Influenza occurs more often in the nursery than people think. It is sometimes the reason of feverish attacks, the origin of which is unknown. The symptoms are similar to those which appear in adults suffering from the disease. It may begin with ordinary cold in the head, associated with a good deal of pain in the limbs, headache, and prostration. The prostration and pain in the limbs are always suggestive of influenza. Influenza may be of the gastric type - i.e., accompanied by a good deal of sickness and some disturbance of the bowels. The temperature is always raised, perhaps to 1030. Children should not be allowed to go to any house where there is a case of influenza, and anyone visiting the house with a heavy cold of the influenza type should be excluded from the nursery.
Influenza is also sometimes contracted from domestic pets. For this reason when a child is isolated with influenza from the other members of the nursery, care should be taken that the cat is not allowed to visit the invalid. If a cat exhibits signs of "cold," it should be removed from the society of the children.
The treatment of influenza consists in keeping the child warm in bed in a well-ventilated room, with light diet and small doses of quinine; the dose, of course, varies according to the age of the child. It is important to guard against chill, as many serious chest ailments, such as pneumonia or pleurisy, may develop.
Pneumonia, or inflammation of the lungs, is due to a special germ. It is a very serious disease in young children, and requires careful nursing. The child often breathes more easily if raised by high pillows. He must, of course, be kept warm in bed, and given plenty of fresh air. Pneumonia may also follow upon bronchitis by the spreading of the inflammation downwards to the small capillary tubes of the lungs.
Pleurisy frequently occurs after other diseases of the lungs, as bronchitis or pneumonia, from the inflammation spreading to the pleural membrane covering the lungs. In all these chest ailments a doctor should be in attendance, but good nursing and domestic care facilitate considerably the child's progress towards health. Linseed meal poultices are required, and the preparation of these will be described under the Home Nursing series. The child should wear a woollen jacket round the chest, and in pneumonia, as in bronchitis, a bronchitis kettle may be required to moisten the air of the room
The same domestic treatment is called for in pneumonia, pleurisy, and that type of influenza which affects the respiratory organs. Rest and quiet in bed, plenty of fresh air without draughts, a uniform temperature of perhaps 60° F. in the bedroom, and light, nourishing diet. It is most important in convalescence to keep up the child's strength and to guard against chill.
The last of these winter ailments will be dealt with in the next part, under the heading "Nursery Sore Throats."