There are several varieties of this disease; the chronic acute, and that which occurs in infancy. It may continue from a few days to several weeks, but generally terminates favorably, except it may have arisen from abuse of Mercury, or in infancy, where it may have continued for some time, and there is present a dark brass color of the skin, distended abdomen, spasms, sopor putrid vomiting, stomach hot and painful, when it usually terminates fatally.

Diagnosis

There is a suppressed or limited secretion of bile in the liver, and consequently as we have explained in the chapter on physiology, there is a yellow color of the skin, and the eyes even having a yellow tinge, and the linen stained yellow from the perspiration; there is sometimes an appearance of bile in the urine. The taste is frequently bitter, with inclination to vomit or vomiting of mucous or bilious substance, the abdomen distended; sometimes pain in the region of the liver, a scanty white, grey or clayey stool. If there is fever, the chilliness is of short duration, and the fever has distinct remissions in the morning.

The disease may be occasioned by errors in diet, by taking cold when the skin is covered with perspiration, by drinking freely of cold water, or using ice, when the body is heated, by abuse of China, cathartics, mercurial and sulphur ointment, and from intermittent fevers. It sometimes becomes an epidemic disease when a hot atmosphere is suddenly cooled by a thunder-storm.

Treatment

The wet bandage, (See Wet Sheet) around the body, over the stomach and liver, as well as general bathing, will be found of advantage. The patient should be kept in a warm and even temperature, and perspiration encouraged as much as possible.

China * will be useful where there has been abuse of Mercury, and where there is pressure at the stomach, distension of the abdomen, vomiting, diarrhoea, and great debility.

Mercurius is indicated after abuse of China, and in tuberculous individuals, when asthmatic symptoms, pain-fulness of the liver, rheumatic pains in the muscles of the chest are present It is generally best to give it in the commencement of the disease, a dose morning, noon and night.

Sulphur

When occasioned by suppression of eruption, and in tuberculous and psoric individuals, after abuse of Mercury.

Iodine

There is a dingy yellow skin, irritable temper, thick coating of the tongue, thirst, turns of nausea, white diarrhoeic stools alternating with constipation, dark, yellow-green, corrosive urine. It is also indicated after abuse of Mercury.

Chamomilla - When occasioned by cold, chagrin, anger or when the body is sensitive to the open air, with sleeplessness, restlessness during sleep, distention of the abdomen, discharge of undigested food.

Digitalis

Particularly indicated when the whole skin is yellow; there is loathing, empty retching, sensitiveness and pressure in the stomach and region of the liver, distension of the abdomen, sluggish, grey, clayey or chalky stools, turbid, yellow-brown urine.

Pulsatilla

After abuse of China, Chamomilla or Sulphur, and from overloaded stomach. Frightful dreams, nocturnal anguish, sad, whining mood, bitter eructations, or sour, or bilious vomiting, throbbing in the pit of the stomach, difficult stool with straining.

* For general directions as to the administration of remedies, see page 12.

Nux-Vom

when occasioned by chagrin and anger, by abuse of spirits, coffee, tobacco, opium, &c; or by sudden change of temperature, in individuals with irritable, melancholy, hysteric disposition, or who are very sensitive to the open air.

Administration

Two drops of the tincture, or twelve globules in a tumbler of water, a tablespoonful at a dose; or three globules or a powder on the tongue; in severe cases give every three or four hours, according to symptoms. In slow chronic cases, a dose morning and night will generally be sufficient.

Diet

Food easy of digestion, fruits, farinaceous articles, etc. Meats, plainly cooked, may be used judiciously, in the more chronic forms of the disease.