This section is from "Every Woman's Encyclopaedia". Also available from Amazon: Every Woman's Encyclopaedia.
Continued front page 2188, Part 18
Liver, Diseases of the. The liver is affected in various diseases - for example, heart disease, It is, moreover, subject to inflammation from sxcessive use of alcohol, and in tropical climates may be attacked by various poisons.
" Liver complaint," however, is the only affection of the liver which can be considered under domestic medicine, and it is a term used to describe a group of symptoms which are generally associated with digestive derangement. The chief symptoms are a sense of weight or uneasiness in the right side, pain, which may shoot towards the shoulder, loss of appetite, irregularity of the bowels, sallowness, debility, and sometimes loss of weight. There is tenderness on pressing below the ribs of the right side, and the patient will declare that he is subject to "liver attacks" at intervals. In the majority of cases, the condition is almost entirely due to derangement of the digestive canal. A habit of eating heavy meals, too little exercise, the consumption of a considerable quantity of alcohol, and a general unhygienic mode of life are all contributory causes. Over-eating, in itself, especially if associated with the drinking of wines, will cause derangement of the stomach and liver and regular disturbances of these organs. When a sedentary life operates as well, the marvel is, not that so many people suffer, but that so many escape.
A periodic headache, sickness, pain, and discomfort are Nature's method of pointing out that the liver is being overworked, and is unable to dispose of the food that is being taken into the body. One of the chief functions of this organ is to secrete bile, which passes into the intestine to digest the fats. The eating of large meals of rich food, with an excessive amount of fat, compels the liver to secrete more and more bile, if it is to successfully dispose of the fat consumed. Now, anyone in good general health, taking outdoor exercise, and doing a considerable amount of physical work, may not suffer from inconvenience. If, however, the health is run down, or a person is exposed to excessive chill and fatigue, the overworked liver is the first to suffer, and a "liver attack" is brought on.
Under such circumstances, the right course is a little judicious starvation, following upon a purgative to get rid of any irritant in the digestive canal. The purgative in itself will relieve the headache and sickness, by carrying away the toxins, or poisons, whilst temporary starvation gives the liver a chance to recover. For a day or two, nothing but milk and soda-water or the very lightest nursery diet should be taken. The wise person realises from this first warning that he has been overworking his digestive apparatus, and eats less and simpler food in future. The foolish go on as before, with the result that liver attacks are periodic, and the whole health is undermined. Simple diet, three meals in the day, very little alcohol, and plenty of outdoor exercise will cure most liver troubles.
Lumbago is a variety of muscular rheumatism, where the pain and stiffness are situated in the muscles of the back. It may follow upon a chill, especially after prolonged physical exertion and perspiration, or it may be caused by straining the muscles by lifting heavy weights. It is said to be more likely to occur in damp weather, and there is no doubt that those who have a tendency to lumbago have the condition affected by diet. The pain, as a rule, comes on very suddenly in the small of the back, and the part is extremely tender. Any movement increases the pain, and in severe cases there may be such symptoms as loss of appetite and dyspepsia, with even some slight degree of fever. In other cases there may only be local pain and tenderness. The pain may take the form of a dull ache, or it may be of the more acute and intense form. As a rule, lumbago lasts for a few days, but it may be prolonged for several weeks. Rest is the most important measure in the treatment. Hot fomentations and poultices are soothing. A Turkish bath will often cut short an attack in the early stage, and dry heat, in the form of bags of hot bran, hot-water bottles, or hot flannels, is very useful, and massage also will soothe the pain. Various liniments can be applied to the muscles, which generally give relief. The diet, of course, must be very simple, during the acute stages, at any rate, so as not to overload the stomach and tax the digestion.
Lungs, Bleeding from the, may be caused by various conditions. It may occur in people who are perfectly healthy, and leave no ill traces. It may be due to tuberculosis or consumption of the lungs, and it occurs in other lung diseases and in various heart affections. As a rule, it comes on suddenly without warning. Blood from the lungs is distinguished from blood from the stomach by the fact that blood from the lungs is frothy and bright red, whilst blood coming up from the stomach is darker in colour, contains no air bubbles, and is generally mixed with food.
Treatment from the domestic point of view is merely temporary, and it is most important for people to know the first aid treatment for spitting of blood. The most important measure is absolute rest and quiet. When it can be procured, ice should be given to suck or sips of cold water. Brandy must never be given to the patient, and all medicines must be ordered by the doctor. Any nourishment given must be cold. Ice-bags or cold water dressings are sometimes applied to the chest, but they should not be on for more than fifteen minutes at a time in one place, and it is most important to get a doctor as early as possible to take charge of the case.
Malaria, or Ague. Malaria is very prevalent in certain countries, and in districts where the soil is marshy and covered with stretches of water. It is said to occur still in some parts of England, but it is chiefly prevalent in uncultivated, undraincd districts in Africa, South America, and Asia.
The cause of the fever is a parasite in the blood, introduced into the system by the bite of a mosquito. The disease is characterised by three definite stages :
First, a cold stage, in which the patient shivers. This lasts for an hour or so. Then the second, or hot stage, when the temperature rises to 1030, 1040, or 1050, lasting three or four hours, followed by the third or sweating stage, when profuse perspiration takes place for an hour or two.
Its paroxysms may occur daily or every second day or every third day. Various complications may occur, and people who have been in malarial districts complain that the malaria attacks recur for years after they have returned to a healthy climate. Quinine is not only a "cure" for the disease, but a preventive, if it is taken in two or three-grain doses two or three times a day by anyone in a malarial district, and therefore liable to infection.
Measles is an infectious fever, associated with catarrh of the respiratory passages and a characteristic rash. The symptoms appear perhaps ten days after infection, and at first they resemble an ordinary severe cold in the head. The child sneezes and coughs, there is running from the eyes and nose, and it is at this stage that the disease is most infectious, and epidemics occur because children are not isolated sufficiently early. The temperature rises on the first or second day to 1020 or 1030, and on the fourth day the rash comes out. It consists of red, flat pimples on the forehead and mottled or reddish-brown patches. The rash spreads oyer the face and neck, and in about twelve hours it begins to fade on the face and to spread over the body. The temperature, which falls after the first day or two, rises again when the rash comes out, and at this time symptoms of bronchitis often appear, and the catarrh increases. In ordinary uncomplicated cases of measles, the rash and temperature subside about the seventh or eighth day, and convalescence begins. Measles affect children particularly and almost entirely, although adults may take it for the first or second time. The poison spreads from one to another in the secretions from the nose and mouth and eyes. It is not a serious disease unless complications arise, although it is more dangerous the younger the child. The commonest complications are bronchitis and pneumonia, and consumption sometimes follows measles. Ear disease also may occur, and in delicate children eye complications sometimes appear.
Treatment has been fully considered under the "Home Nursing" sections, as it is very important (see page 1942, Vol. 3, Every Woman's Encyclopaedia), and many people are extremely careless in nursing measles, and imagine that the disease is a very slight, childish ailment, and not at all dangerous. This idea is quite wrong, as a great many children die of complications contracted, in-many cases, as a result of careless nursing and neglect in convalescence.
The child must immediately be put to bed and nursed according to the directions given in the article referred to above. A doctor should always be called in for measles, as for all other infectious ailments, so as to safeguard the child and advise as to isolation and protection of the other children from infection. Unfortunately, the early stages are the most infectious, and in all probability the child will have infected the rest of the family before the illness is diagnosed as measles. One of the chief reasons why mothers should study this infectious ailment carefully is in order to guard her children from contracting it. Any medicines must be ordered by the doctor. The child, of course, should be put to bed at once, and kept on light diet in a well-ventilated room. The treatment of bronchitis should be studied, as bronchial trouble nearly always accompanies measles, and neglect may lead to broncho-pneumonia. To be conitinued.