Continued front page 1344, Part 11
Gout (continued). The treatment of gout consists chiefly in attention to a hygienic mode of life. Temperate living, simple meals, moderate eating, the open-air life, and plenty of exercise are absolutely essential. Lack of attention to these points results in rapid progression of the disease. Baths are extremely useful to keep the skin active. A tepid or cold bath with brisk friction every morning, and an occasional Turkish bath, help the skin to eliminate waste matters from the blood. The patient should wear woollen underclothing, and avoid sudden alterations in temperature. Diet is of the greatest importance. All food should be reduced in quantity. Butcher's meat should be taken very sparingly, a small quantity once a day. Three simple meals a day, consisting of well-cooked, plain food, must be the rule. The best drink is an abundance of pure water, which helps the excretion of waste matters. Sweet wines and malt liquors must be given up, the least harmful alcoholic beverage being a little plain whisky or brandy and water. Mineral waters can be taken in any quantity, whilst the mineral waters of Buxton, Harrogate, and Bath are well suited for gouty people; but modified diet, early hours, systematic exercise out of doors, and regular bathing of the skin are measures which all gouty people can follow at home, and they are in themselves a very important part of the cure at all mineral springs.
During an acute attack, milk diet, consisting chiefly of milk and barley water, must be strictly enforced. Some of the dishes which should be avoided by gouty people are pastry, sweets, greasy foods, sugar, hot bread, and rich foods. Fresh vegetables and fruits, except bananas and strawberries, may be taken. Fish, chicken, and light diet generally are to be recommended, whilst recently doctors have been advising the restriction of salt with the foods, as it is said to favour the deposit of sodium, salt, and uric acid about the joints.
A purgative should be taken at the beginning of an attack and saline mineral waters twice a day. Medicinal treatment must be ordered by the physician, who will also advise sedative lotions for bathing the inflamed joints. The joint must be wrapped in cotton-wool and kept at rest.
Grey Hair. Premature greyness is very often associated with some general health condition, and whenever a woman finds that her hair is turning grey she should try to discover if there is any cause which she can deal with.
Neuralgia and frequent headaches of the nervous type encourage early greyness, and everyone knows that sudden, depressing emotion affects the colour of the hair. Over-work and worry, and even indigestion, by depressing the health, take away from the colour and vitality of the hair, causing the natural pigment to fade.
In many cases, also, some local condition, such as dandruff, is the real cause of the trouble, and the scalp should always be carefully examined, and any unhealthy condition treated at once. One sign that the hair is losing its vitality and colour is an unnatural dryness, the hair appears to become brittle and to split. Under such circumstances massage with a little olive oil, by nourishing the hair-bulbs, may prevent the hair turning grey.
Anaemia is a very common cause of premature greyness, the loss of colour being due to the poorly nourished condition of the scalp, with impoverished blood. In such cases a course of iron tonics will probably arrest the condition altogether, especially if a little bril-liantine or olive oil is used to counteract any dryness.
"Growing Pains" in children should never be neglected, as their presence suggests a rheumatic condition which, if untreated, may be the cause of serious heart disease. The subject was considered under the article on Children's Rheumatism (Page 510, Vol. L, Every Woman's Encyclopaedia). In most cases the wisest plan is to put the child to bed, and give milk diet; and, when the pains are at all severe, certain medicines are necessary, which must be prescribed by a doctor. The pains are caused by a rheumatic poison irritating the joints and the insertions of the muscles, and it is this same poison which causes an inflammation of the delicate valves of the heart, thus crippling the child's health seriously in after life.
Glims (Tender). Tenderness or sponginess of the gums is sometimes present in acute fevers, and it is a very marked feature of scurvy, a mild form of which may be caused by improper diet. An insufficient amount of fresh food, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, sometimes causes a scorbutic tendency in young children with tenderness of the gums and general debility. Attention to diet and the provision of plenty of fresh milk is called for.
When tenderness of the gums is due to defective teeth, these should be attended to at once. Tincture of myrrh and hot water, in the strength of a teaspoonful to half a pint, makes an excellent mouth wash for tender gums.
Habit Spasms. Amongst young children, certain spasmodic movements of the muscles of the face or limbs are fairly common. The child has a habit of twitching his eyelids and making peculiar grimaces or spasmodic movements of the arms. Perhaps the head is shaken, or the shoulders abruptly shrugged, and the spasm is repeated at regular intervals, and appears under any excitement or emotion. In nearly every case the child's general health is not very good. He may be out of sorts or growing too quickly, and sometimes there is a history of nervousness in the family. Under no circumstances should the child be nagged at, or constantly reproved and found fault with, as this simply increases his nervousness, and the habit becomes more marked. The best thing for such a child is to give him plenty of outdoor life, with simple diet and. regular sleep. Heavy lessons should not be permitted, and every effort must be made to get the child into a good state of health. Rhythmical physical culture exercises, such as have been described under the nursery section of the " Medical Book," will do a great deal to counteract these spasmodic muscular movements.
Habit spasms are often associated with adenoids, so that in every case the nose should be examined for any vegetation growths, which must, of course, be removed. Another common cause of spasms is eye defect, and sometimes the provision of glasses, to correct the error of refraction, is all that is necessary.
The glasses should in every case be prescribed by an oculist.
The stress of examination work will in all cases accentuate any habit spasms, and it is far better not to allow these children to overtax their brains by severe school work and competitive examinations. A quiet life, free from abnormal excitement, with a prolonged stay in the country, will have a wonderfully beneficial effect upon any bad cases. It is never wise to leave a child to "grow out" of any habit spasm without extra care and treatment, because the presence of any such condition indicates that the nervous and physical health is below par. A course of cod-liver oil should be given if the child shows such evidences of poor nutrition as excessive thinness, pallor, or lassitude. Simple, nourishing food is, of course, important
Hay-fever is a catarrh of the nose and eyes which comes on in summer or autumn. Certain people seem to be peculiarly susceptible to hay-fever, which is said to be due to the irritation of the mucous membrane of the nose and eyes by the pollen of flowers. The affection very often appears during the haymaking season, year after year. Those who suffer from hay-fever say that they cannot go within any distance of a hay-field without contracting this catarrhal affection, which is sometimes of a very depressing type. It may be ushered in by sneezing, which is followed by running of the eyes and nose, and all the symptoms of cold in the head. Sufferers from hay-fever try all sorts of things to prevent an attack. Quinine and iron are said to cut short an attack, and hay-fever may often be prevented by smearing the inside of the nostrils with carbolised vaseline or zinc ointment, which prevents the irritating pollen reaching the mucous membrane.
In cases of long-standing hay-fever the lining membrane of the nose seems to become affected, and cauterisation of the nose and respiratory passages will help the condition and may prevent further attacks. Douching with hot water at the beginning of an attack often cuts it short.