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 first attention should be given to the diet, which should be wholly unstimulating in character, consisting chiefly of farinaceous articles of food. Eggs and milk may also be allowed, and when the digestive organs are somewhat enfeebled, especially if the patient is troubled with acid or flatulent dyspepsia, fish and meat in moderate quantities need not be interdicted. Many patients suffering with emphysema are given great inconvenience by gas in the stomach and bowels. Such persons should avoid the use of vegetables, sweets of all kinds, tea and coffee, and all kinds of alcoholic drinks. Silk or woolen should be worn next to the skin. The patient should be careful to protect himself against changes of temperature, and should dress sufficiently warm to keep the skin active. The measures of treatment indicated are such as will increase the activity of the skin, as the pack, inunction, rubbing wet-sheet, hot-air bath, and Turkish bath. After each bath, especially in the cold season of the year, an inunction of purified cocoa-nut oil, vaseline, or some other unguent, should be employed to prevent taking cold. The patient should spend as much of his time in the open air as possible, engaging in gentle exercise.
For local treatment, no measure is of more value than the inhalation of hot vapor and the spray of hot water. When expectoration is excessively copious, inhalation of vapor of tar may be employed, or the patient may inhale the spray produced by the atomizer from weak solutions of lime or tannin. When the patient is troubled with a dry, harassing cough, relief will almost certainly be afforded by the inhalation of hot vapor. Daily fomentations should also be applied over the chest. These applications should be followed by sponging the chest with cold water to tone up the relaxed skin.
As an inactive condition of the liver is very common in this disease, it should receive such attention as has been already directed for that condition.
In some cases, it will be necessary to make a change of climate, although the benefits derived from this measure are not always as great as are supposed. Probably one of the greatest advances made in the treatment of emphysema, which is one of the most serious results of this affection, is what is known as the "Pneumatic" treatment. This mode of treatment has been elsewhere described. We have recently adopted this treatment for this class of cases, employing Waldenberg's apparatus, constructed for us by Reynders, of New York, and have observed good results. We have under treatment at present a number of patients suffering with the disease in different stages, for whom we hope to obtain a marked degree of benefit in due time by this mode of treatment.
The "grape cure" has been very strongly recommended for chronic bronchial catarrh, and has been employed very successfully, especially in cases in which there is a scanty and tenacious secretion expectorated by violent coughing. It is probable that in cases of this kind the cure is not due to any specific principle in the grape, but from the simple diet and the taking of large quantities of fluid.
Patients suffering with emphysema should exercise great care to avoid severe coughing, and should always restrict the tendency to cough as much as possible, as violent efforts increase the irritation and aggravate the difficulty. The employment of narcotics in allaying cough in the different forms of bronchitis is often productive of bad results. In the chronic form of the disease the patient soon becomes so dependent on the narcotic, the dose of which must be very rapidly increased, that before he is aware of it he finds himself in the unhappy position of an habitual opium-taker. The best authorities also deprecate the employment of expectorants.