Domestic treatment consists in attending to the general health and dealing with any dyspepsia or constipation present. The patient should drink alkaline mineral waters, barley water, and liquid arrowroot, and meat should be reduced to a minimum amount, especially in the case of children. The pain can only be dealt with domestically by hot poultices or fomentations over the back and the abdomen.
Stye. A stye is a minute boil at the root of an eyelash which causes swelling, redness, heat, and even pain. Styes are most likely to affect people who are run down in general health, and are often associated with weak sight and eye strain caused by an error of refraction, when glasses will cure the condition.
Local treatment consists in bathing the eyes with hot boracic lotion made by adding a dessertspoonful of boracic acid powder to a pint of hot water. Little sponges of cotton-wool should be used to bathe the eye, and these must afterwards be burned. When suppuration has occurred, removal of the eyelash forming the centre of the boil or abscess will allow the matter to escape, and the eye should be bathed regularly until the inflammation subsides. A fomentation can be made by folding a soft handkerchief into a square, wringing it out of hot boracic lotion and applying it to the eye. It can be covered with a piece of gutta-percha tissue or flannel. Cold compresses or fomentations applied to the eye in the early stage will prevent the stye from forming. Children or adults who suffer from styes should live under hygienic conditions, breathe pure air, sleep in well-ventilated bedrooms, and have good nourishing food with outdoor exercise. Any straining of the eyes must be avoided, and if styes persist in spite of this simple treatment an oculist should be consulted in order to have any error of refraction corrected.
Sunburn. Ordinary sunburn or bronzing of the skin by the sun is a normal condition requiring no treatment. Under certain climatic conditions, or in the case of people who are unusually sensitive to light and heat, the skin may become acutely inflamed and burned. In most cases this passes off, but it may be accompanied by the formation of blisters and peeling of the skin which is extremely unsightly, and in the case of women may cause a good deal of discomfort and annoyance. In such cases the skin should be smeared on coming indoors with a mixture consisting of one tea-spoonful of zinc oxide powder to an ounce of vaseline. This soothes the skin and cuts short the inflammatory process. It is important to avoid applying vaseline to the skin before going out into the sun, and to carry some sort of sunshade and wear a broad-brimmed hat, so as to expose the skin no more than is necessary.
Sunstroke is due to the action of the sun's rays upon the brain and spinal cord. It may occur in one or two different forms.
Treatment consists in laying the patient flat and slightly raising the feet. A little stimulant, such as brandy or whisky and water should be given by the mouth to stimulate the heart, and heat should be applied to the legs and feet, whilst a hot-water bag over the stomach and heart are also helps to stimulate the circulation.
Sometimes, however, sunstroke may take the form of a sudden attack of unconsciousness, with twitchings, or even convulsions, or it may consist in a so-called feverish attack which lasts several days, and the temperature may be as high as 1080. Cold applications must be applied to the head and neck, and the patient frequently bathed with cold water to reduce the temperature. A doctor should be in charge of any serious case of sunstroke, and he will give full directions as to cold-water baths, which must be carefully carried out by the nurse.
Tape worm. (See Parasites.)
Tetanus (commonly called Lock-jaw). Tetanus is a serious disease caused by the intio-duction of the tetanus bacillus microbe into a scratch or wound. This microbe is chiefly found in dust and in soil which has a good deal of manure in it. Children who run about barefooted, gardeners, labourers, and others who are working on the soil are most likely to contract the disease. There is a popular idea that those who get a wound between the thumb and the first finger are most likely to contract lock-jaw, but this is quite erroneous.
The disease is called lock-jaw because of the rigidity of the muscles about the throat and jaws which comes on early in the disease and spreads to the other muscles. The patient suffers from a cramp-like pain, and may show various spasms of the face and other muscles. The chief danger lies in the spasms spreading to the muscles of respiration. A doctor must be summoned immediately, and the patient should be put to bed in a quiet, dark room and given no food until the doctor arrives. Any wound will have to be cauterised with pure carbolic acid, and the doctor will give various nerve sedatives and probably chloroform during convulsions. The anti-toxic treatment which has been used recently is useful if it can be given in the very early stages of the disease.