This section of the book is from the "Household Companion: The Family Doctor" book
What this requires depends very greatly on the cause and nature of the trouble. For infants, as well as older persons, nervous disturbance may vary all the way from slight fidgeting to fits or convulsions. Mild medicines for moderate degrees of, for example, " hysterical " nervousness, are assafætida, camphor, valerian, and Hoffman's Anodyne. Physicians often prescribe also, bromide 0/ potassium (or of sodium), musk, and others.
Convulsions are very much more common in children than in grown people; and most so of all at teething time. They are least dangerous during infancy, but are always alarming. What is to be done between times to prevent or ward them off, is an important and often difficult question for even the physician to answer.
When a child " has a fit," lay it upon a bed, loosening all its clothing, especially about its neck. Have good fresh air in the room, but also sufficient warmth. Make two mustard-plasters, one for the stomach and one for the back. Get a warm (almost hot) bath ready. If the plasters are prepared first, put them on; if the bath first, let them wait, and place the child in the warm water at once. In the last case, also pour gently cold water over the head while the child is held laid in the bath.
The mustard-plasters (whether first or second in time) are only to stay on long enough to redden, not blister, the skin. This should be ascertained by looking under the plaster every few minutes. A very little while will be enough to redden and burn a child's skin if the plaster is strong of mustard. But it will be better for it to have, for an infant, only one-third part of mustard, the rest flour or Indian meal.
After the bath, have prepared a mixture of soap and hot water, and into a teacupful of this put a dessertspoonful of milk of assafætida (if at hand) and a teaspoonful of castor or olive oil. Let this be thrown into the bowels with an injecting syringe; a towel being then held for a little while against the fundament to prevent the injection from escaping at the moment.
Adult men and women rarely (although they do sometimes) have convulsions, except those which are either hysterical, puerperal, or epileptic. The principles of management of hysterical and epileptic convulsions, during the attack, are essentially the same as for that of infantile convulsions. Treatment between attacks is a more difficult affair--to be conducted by those who are skilled in medicine. Puerperal convulsions (that is, occurring during labor, or after child-birth) are more peculiar, and ought always to have immediate attendance from a physician. Few cases of illness are more serious and critical than these; not only in appearance, but in reality.