Abscess is a collection of pus or matter formed as a result of inflammation. It may be acute or chronic. An acute abscess follows upon a sharp inflammation, which is characterised by heat, redness, pain, and swelling. These inflamed or congested tissues break down, forming a creamy fluid called pus. The congestion, swelling, and redness in inflammation are caused by an increased flow of blood to the part. The circulation becomes slower, and if the part were examined under the microscope it could be demonstrated that the white corpuscles of the blood (see " Home Nursing " article) pass through the vessel walls and make for the centre of inflammation. They are called phagocytes, or scavengers, and their aim is to eat up any dead tissue cells or the irritating microbes which may be causing the inflammation. If they succeed, the inflammation subsides without suppuration.
In more acute cases the tissues break down, and an abscess containing pus is formed. This abscess tends to " point " in the direction of least resistance, and to open on to a free surface, forming an ulcer. Abscesses frequently appear when the blood is in an unhealthy state, in gout, diabetes, Bright's disease of the kidneys, etc.
The treatment of abscess consists in getting rid of the pus and attending to the general health. Poultices will hasten the process of suppuration and soften the surface tissues. If the abscess does not open of its own accord, it will be necessary for a surgeon to lance it.
Ague, or Malaria, is a constitutional disease occurring in certain marshy districts, due to a germ or micro-organism, which is carried from the blood of one person to another by a mosquito. The symptoms - chilliness, depression, pain in the limbs, rise in temperature - resemble those of many other fevers, but in ague the fever occurs in regular paroxysms, which last twenty-four. forty-eight, or seventy-two hours, depending on the type of malaria. The spleen is enlarged, and after an attack of malaria the victim is anaemic, sallow, languid, and out of health for a long time, due to the action of the poison on the blood cells. In the prevention and treatment of ague, quinine is an invaluable drug.
Anaemia (want of blood) is a disease characterised by changes in the blood. The red colouring matter, or haemoglobin, is deficient, the blood is poor, and the nutrition of the body suffers. Pallor, weakness, and lassitude, breath-lessness, and palpitation are common symptoms.
The disease often affects growing girls, and one variety of anaemia peculiar to young girls is called chlorosis, or " green sickness," because of the peculiar greenish pallor of the skin. It is very chronic, and may persist for years if untreated.
Anaemia should never be neglected, as the health and development are seriously affected and a girl's energies impaired all the time she is anaemic. Also, it predisposes a girl to contract other and more serious diseases.
Headache is often very persistent, because the brain is ill-nourished with poor blood, loaded with the " toxins " or poisons of disordered digestion. Dyspepsia and constipation are generally present, and neuralgia is often very severe. The lips are pale and bloodless. Ulceration of the stomach sometimes occurs, which is always a serious complication.
The anaemia of young girls is generally due to an unhealthy mode of life. Improper, insufficient diet, strong tea drinking, ill-ventilated rooms, lack of sunlight, exercise, and fresh air are some of the causes. Girls in shops and offices, seamstresses and students, who live a sedentary indoor life, frequently suffer from anaemia.
The disease, however, may follow haemorrhage from any cause in both men and women, and is found associated with scurvy, lung affections, heart disease, etc. The treatment in such cases must depend on the initial cause.
In dealing with the common anaemia of young girls, hygienic surroundings must first be considered. Sometimes change of occupation will affect a cure, as in the case of a shop-girl who becomes a nursery governess or children's nurse. Diet is very important. Simple, easily digested food is essential, plenty of milk, fresh fruit, and vegetables.
Tea and coffee should be given up, and plenty of porridge and cream, stewed fruit, brown bread and butter in the dietary helps to counteract any constipation. The anaemic girl requires a good deal of sleep, and open windows at night must be the invariable rule. She must take regular walking or cycling exercise, practise simple physical culture exercises and deep breathing night and morning.
The cure is often tedious, especially if the disease is of long standing; and many girls make the mistake of giving up treatment after a few weeks because they feel much better, and dislike the trouble of looking after their own health.
It is best not to take drugs without a doctor's orders, but iron is a necessary part of the treat ment. Bipalatinoids of iron are the best form in which to take the medicine, and it may be necessary to continue the iron for ten or twelve weeks. A simple aperient, such as cascara, is generally necessary.
Corsets which are the least tight must be given up, because they compress the ribs, make deep breathing impossible, and the blood is not properly purified when brought to the lungs. At the same time, any tightness about the waist presses on the digestive organs, and hinders the digestion and assimilation of food.
Free movement of the waist and abdominal muscles is a great aid to digestion, and helps to counteract any tendency to anaemia.
Aneurysm is a widening or dilatation of an artery which sometimes occurs as a result of
Medical injury or sudden exertion. A common situation is the aorta, the large vessel leading from the heart.