The Bowels

The bowel passages of the infant should bo yellow in color, and at least three or four a day. The appearance of curds in the bowels indicates imperfect digestion, and if the difficulty is not corrected, will result in intestinal catarrh or inflammation.

General Symptoms

The whole surface of the body should be carefully examined. In health, the skin should be mottled, flesh firm, skin smooth and elastic, and not flabby. Any eruptions should be noticed; the anus, especially, should be carefully examined for soreness or eruptions. The arms and limbs should move freely. It should be remembered that chills seldom occur in young children; convulsions and delirium correspond to chills and headache in adults. Sleeplessness or disturbed sleep is a symptom which indicates some quite serious disturbance, as infants naturally sleep very soundly, and when healthy, spend eighteen to twenty hours out of the twenty-four in sleep. A restless, sleepless child will be badly nourished, and dwarfed in development.

The fontanel is the proper name for the so-called soft spot which is found upon the head of all young children. There are, in fact, two; one in the fore part of the head, and the other in the back part. The larger one, which is here referred to, is situated at the upper part of the forehead. It is familiar to all mothers. By observing the condition of this spot, much can be learned of the condition of the brain. As the bones have not yet joined over the small space, the soft tissues filling it rise and fall with the increase or decrease of blood in the brain. When the fontanel is very full, the brain is full of blood, and congested. When it is unnaturally depressed, it is in consequence of too little blood in the brain. The first condition exists in congestion of the brain, inflammation, or water on the brain. The second is found when the child is suffering from the effects of wasting disease. The fontanel constitutes an excellent means of distinguishing between true and false dropsy of the brain, being depressed in the latter disease, in consequence of the deficient blood supply to the brain, instead of being full and prominent as in true dropsy of the brain.

The temperature of the body is a very important symptom as a means of determining the amount of fever present. It can only be ascertained by means of a thermometer, with which every family ought to be supplied. The natural temperature is 98 1/2. In children, the temperature may fall slightly in the evening just before going to sleep, but a rise of temperature to 100 or upward indicates fever. The sudden rise of temperature to 104 or 105 indicates the onset of some severe fever, like scarlet fever, or pneumonia.