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.
The disease is generally quite easy to manage if taken in time and treated vigorously. In the treatment of cases of epidemic dysentery the first thing to look after is the prevention of the extension of the disease to those not yet affected by it This may best be done by thoroughly disinfecting the discharges of the patient by chlorate of lime, or permanganate of potash, and requiring the observance of careful dietetic rules. All kinds of food which occasion constipation of the bowels, such as fine-flour bread, potatoes and other starchy vegetables, and, in some cases, milk, must be avoided alto gether. At the beginning of the disease, where there is evidence of the presence of undigested food in the stomach, the stomach should be relieved by the use of a large warm-water emetic. The quantity of food should be restricted to the smallest amount compatible with comfort. Ripe fruits, especially grapes, and most stewed fruits, may be used in abundance to keep the bowels regular. Salads, spices, and other condiments, fats, fried foods, and large quantities of meat, should be strictly avoided, together with tea, coffee, and all other stimulants and narcotics.
The patient should remain quiet, preferably in bed, although he feels able to go about the room. He should be carefully protected from changes of temperature. The diet should consist chiefly of simple soups, well-boiled oatmeal gruel, egg beaten up with water or a little milk, and similar foods. No cold foods should be taken. In many cases, regulation of the diet is sufficient. Care respecting the diet should be exercised over the patient not only during sickness but in convalescence, the patient being confined to the simplest articles of food and required to abstain from the use of meat until health is fully restored. Colicky pains in the bowels should be treated by means of fomentations. They should be applied as often as possible. Ice-cold compresses are also recommended. This is a useful remedy, but more are benefited by the use of hot applications than by cold. Either the hot or the cold enema may be employed as recommended for diarrhea. Both plans are successful. In the children's hospital in Vienna, injections of iced water into the rectum is a favorite remedy.
The use of opium, which is exceedingly common in this disease, is not advisable, as it produces a feverish condition of the system, decidedly prejudicial to recovery. Herrvner, an eminent German physician, very strongly discourages the use of opium in this disease. If the other treatment is applied thoroughly, it will rarely be thought necessary.
In mild cases, the wet abdominal bandage, sometimes called Neptune's girdle, is all that is necessary to relieve the abdominal pain and check the disease process. In cases in which absolute rest is not demanded, the shallow, cool sitz bath may be used with great advantage several times a day.