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.
Interruption of breathing; fingers and toes rigidly contracted; patient struggles for breath; becomes black in the face; suffocation threatens; spasm generally ceases after a few seconds, patient drawing a long breath with a whistling or crowing sound.
This affection consists in a sudden contraction of the muscles which control the vocal cords, by means of which the narrow opening between the cords, called the glottis, is closed, preventing the entrance of air into the lungs. The disease occurs most frequently in children, particularly in infants nursed with a bottle and most frequently dur ing teething. Spasms may occur at intervals of a few hours, days, or weeks. The disease also occurs frequently in adults, especially hysterical females
To relieve the spasm, apply cold water to the head, face, and chest. Slap sharply the chest and back. Open the mouth of the patient and draw the tongue forward, having the thumb and finger protected by a handkerchief or thin towel. Putting the patient into a hot bath will sometimes give immediate relief. If these measures fail, apply artificial respiration as elsewhere directed. As patients suffering from this disease are likely to become more and more susceptible to it, it is important that such measures should be taken as will remove the liability to this alarming and not infrequently fatal affection. The principal measures for this purpose are proper attention to the diet, which should be very simple, abundance of exercise in the open air and sunshine, frequent bathing, etc. In teething children, it is often necessary to lance the gums. It should always be done when the gums are found tender and swollen.