This section is from the book "Smith's Family Physician", by William Henry Smith. See also: Natural Physician's Healing Therapies: Proven Remedies that Medical Doctors Don't Know.
After the cathartics, and for the purpose of abating the fever, the following mixture may be given:
Citric Acid..................................Three Drams.
Ipecacuanha Wine........................One Dram,
Sweet Spirit of Nitre.....................Six Drams.
Syrup........,...............................Half an Ounce.
Water, sufficient to make...............Half a Pint.
A tablespoonful to be taken every two or three hours. Or, the following may be taken in the same way:
Solution of Acetate of Ammonia......One Ounce.
Sweet Spirit of Nitre....................One Ounce.
Tincture of Henbane.....................Two Drams.
Syrup........................................Half an Ounce.
Water, sufficient to make...............Half a Pint.
In all cases of bilious remittent fever attended by a hot and dry skin, the application of cold to the skin, either by sponging it with cold water, or cold water and vinegar, will have the effect, while it reduces the morbidly increased temperature, of relaxing the skin, and promoting perspiration, and in this manner shortening the exacerbations, and inducing a complete intermission: even the exposing the body to a current of air, by throwing off the clothing and opening the doors and windows of the patient's room, will in most cases be productive of the most beneficial effects. The mere immersion of the hands and arms in cold water, by carrying off a portion of the heat, and allaying thirst and restlessness, will be found grateful to the patient, who not unfrequently will fall immediately afterwards into a refreshing sleep. When the local determination is to the brain, indicated by the headache, flushed face, red eye, delirium, etc., with a full hard, bounding pulse; the patient, being seated in a convenient receptacle, a large stream of cold water may be poured over his head and naked body from some elevation, and continued until he becomes pale, or his pulse loses its fulness, or he begins to shiver; he should then be dried, and placed in bed, with just so much covering as he feels to be comfortable, the chamber being at the same time fully and freely ventilated; or, without removing the patient from the bed, he may be supported in a leaning posture over its edge, and the cold water poured from a pitcher over his head.
The application of cold water to the surface is only proper when the temperature of the latter is considerably increased over the whole body, and at the same time the surface is perfectly dry. When the skin is cool or covered with moisture, the use of cold water is not admissible; and it is also of doubtful propriety when there exists a decided tendency to congestion or inflammation of the lungs, or in cases attended with diarrhoea. Its repetition is forbidden when it has occasioned a protracted chill or rigor; or when the patient continues to feel cold or uncomfortable after its use. Equally important with the external employment of cold water, is its use internally: allowing the patient to drink freely of cold or even iced water, or iced lemonade, is not only highly grateful to him, but it tends to diminish the morbid excitement, relax the skin, and promote a free and uniform perspiration.
In many cases of bilious fevers there is so great a degree of irritability of stomach, that not only is every thing taken into it rejected as soon as swallowed, but the patient is tormented with constant vomiting, or frequent ineffectual attempts to vomit. When this is the case, Effervescing Draughts composed of ten grains of Bicarbonate of soda and eight grains of Tartaric Acid in a wineglass-ful of water, to be taken while effervescing, will be found most effectual in stopping the sickness: they may be taken every twenty minutes or half hour.
While the fever lasts, the diet must be light and unstimulating, gruel, sago, corn starch, milk, etc., and, as he approaches convalescence, chicken broth and beef tea may be added.
The chamber of the patient should be kept perfectly clean and cool, and, while a free ventilation of air is kept up, it should be guarded from any glare of light. His body should be lightly covered with bed-clothes, which, together with his linen, should be frequently changed. At all times the patient should be kept perfectly clean and quiet. If he is restless at night ten or fifteen grains of Bromide of Potash may be taken at bedtime.
When the disease is perfectly subdued, and nothing but weakness remains, the patient, in addition to nourishing food, may take some of the Tonics recommended in this work: some of the bitter Tinctures or Infusions; or the Citrate of Iron and Quinine.
In the Congestive form of bilious fever, we must rouse the nervous energies of the system, and relieve as quickly as possible the central organs from their state of congestion, and restore to the skin its healthy action. We must therefore apply heat to the surface by means of the warm or hot bath, the vapor bath; or by bags of heated bran, salt, or sand, bottles of hot water, etc. A hot bath will soon produce a wonderfully beneficial effect on the. patient. On coming out of the bath he must be rubbed dry with warm flannels, put into a well-aired bed between blankets, and supplied with some mild diaphoretic drink such as the warm infusion of Serpentary Root. This may be made by pouring two pints of boiling water on an ounce of bruised Serpentary Boot, letting it stand for two hours, and then straining it off for use.
Ten grains of Dover's Powder or ten or fifteen grains of Bromide of Potash may be given at bedtime.
As soon as reaction takes place, the use of quinine should be commenced with, in large doses, repeated at short intervals. Of the curative powers of quinine in this form of fever, we have the fullest and most unquestionable testimony. Many of the physicians of the southern and western portions of the United States, place their chief reliance, in Congestive Remittent Fever, upon the Sulphate of Quinine.