Convulsions may attack infants and children of all ages, and are almost always attended with more or less danger.

The causes are numerous. They may be the result of feebleness on the part of parents; marrying at too early or too advanced an age. Where the mother has been subject to a great shock, or fright, or strong mental emotion before the birth of her child, the child will be very liable to have convulsions soon after its birth. Protracted and difficult labor may also cause convulsions in the child.

They may also be occasioned by shame, anger, or fright; by tight bandaging, excessive mental emotion, a loud noise, sudden exposure to a bright light, hot, impure air, or severe cold. Want of proper ventilation is a fruitful cause of convulsions. During the first year of life they may be traced to the milk of the mother disagreeing with the infant. Cases are by no means rare where fright, passion, or suffering on the part of the mother gives rise to such a change in her milk as to produce convulsions, if the child is permitted to nurse, while the mother is under the influence of these causes. As the child grows older, they may be occasioned by dentition, suppressed eruption, a bruise on the head, etc. They also frequently set in, in connection with some serious disease, as inflammation of the brain, or tubercles on the brain, and in fact with nearly all the serious diseases to which a child is subject.

Treatment

The appearance of the child during the spasm or convulsion is often so frightful as to alarm the friends to such a degree that they are, entirely unfit for action. This is wrong, for we certainly can do no good by giving way to excitement, while if we control our own feelings, and are prompt and decided in our treatmerit, we may frequently be the means of saving the life of the child.

The child should immediately be placed in a warm bath and left there five or ten minutes, or until the severity of the paroxysm is broken. It should then be taken out and wrapped in a warm dry flannel. If the spasms still continue, or are only partially relieved, immerse the feet and legs in water as warm as it can be borne, at the same time pouring a stream of cold water on the head, from a distance of two or three feet. This process should be frequently repeated, if necessary.

The first inquiry should be, the cause of the convulsion. If the gums are red and swollen, and the attack evidently arises from dentition, with a sharp pen-knife they should be cut, applying the knife to the top of the gum and cutting down, until the teeth are reached. If occasioned by costiveness or irritating substance in the stomach or bowels, give immediately an injection of tepid water, sweetened with molasses.

Chamomilla is indicated particularly when the convulsions have been excited by teething, a chill or a fit of passion or vexation; there is restlessness, disposition to drowsiness when awake, moaning, loss of consciousness, twitches of the eyelids and muscles of the face, jerks and convulsions of the limbs, with clenched thumbs, rolling of the head from side to side.

Belladonna

Particularly where connected with disturbance in the brain and derangement of the nervous system; there are sudden starts, dilated pupils, rigidity of differents parts of the body, clenching of the hands, forehead and hands dry and burning.

Ignatia

Especially during teething, and in pale and delicate infants, where the fit returns at regular hours, and is followed by fever and perspiration; convulsive starts, tremor of the whole body, attended with violent crying and agonizing shrieks; muscles of single limbs are convulsed.

Ipecac

When occasioned by undigested food or an overloaded stomach; there is nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea; constant inclination to remain in a recumbent posture; convulsions are preceded or accompanied by spasmodic twitchings.

Nux-V

When occasioned by a fit of anger, indigestion or constipation ; there are convulsive jerkings of the limbs and tossings backward of the head.

Cina

When the attacks are produced by worms.

Opium

Where the fits are the result of a fright, and are accompanied with flushed face, snoring breathing, and at length entire insensibility.

Stramonium

Where the attack is produced by sudden fright; the convulsions are sudden and violent; the attacks are renewed by luminous objects, such as a mirror or candle, and are sometimes accompanied with involuntary discharges of faeces and urine.

Hyosciamus

Convulsions from fright. Twitching of the muscles of the face, foaming at the mouth, and great wildness.

Administration

One drop of the tincture, or ten globules, may be mixed with a tumbler half-full of water, and a teasponful, or a few drops, given at a dose; or three globules may be placed on the tongue. The remedy may be given during the paroxysm, every ten or twelve minutes, gradually increasing the intervals to one hour.