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 most important measures of treatment are those which will prevent the occurrence of the disease. Among these may be mentioned particularly, bathing of the neck and throat with cold water two or three times a day, especially in the months of the year in which the disease is most likely to occur. Careful attention should also be given to the clothing; particularly for the limbs. If the feet become wet by exposure they should be quickly dried and warmed. It is also important that the diet should be carefully regulated. Condiments and spirituous liquors, as well as fats, sugar, pastry, sweetmeats, preserves, etc., should be carefully avoided, as they have a marked tendency to produce a predisposition to this disease by clogging the liver and deranging the digestive organs. It is also important to call attention to the mistake often made by patients who fear this disease, of protecting themselves too carefully. Over protection is as serious an error as deficient protection. The persons most liable to the disease are those who shut themselves up in-doors most carefully. Wearing thick furs or other clothing about the neck in cold weather is a very injurious practice, as it causes perspiration and relaxation of the skin of that part, which makes it in the highest degree susceptible to changes of temperature. The neck should be gradually accustomed to cold temperatures, just as are the hands and face, and should be protected only when absolutely necessary. In acute cases, loud or long continued talking or laughing should be forbidden. In some cases, absolute silence must be enforced. The patient should be urged to resist the tendency to cough as much as possible. In the majority of cases it will be found that coughing can be controlled by an effort of the will if the patient has sufficient force of character. Coughing increases the irritation without doing any particular good. The throat can generally be cleared by a slight effort without the prolonged hacking cough in which many patients indulge. No matter if the patient declares that he cannot help coughing, it must be insisted upon that he shall abstain from doing so.
Where the disease is the result of taking cold, the patient should be subjected to such measures of treatment as will secure thorough sweating. The patient may be given a sweating pack, vapor bath, hot-air bath, Turkish or Russian bath. To encourage perspiration, teas of various sorts may be given. Tea made of elder-blossoms is in considerable repute for this purpose; but it is probably not superior to warm water. Fomentations should be applied to the throat, and the patient may also inhale the vapor of water as hot as it can be borne. The most convenient apparatus for this purpose is the form of inhaler we have devised for such cases and used quite extensively in diseases of the larynx, shown in Figs. 273, 274. Alternate hot and cold applications to the throat are also beneficial. Mustard plasters and stimulating poultices are sometimes used, but we have never found them necessary. The diet of the patient should be carefully regulated. He should avoid butter, pastry, fat meats, etc. He should also abstain from the use of sugar and sweetmeats of any kind. The more closely he restricts himself to a diet of grains and fruits, preferably those of an acid character, the more favorable opportunity he has for making a good recovery.
In a chronic case of laryngitis, it is necessary for the patient to give the most scrupulous attention to his diet for a long time. In the majority of cases it will also be necessary to treat the patient for functional diseases of the liver and stomach, which almost always accompany diseases of the larynx. Sometimes change of climate is necessary, but we believe that the majority of cases can be cured by a careful regulation of the regimen. Tonic measures should be adopted for the improvement of the general health, such as the application of electricity, massage, and inunctions, together with such baths as will secure activity of the skin, applied not so frequently as to produce any degree of prostration. Local treatment by means of the inhaling apparatus is invaluable in catarrh of the larynx as well as pharyngeal catarrh. For vapor inhalation, nothing is better than tincture of gum benzoin, in the proportion of ten drops to the ounce of water. We have used this remedy a great deal in cases of this kind, and have found that good results were obtained from its use, though we have never been able to ascertain with certainty that any better effects were obtained when the drug was used than when the patient was treated with pure steam. Atomized fluids are of real value in these cases, the best solutions for inhalations being common salt in the proportion of ten to twenty grains to the ounce of water, and alum in the proportion of five to ten grains to the ounce.
To allay the paroxysms of coughing and difficulty of breathing which not infrequently occur in both the acute and chronic form of the disease, the best of all remedies is the application of a sponge dipped in hot water to the throat, repeated until the skin is considerably reddened. The patient should be allowed to drink freely of hot water or hot lemonade at the same time. In cases of children suffering from the disease, the drinking of an abundance of liquid is particularly important. The child should be prevented from sleeping soundly, and should be frequently awakened and made to drink freely of warm or hot water. The use of hot drinks or hot water applied by a sponge is very strongly recommended by Niemeyer for this class of cases.
It is very important that the treatment of this disease should be prompt and energetic, and it should be unremitting until a cure is effected, since when neglected it very often leads to consumption of the throat or tubercular laryngitis.