Catarrh, a non-inflammatory disease, characterized by an increased secretion of mucus from the glands of the mucous membranes. The name is popularly confined to disease of the membrane of the air passages, but it should be extended to that of the intestinal, urinary, and even genital mucous membranes. Children and adults of the lymphatic temperament are most subject to catarrh; and it occurs most frequently in cold and damp seasons, accompanied by sudden changes of temperature, and in individuals weakened by insufficient food, foul air, and mental anxiety; it also occurs epidemically. Catarrh of the air passages is rarely accompanied by any constitutional disturbance; the principal symptoms are sneezing, increased secretion of tears and mucus, and a snuffling nasal respiration. In many cases of catarrh of the bladder, the urine is loaded with mucus, and the state of its membrane highly irritable, without being positively inflamed. Catarrhal diseases often occur epidemically, under the name of catarrhal fevers, in which there seems to be a morbid disposition in all the mucous membranes to secrete an excess of mucus.
Besides the conditions already mentioned, the genital mucous membrane may be affected, constituting some form of leucorrhoea and blen-norhcea; the conjunctiva may also be attacked, giving rise to catarrhal ophthalmia; some of these conditions, especially the last two, may become contagious, without the usual specific origin. - These catarrhal diseases are not generally dangerous; but they are apt to become chronic and exceedingly difficult to remedy, when the lungs, stomach, intestines, and geni-to-urinary organs are affected, and especially when occurring, as they often do, in old and debilitated persons. The treatment of the mild forms is entirely expectant; in the chronic stages, the principal dependence is on tonics and stimulants, especially quinine, and on local applications of a stimulating and alterative character whenever the seat of the disease is directly accessible. They form some of the most obstinate cases which the physician has to manage, both from the difficulty of direct medication, and from the age and weakness of the majority of persons who suffer from them.