Symptoms

The violence of its symptoms, and the fearful rapidity with which it often terminates life, render cholera one of our most alarming diseases. Occasionally, but more frequently in hot climates than in temperate ones, persons are, as it were, prostrated at once by the cholera-poison, and die, perhaps within an hour of the first attack, without any other symptom than total collapse of the' powers of life. More generally the seizure is not so sudden: probably there has been slight diarrhea, or rumbling movements of the bowels, with sinking sensation art the stomach, for some days previously; or, at all events, the person has felt unwell. When the disease sets in earnestly, which, in the larger proportion of cases, it does during the night, the patient vomits, and is purged with more or less frequency and violence, the evacuations quickly coming to resemble thin gruel or rice-water; cramps of the limbs succeed, the surface becomes cold, blue, bathed in sweat, and has, particularly the fingers, a peculiar shrunken, sodden appearance; the tongue is cold, the pulse imperceptible; the urine is suppressed, and the voice acquires a peculiar pitch of tone. Many die in this the collapse stage of the disease; but if it is passed through, reaction comes on, the surface gets warm, the thirst continues, the quick pulse becomes perceptible, the tongue is dry and brown, and delirum is present; in short, fever is established, and may end either in recovery or death.

Treatment

During the prevalence of cholera, many err in making material changes in their ordinary modes of living, and by so disordering the regularity of the functions lay themselves open to attacks of the disease. It should be understood that whatever tends to lower the standard of health favors the attack of the disease. There is, however, one important precaution which ought to be observed at all times, indeed, but more particularly during the epidemic of cholera; the perfect purity of the drinking-water should be ascertained, and its freedom from all decomposing organic matters made certain. Care is also to be observed not to take active purgatives, particularly salines, which produce watery evacuation; for whatever produces free action of the bowels apparently increases the susceptibility to attack. For this reason, too, the slightest tendency to diarrhea should be at once arrested by the aromatic spirits of camphor, repeated as often as requisite, and the use of milk and farinaceous preparations containing gelatinous food. The speedy adoption of these measures in places distant from medical assistance, might do much to check the disease.

Remedies

Arsenicum, burning, exhausting discharges, thirsty, drinks little and often. Camphor, vomiting, diarrhea with severe cramps in bowels and limbs. Veratrum alb., profuse vomiting and watery discharges, cold flesh, cramps. In this disease give medicine every five minutes at first; keep patient warm.