This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
FIRST STAGE: Irritability of disposition; headache, shown by the child often putting hand to head; drowsiness; after the child is old enough to walk, dragging of one leg; little or no appetite; vomiting; constipation; fever; disturbed sleep; bowel discharges pale and offensive; tongue moist, red at tip and edges, furred in center; pulse quick and irregular; eyes sensitive to light; child sleeps with eyes partly open, grinds its teeth, often wakes in alarm; slight cough; pinched, haggard expression; sighing; yawning.
SECOND STAGE: Increased irritability; child wants to be let alone; delirium at night; pulse unnaturally slow; stupor; countenance frowning; head hot and fontanel pulsating; increased stupor; convulsions, which may leave paralysis; pupils large and motionless; eyes staring and sunken; pulse small and rapid; clammy sweats: labored breathing; purging; just before death, cessation of pain, purging, and difficult breathing, with apparent improvement.
This is a very insidious and deceptive disease. It begins very stealthily, and the second or third stage is frequently reached before the real nature of the affection is discovered. It is a very fatal malady. It generally occurs under five years of age. A symptom of some importance not mentioned above is the appearance of a reddish line remaining when the finger is drawn over the skin. This symptom is not a positive one, but should excite strong suspicion of the disease. In some cases, the patient dies very suddenly from a rapid accumulation of water in the brain, known as water-stroke. For these cases, there is no help. The symptoms differ more or less in all cases, ordinary cases continuing for from ten to twenty days.
The principal causes are depression of the vital powers, improper diet, especially encouraging precocity. Children early inclined to remarkable manifestations of intelligence and mental power, are more subject to this disease than others. There is a strong suspicion that the use of meat by children is a cause of this disease, it being a well known fact that the tubercles which are found in the membranes of the brain after death are highly nitrogenous in character.
The treatment should be, first, preventive, by avoidance of all known causes of disease in children whose temperament makes them subject to it. The disease is curable only in its first stage. The essential measure of treatment is the application of cold to the head and warmth to the extremities. Compresses wrung out of ice-cold water, frozen compresses, ice bags, and bags filled with iced water, are the best means of applying cold in these cases. The hair should be cut short so that the brain may be more thoroughly cooled. The patient should be kept in a dark and quiet room. The diet should be very plain, and no stimulants should be given. When one case of this kind has occurred in a family, especial pains should be taken to ward off the disease in the other children by proper precautionary measures.