The Symptoms of False Dropsy Of The Brain

Child restless, peevish, feverish; sighing, moaning, screaming during sleep; a sharp cry upon being touched; bowels loose, discharges green and offensive; husky cough; eyes wandering; stupor; pulse and respiration feeble.

The principal cause and characteristic of this disease is debility from want of proper food or any other debilitating cause. There is no inflammation, although the symptoms closely resemble those of tubercular meningitis. A very common cause of the disease is leeching and blistering the head for inflammation of the brain, by which the opposite condition is produced. It frequently occurs in exhausting diseases, as cholera infantum, typhoid fever, long-continued indigestion, etc.

The Treatment of False Dropsy Of The Brain

The opposite treatment is required in this disease from that necessary in inflammation of the brain. Cold, and other depressing agents, should be carefully avoided.

It is very important that the mistake should not be made of treating this disease for inflammation of the brain, as very opposite remedies are required. The best means of distinguishing between this disease and acute dropsy of the brain is the depression of the fontanel present in false dropsy, while the fontanel is bulging in the graver affection. Warmth should be applied to the body, and occasionally to the head. Hot baths to the extremities, however, are not indicated, as they would diminish the. amount of blood in the brain, which is already too little. Rubbing the back of the neck with a sponge dipped in ice water, or a piece of ice inclosed in thin muslin, may be employed three or four times a day with advantage. The patient should be kept in a horizontal position, preferably with the head lower than the feet. One of the most important measures of treatment is proper diet The child should be fed with beef tea, well boiled oatmeal gruel, egg beaten with milk, chicken broth, etc. In case the digestion is very feeble, and the debility great, the white of an egg dissolved in a glass of water may be used to advantage. In some cases, some improvement seems to take place from the addition of a few drops of brandy to the egg and water. Food should be given in small quantities and at short intervals. As the strength is increased, the quantity of food and length of the intervals should be increased. In many cases, nutritive enemas may be employed with advantage. The offensive character of the discharges can generally be made to disappear by the addition of a little lime-water to the food. A teaspoonful of lime-water with a couple of teaspoonsful of milk may be given with advantage each time the child eats.