms. Give no cordial, soothing syrup, or sleeping drops, without the advice of a physician. They kill thousands of children every year. If the child frets it is hungry or ill. Never quiet a child by candy or cake. They are common causes of diarrhea and other troubles.
Give the child plenty of fresh air. Give it plenty of pure cold water. Keep it out of rooms where cooking or washing is going on. Excessive heat kills children.
Keep the house sweet and clean, cool, and well aired. In hot weather leave windows open day and night. Cook in the yard, in a shed, or in the garret. Whitewash walls every spring, and keep cellar clear of rubbish. Let no slops collect. Disinfect privies and sinks by a solution of copperas, and get your neighbors to clean up.
It the supply of breast-milk is ample, and the child thrives, gives no other food in hot weather. If the supply is short give goat's or cow's milk in addition. Nurse once in two or three hours by day, and as seldom as possible at night. Remove child from breast as soon as it falls asleep, and never give the breast when overheated or fatigued.
If brought up by hand, give goat's milk, or cow's milk, and use no other food while hot weather lasts. For an infant that has not cut its front teeth, no substitute/or milk is safe. Creeping children must not be allowed to pick up unwholesome food.
If milk is pure add one-third hot water to it until child is three months old; afterwards gradually lessen the water. Sweeten each pint with a heaping dessert-spoonful of sugar of milk, or a tea-spoonful crushed sugar. When very hot weather give milk cold. It must be unskimmed and as fresh as possible, and brought very early in the morning. Scald pans to be used with boiling suds. In very hot weather boil milk as soon as it comes, and remove to the coolest place in the house upon ice or down in a well. In a warm room it soon spoils
If the milk disagrees add a table-spoon of lime-water to each bottleful. If pure milk can not be had, try condensed milk, sold at all grocers. Prepare by adding to six table-spoons boiling water, without sugar, one table-spoon or more of the milk, according to age of the child. If this disagrees, a tea-spoon of arrow-root, of sago, or of cornstarch, may be added to a pint of milk, as prepared under Rule 8, and cautiously tried. If milk can not be digested try, for a few days, pure cream, diluted with three-fourths to four-fifths water, returning to milk as soon as possible.
Rule 10 - The nursing-bottle must be kept perfectly clean, otherwise the milk will turn sour, and the child will be made ill. Empty after each meal, rinse first in cold water, take apart, and place nipple and bottle in clean water, to which a little soda has been added. It is better to have two bottles, and use them by turns. The plain bottle with rubber nipples is better than the tube, which is difficult to keep clean.
Do not wean a child just before or during hot weather; nor, as a rule, until after its second summer. If suckling disagrees with the mother she must not wean the child, but feed it in part from the nursing bottle as directed. However small the supply of breast-milk, the mother should keep it up against sickness. It will often save the life of a child when every thing else fails. When over six months old the mother may save her strength by giving it one or two meals a day of stale bread and milk, which should be pressed through a sieve, and put into a nursing bottle. When from eight months to a year old, it may have also one meal a day of the yolk of a fresh, rare boiled egg, or one of beef or mut-ten-broth, into which stale bread has been crumbled. When older it can have a little meat, finely minced; but even then milk should be its principal food, and not what grown people usually eat.
If a child is suddenly taken with vomiting, and purging, and prostration, send for the doctor at once. Meantime, put the child for a few minutes in a hot bath, then carefully wipe dry with a warm towel, and wrap in warm blankets. If hands and feet are cold, apply bottles filled with hot water and wrapped in flannel. Place a mush poultice or flaxseed poultice to which one quarter part of mustard flour has been added, or flannels wrung out of hot vinegar and water, over the belly. Give every fifteen minutes, five drops brandy in a teaspoonful of water; if vomiting continues, give the brandy in the same quantity of milk and lime-water. If the diarrhoea has just begun, or if caused by improper food, give a teaspoonful of castor-oil, or of spiced syrup of rhubarb. If the child has been fed partly on breast-milk, mother's milk alone must be used now. If weaned, dilute pure milk with lime-water, or give weak beef-tea or chicken-water. Let child drink cold water freely. Remove soiled diapers at once from the room but save far the examination of the physician.