CONVULSIONS: There are few conditions that strike more terror into the heats of parents than to see their child in convulsions. Yet convulsions are not, of themselves, dangerous and it is a very uncommon thing for a child to die in convulsions.
Convulsions occur chiefly in infants and children with unstable and poorly adjusted nervous systems. Slight causes may bring on convulsions in some children. Undoubtedly these are the children that give us most of our cases of epilepsy. Most children never have convulsions, while others may have them at frequent intervals if their nervous systems are irritated from any cause.
Convulsions may occur during a high fever or at the beginning of any acute so-called infectious disease, but by far the greatest number of cases are due to digestive disturbances, due in most cases to over-feeding. Many cases result from the suppression of skin eruptions.
CARE OF THE PATIENT: The cause reveals the prevention and the remedy. Stop all foods and give no drugs. Put the child to bed, in front of an open window or door and let it alone. Don't disturb it. Keep the child warm.
Last year (1929) I visited a child that I was told was dying. When I reached it, from across the street, I found the child in convulsions. The mother was sitting in a chair, with the child in her arms, tossing it up and down and sobbing: "Oh! my poor child! Oh! my poor child!"
I took the child from her, laid it on a table, over which a folded quilt had been hastily spread, and placed it in the open door. Almost immediately the twitching movements began to cease, the eyes, thrown upward, soon returned to their normal position, the head which was thrown back, relaxed and the child began to look around. In fifteen minutes the child was asleep.
This child had been given a cup of coffee only an hour previously, the milk-man having delayed in delivering the milk. The poor ignorant mother who made her own breakfast on coffee, as so many other ignorant people do, gave this poisonous drug to the child also. I attribute the convulsions in this case to caffeine poisoning.