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.
Bronchitis, or inflammation of the membrane lining the air passages, may be, and often is, a very acute and dangerous disorder; the inflammation may be both intense and diffused. It may extend and occupy the whole surface of the membrane on one side of the chest, which is a serious matter, or it may involve the whole lining membrane of both lungs, when the case becomes one of danger. This is acute Bronchitis.
This complaint always originates from cold. The patient will be hot and feverish, and suffering greatly from oppression at the chest and shortness of breath, so much so, sometimes, that he is unable to lie down in bed; the face is flushed, and the patient frequently expresses a great dread of suffocation, and has a dry and difficult cough; after a time the inflamed surface begins to throw out mucus, which is expectorated in large quantities, is thick and viscid, sometimes frothy, and occasionally streaked with blood.
When the disease terminates favourablythe inflammation generally begins to abate somewhere between the fourth and the eighth day. But Acute Bronchitis may terminate unfavourably. When the inflam-ation is universal and intense, the fever high, and the difficulty of respiration great, with a painful sense of tightness and constriction about the chest,-if the symptoms do not yield to the treatment employed, or if judicious treatment has not been adopted, or has been delayed too long, signs of impending suffocation begin to show themselves: the lips, and cheeks, and tongue assume a purplish colour; a livid paleness takes the place of the former red flush; the expression becomes more and more anxious; delirium comes on, and rapid sinking. Profuse, cold, and clammy sweats ensue; and the patient dies from suffocation. His breathing is choked by the morbid secretion which occupies the bronchial tubes, small as well as large, and which he has not strength enough left to cough up.
If there be much fever, a hard pulse, and great oppression of the breathing, and particularly if the patient is a young and robust individual, it may be proper to take away blood; but as there is frequently great debility in the latter stages of the disease, we should be careful not to reduce the patient's strength too much at the commencement. It is best to take the blood from between the shoulders, by cupping, or by applying leeches to the chest; the number, that is the amount of blood to be abstracted, must depend upon the age and the state of the patient. After the leeching, a large blister may be placed on the chest, and after that is removed another may, if necessary, be placed between the shoulders.
The bowels may be cleared out with a dose of Calomel and Jalap; for a grown person, 5 grains of Calomel and 20 grains of Jalap; and less in proportion for younger ages. The following mixture may afterwards be taken:
Antimonial Wine................................One Ounce.
Sweet Spirit of Nitre...........................One Ounce.
Tincture of Henbane...........................Half an Ounce.
Syrup of Poppies................................One Ounce.
Oatmeal Gruel, sufficient to make a Pint.
Two tablespoonfuls may be taken every two hours.
If symptoms of debility and sinking have begun to show themselves, it will be necessary to give Wine and Brandy, and other stimulants. The Carbonate of Ammonia may be given in 5 or 6 grain doses, in Camphor mixture every four or six hours. Patients are sometimes kept awake at night by a troublesome cough which prevents their sleeping. Ten or fifteen grains of Bromide of Ammonia, will frequently give relief. The Hydrate of Chloral may also be taken to produce sleep, in doses of twenty grains.
The above doses are all intended for adults. For a child of five years old the dose of the Antimonial mixture would be a tea-spoonful; of the Ammonia, one grain; of the Bromide of Ammonia, two grains, and of the Chloral, two or three grains; and for other ages in proportion.
While the inflammatory symptoms run high the diet of the patient must be confined to Gruel, Arrow Root, Sago, Corn Starch, Corrageen Jelly, and things of that kind; but if the patient becomes low, his strength must be supported with Beef Tea, and other nourishing diet.