Not every looseness of the bowels ought to be stopped at once by medicine. Sometimes it is a relief to a condition of the system which would involve a worse illness if it did not come.

Infants, especially, need to have the bowels moved two or three times daily; most of all while they are teething. We do not call it diarrhoea in them unless there are at least four or five large liquid passages in twenty-four hours. Of course when it is excessive it must be attended to, or weakness and exhaustion will follow.

Correctives, generally, should be the first things given in babies' diarrhoea. Sourness of stomach is commonly present with it; therefore lime-water being antacid, is particularly suitable. Another good corrective is spiced syrup of rhubarb. On account of the spices in it, this article does not purge like simple syrup of rhubarb; it only promotes an even, regular action of the muscular coat of the bowels, and so tends to get things right again.

Soda {sodium bicarbonate) is an antacid corrective, stronger in this effect than lime-water; but less astringent or binding.

Cinnamon water is a gentle astringent; so is camphor water. These do well to come next after lime-water or soda and spiced rhubarb, if the complaint is not corrected by them. Should it still be obstinate, more potent checking medicines will be needful. Of these, paregoric and laudanum have much power; but they must be used very cautiously, on account of their containing opium.

Of the many astringent medicines employed by physicians, under whose advice, when it can be had, they had better be taken, we may mention here, as possibly wanted in home practice, chalk mixture and tincture of catechu. A desperate and exhausting diarrhoea, which resists all such treatment as has now been spoken of, may call for the use of a laudanum and starch enema. This is introduced with a small syringe, even for a grown person; the object being to have it stay in the bowel; just the opposite of what we want from a purgative injection. A syringe holding an ounce will do for this purpose for an adult; half an ounce for a child. Two or three drops of laudanum, with starch, made not too thick to run, will be the infantile dose for such an enema (even less for a babe under a year old); thirty or forty drops of laudanum, with less than an ounce of starch, for a grown person.

Dysentery differs from diarrhoea, in having many small and bloody passages, with straining or bearing down, as well as pain. (Sometimes there is abdominal pain with or before each passage in diarrhoea.)