Hectic fever is remittent, dependent upon local irritation, and rarely, if ever, idiopathic. It is attended by great and increasing debility, a weak, quick pulse, hurried respiration on any exertion, and increased heat of the skin. The febrile exacerbations are preceded by a slight chill, are slight at first, but soon become more evident, especially in the evening. The skin is at first dry, and the increased heat is more evident in the hands and face. The fever terminates in a free, profuse perspiration. The bowels are at first costive, but soon become relaxed, and an exhausting diarrhoea comes on; the urine is various, generally it is pale, and does not deposit; while there is generally a pallor of the surface, the cheeks present what is aptly termed the "hectic blush."  As the disease advances, the whole frame becomes emaciated, the eyes sink in their orbits, but are brilliant and expressive; the ankles and legs sometimes swell, and the sleep is feverish and disturbed. Finally the debility becomes so great that the patient expires while making some slight exertion.

Hectic fever accompanies nearly all forms of disease connected with great debility, especially scrofula and consumption. It may also be met with in surgical practice in disease or injury of the joints.

TREATMENT. -- This depends much upon the cause or causes which give rise to it. If the digestive mucous membrane is diseased, the treatment consists in strict attention to diet, and in the administration of tonics, diaphoretics, and diuretics. The antiseptics should be given. Strychnine in doses of one-eighth of a grain is decidedly the best agent for this purpose. Cherry-laurel water should also be given. The fever is controlled, like other fevers, with veratrum. If associated with consumption, the "Acacian Balsam" (page 469) will cure it. Stimulants are very serviceable to counteract the debility. General diet and cleanliness are not to be neglected.