This section is from the book "Hartmann's Theory Acute Diseases And Their Homoeopathic Treatment", by Charles J. Hempel. Also available from Amazon: Theory of acute diseases, and their homoeopathic treatment.
Children in whom the irritation consequent upon dentition, continues for a long time, and who lose strength or flesh in consequence of it, are relieved by a few doses of Calc. carb., which ought to be given at tolerably long intervals; this remedy is generally sufficient to remove all the troublesome symptoms accompanying teething without any other remedy being required afterwards.
Teething is sometimes accompanied with a febrile condition, appearing and disappearing at intervals, and constituting a sort of synochal fever, the paroxysms of which recur every day. This is the real fever of dentition, and deserves especial consideration when it occurs in plethoric, fleshy children, in whom it inclines to become a local affection. This fever is treated as every other affection, except that the successful treatment of that fever requires the utmost regard to the irritability etc. of the patient, which is uncommonly increased at that period of life. All the diseases which occur during the period of dentition, as well as the morbid phenomena accompanying dentition, require the utmost care on the part of the practitioner. All that the physician can do is to subdue the irritation of the various systems, and the disease is thus frequently cut short in the most striking manner.
Aconite is the best remedy, by means of which that irritation is accomplished. In general, this remedy is of great importance in the diseases of infancy, where the least vascular erethism is easily increased to a synochal fever, on account of the greater activity prevailing in the vascular system previous to the development of the organs being accomplished. No remedy is better adapted than Aconite to allay that fever; in cases where the febrile orgasm had been prepared and increased by the daily use of coffee on the part of the mother and the child, Aconite is indispensable prior to any other remedy.
The slighter degrees of increased irritability in the vascular or nervous system, indicated by an increase of temperature; thirst, sudden screams and grasping at the mouth, startings during sleep as if in affright, etc., are sometimes relieved with Coffea or Aconite, Chamomilla or Nux; Coffea and Chamomilla are especially indicated when the symptoms of a morbidly irritated sensibility prevail; Aconite is preferable when the principal irritation exists in the vascular system; Nux is the best remedy when those symptoms are accompanied with a short and dry cough and cos-tiveness. If the excessive irritability and sensibility of the nervous system is accompanied with great sensitiveness to the pain occasioned by the breaking of the gums, with thirst, heat, and redness of one cheek, and sweat about the head, especially with a catarrhal cough, hoarseness and rattling of mucus in the trachea, in that case no remedy surpasses Chamomilla. Chamomilla is likewise the best remedy when the child has been brought up without the breast, and the fever is continuous, and accompanied with great agitation of the nervous system, as manifested by anxiety and restlessness, starting on hearing anything fall, or upon hearing the least noise, starting without afterwards being able to compose one's-self, convulsive twitchings of the limbs while falling asleep.
If Chamomilla should not be sufficient, if the patient be plethoric and fleshy, if the symptoms be worse in the afternoon or at night; if, for instance, convulsions or spasms be renewed by the least contact; if the child's limbs or head be very restless and in constant emotion; if the sleep be interrupted by screams, moans, convulsions or jerks through the whole body resembling electric shocks; if the patient suffer violent, burning heat, great thirst; if the skin be red, the limbs tremble; if there be anxiety, a short, quick, noisy respiration, visible oppression of the chest, red eyes; in this case no remedy is better adapted to the symptoms than Belladonna.
§ 28. Although we shall afterwards treat in detail of spasms and convulsions, yet we will here make cursory mention of the epileptic fits which sometimes occur during dentition. To the convulsions occasioned by teething we have already alluded in the former paragraph. In many cases we observe, at first, the same symptoms as have been indicated in the preceding paragraph; in other cases the precursory symptoms are diarrhoeic stools for several days; in others, again, the fits are preceded for a few days by great paleness of countenance, faint eyes almost without any lustre, little appetite; the child rests its head upon the shoulder of the nurse, and wants to lie down all the time. As long as these indefinite symptoms prevail, Chamomilla is the best remedy, by which more serious accidents are sometimes averted. If these precursory symptoms be left unheeded, the epileptic fit frequently sets in with great force: for a few minutes the child lies in a state of rigor, rolls its eyes, distorts the features, is attacked with convulsions, tossing of the limbs, clenching of the thumbs, the whole body bending backwards and sideways; the breathing becomes wheezing and rattling, with foam at the mouth, and vivid redness and puffiness of the countenance; in short, all the symptoms of an epileptic fit set in, lasting from a few minutes to half an hour, after which the child, evidently suffering with congestion of the brain, falls into a sopor, at the termination of which the convulsions either return immediately or after a short interval. Although no fever may be present when the fits first commence, yet it appears shortly after, as a secondary affection, in the shape of an inflammatory typhus; this, however, is not to be regarded as the principal affection, although a remedy ought not to be chosen without due regard to the febrile symptoms.
Belladonna is probably the best specific against an attack as described above, especially when the children start from their sleep as in affright, cast anxious looks around them, or stare at an object with wild eyes and dilated pupils, all the muscles of the body being spasmodically stretched, the whole body being in a state of rigor, the forehead and hands burning hot, and, in some cases, involuntary discharges of urine taking place.
An excellent remedy in that disease is Ignatia amara, which has been used with great success by most homoeopathic physicians. The fits which correspond to Ignatia are generally preceded by precursory symptoms which are not as clearly marked, it is true, as those indicating Belladonna, but are sufficiently characteristic to point to Ignatia. The moral symptoms are especially characteristic: the children are headstrong and irritable, are not satisfied with anything; they are peevish and out of humour, and cry when the least thing they ask for is refused; those symptoms are sometimes accompanied with sudden flushes of heat over the whole body, red cheeks, burning ears, absence of thirst; besides all this, the children are very unmanageable. These premonitory symptoms sometimes exist for many days, until the fit sets in suddenly with suffocative anguish, foaming at the mouth, rigor of the neck, reclining of the head, redness of the face, distortion of the eyes, loss of consciousness. Sometimes such a fit sets in without any premonitory symptoms, and without any apparent cause, except that the children had been naughty, and, after having been punished, were laid to bed; this is generally a bad practice.
Next to Ignatia, Ipecacuanha is the best remedy. Ipecacuanha is preferable to Ignatia when the fit arises from overloading the stomach with pastry. The precursory symptoms of the Ipecacuanha fit, accompanied with symptoms of teething, generally resemble those of dyspepsia and the ailments arising from it; permanent characteristics of that condition are: paleness of countenance and cool skin, violent cries, and grasping at the mouth. The true Ipecacuanha fit is distinguished from the Ignatia fit by the following symp-6 toms: extension and rigor of the whole body, occasionally interrupted by spasmodic jerks through the arms; constant spasmodic motion of the facial muscles, in which the lips and eyelids are involved.
We have to mention one other remedy which is frequently indicated against epilepsy, especially when the fit was occasioned by fright, and consecutive fear. The Opium fits - for that is the remedy-commence with a convulsive, spasmodic trembling of the limbs, which is interrupted only by jerks of the body and twitchings of the limbs, accompanied with a croaking scream, and giving way, after a while, to a soporous state, during which the child snores with an open mouth, and from which the patient cannot be roused. The Opium fits only appear at night; this is characteristic.
Besides the above-mentioned remedies, the following remedies may be used for epilepsy, which will be described in detail when we come to treat of that disease: Cina, Rhus, Arsenic, Cuprum, Calc. carb., Causticum, Arnica, Hyosciam., Stram., Cicuta, Secale c. Stannum, Zincum, and others.
There is another kind of epilepsy to which those children are liable who are nursed by females addicted to the use of spirituous drinks. That kind of epilepsy likewise occurs during the period of dentition. It yields to a few doses of Nux, provided the nurse abstains from the use of spirits, or, if this should be impossible to her, weans the child. That kind of epilepsy is perhaps more dangerous than any Other, because the organism of the child is entirely ruined by the vicious habits of the nurse. Nevertheless, the physician is bound to attempt a cure, and, if Nux should be of no avail, he may try Arsenic. It would seem as if a delicate creature like woman could not be guilty of such conduct, were she even born in the meanest hovel. We thought so until we were convinced of the contrary by actual facts. Not malice, however, and rarely habit or the love of vice, induces the misconduct which we here censure; the liquor is generally drank for the purpose of procuring the child rest and sleep; it is the success in accomplishing this which leads to the vicious habit.
Children who are brought up without the breast are liable to another kind of epileptic fit. This is generally induced by overloading and deranging the stomach. If the precursory symptoms are: inclination to vomit, retching, the vomiting ought to be brought on by tickling the velum pendulum palati and the fauces, after which the patient ought to be given a few tea-spoonfuls of black coffee, followed by Ipec, Puis., Bryon., Nux, or any other suitable remedy.