Convulsion, a disease attended with irregular and unnatural contraction of the muscles, without sleep. It differs from epilepsy, in being accompanied neither with any mental affection, nor with a state of torpor.
The causes of convulsions 3re not always evident, though they generally depend on a certain i ritability of the nervous system. - Delicate hysteric women, and men disposed to hypochondriasis-, are equally subject to this disorder. Frequently, however, convulsive. symptoms take place in consequence of wounds, irritations of the stomach and intestines, worms, poisons, violent cathartics, emetics, etc.
When infants are attacked with convulsions which threaten their lives, the safest expedient will be to immerse them into tepid or milk-warm water, and keep them in that situation, by adding gradually a little hot water, so as to preserve an equal temperature of 96 or 98 degrees, till medical as-sistance can be procured.
Although we are not inclined to give implicit credit to anonymous authorities, yet we think the following particulars worthy of insertion. A correspondent in the 22d volume of the Gentleman's Maqa-%ine, justly observes, that convulsions in children, before dentition, generally proceed from acrid, irritating humors produced in the first passages, by living chiefly on acescent food ; such fits be-ing preceded by gripings, green-stools, etc. He therefore directs one ounce of white sugar candy to be reduced to fine powder, and 120 drops, or two drams, of the best oil of aniseed, to be dropped upon it: these should be rubbed toge-ther in a mortar, then mixed with an ounce of spermaceti, in powder. The dose is twenty grains, to be given in a little milk drawn from the breast, and to be repeated every three or four hours, or oftener, if the uneasiness of the child should require it. To judge from the nature of these ingredients, we are induced to believe., that such a preparation, c o o paration, if cautiously administered, may be productive of good ef-fects.
Inyoung persons, however, there is always less danger than in adults; and as we propose to communicate some important matter respecting the treatment of these complaints, under the articles Epilepsy and Spasm, we shall at present only state another remedy that has lately been, used, on the Continent, with uncommon success : it sim-ply consists of the liquid vegetable alkali (Oleum Tartari per deli-quium). - Dr. Michaelis, of Leip-zig; Dr. Kargens, of Kiel, and several other physicians, have prescribed from 15 to 25 drops of it to be ta en for a dose, by children several years old, as well as adults, and frequently repeated, according to circumstances; though we should hesitate to administer so large a dose as 15 drops, every five minutes, to a child three years and a half of age, as has been successfully practised by the first-mentioned gentleman. Hence, we would recommend to regulate the number of drops, according to the age of children, so as to commence with five drops, under twelve months old, adding one drop for every year, and to convey this medicine in a little thin gruel, or weak broth.