This disease in its acute form requires prompt and energetic treatment, as it is frequently exceedingly dangerous, running its course with alarming rapidity. It has numbered among its victims many distinguished men, among the rest Washington. Taken at its commencement, it is generally easily relieved by skilful homoeopathic treatment. It is occasioned by inflammation of the parts composing the larynx, and particularly of the mucous membrane covering the laryngeal cartilage, including the epiglottis.
There is a sore throat, and on looking into it a redness of the fauces and uvula is perceptible, not enough however to account for the excessive restlessness and anxiety, and the great difficulty of deglutition. To the difficulty of deglution is shortly added great difficulty of breathing. The respiration is attended with a throttling noise, and the act of inspiration is protracted and wheezing, as if the air were drawn through a narrow tube. The distress seems to be situated in the vicinity of the Pomum Adami or Adam's apple. If there is cough, it is with a harsh, husky and abortive sound. The voice is hoarse or sinks to a scarcely perceptible whisper. The face is flushed, the skin hot and dry, the pulse hard. As the disease advances, the distress increases, the countenance becomes pale, or livid, anxious and ghastly; the eyes protrude, the restlessness is extreme, the difficulty of breathing becomes greater, there is a constant desire for air, and unless relieved, death by strangulation speedily ensues. This disease occurs in both sexes, and at all ages.
It is generally occasioned by exposure to cold, or to cold and dampness. It is sometimes produced by mechanical violence or chemical injury done to the larynx, and not unfrequently by children attempting to swallow boiling water from the spout of a tea-kettle.
The external application of the wet bandage is often advisable. The severity of this disease, and the rapidity with which it runs its progress, renders it highly important that, if possible, it should be treated by a skilful physician.
Two drops or twelve globules, in a tumbler of water, a tablespoonful every hour or two hours.
Spongia follows well after Aconite, and is indicated as soon as the breathing becomes shrill, and the pain and sensibility in the upper part of the windpipe becomes more decided. There is also an increase of hoarseness and difficulty of articulation.
Same as Aconite.
Hepar-s. may follow Spongia, when that remedy ceases to produce a good effect; or it may follow Aconite, when, notwithstanding the administration of that remedy, the febrile symptoms remain unabated. I have often found 8* it advisable to alternate Spongia and Hepar-s., one. or two hours apart.
A powder, or six globules, every one or two hours.
Proto-Iod., or Mercurius may be given, when the throat is highly inflamed and the glands swollen; should there be a secretion of viscid or ropy mucus, the Mercurius may be alternated with Kali-bichrom., a powder or six globules one hour apart Bromine will prove beneficial, where there is hoarseness, extreme sensitiveness of the throat, dry and harsh cough, sometimes almost suffocative. It may be given once in two or three hours.
Stibium is also a prominent remedy, where the symptoms commence with severity; hoarseness, dry, harsh, and ringing cough, sometimes almost suffocative. A powder may be given every hour.
Belladonna will likewise prove beneficial, where there are spasms in the throat, causing an inability to swallow liquids; the throat on looking into it presents a swollen and highly inflamed appearance.
Same as Aconite.
Same as in fevers.