Hectic Fever, a species of slow fever, returning daily, with paroxysms at noon, and in the evening; generally attended with profuse perspiration at night; and the urine depositing a sediment like brick-dust.
Causes : Persons of tender constitutions, and those who indulge in violent passions, especially grief, are chiefly liable to the attacks of heftic fevers. - Besides, luxurious living, abuse of wine, the drinking of impure water, the excessive use of perfumes, as well as the suppression of natural discharges, and an injudicious treatment of catarrhal, putrid, inflammatory and intermittent fevers, are among the numerous causes of this disorder.
Prognosis ; Hectics arising in consequence of a favourable suppuration of a wound, or ulcer, are the least dangerous. But, where they are confirmed, it is in vain to attempt a radical cure, as medicine can only mitigate the symptoms, and protract a lingering existence. The changes of the seasons are particularly fatal to young hectic patients, who, if attacked in the spring, generally languish till the succeeding autumn; or, if they be-come subject to the disease during the summer solstice, they linger out a wretched existence, till about the same period arrives in the following year.
Method of treatment i As this fever arises from various causes, it most necessarily require different remedies. In general, however, the chief object to be attended to, is the mitigation of the symptoms, by preventing both costiveness and looseness ; by procuring sleep, and checking the night-sweats. The use of Peruvian bark has been at-tended with considerable success; for it ten Is to stop the progress of gangrenes, and the suppurations become more favourable. Cauteries applied to the head, antiscorbutics ; together with gel atinous, or mealy substances, and the moderate use of generous wine, may be safely administered. In the beginning of the disease, soft, stewed eggs, and raw oysters eaten in small portions, have often proved very beneficial. - Dr. Hulme re-commends the inspiration-of fixed air, in hesic fevers accompanied with pulmonary complaints. Much, however, depends upon the diet, air, and exercise. The diet, in-dued, ought to cons'st chiefly of milk and vegetables. Half a pint of either goats or as-es milk, which last is less viscid than any other kind, should be drunk three or four times in the course of a day, and continued for weeks, and even months. Some authors preferably recommend butter-milk, which in their op nion is equal to that of asses; observing that many persons have recovered by the free use ef it: nevertheless, it should be sparingly taken at first, and gradually increased till it become almost the only sustenance.
Persons who have been accustomed to animal food and strong liquors, must effect this changeby imperceptible degrees ; and, by persisting in the course above mentioned, they will in most cases recover, unless the fever have made such progress as to reduce the frame to a confirmed Consumption.
In he6f.ic illness, where all other remedies have failed, a journey to Bath is generally proposed by the languishing patient, or the disappointed physician ; but, as Dr. He-berden has judiciously observed, the fatigue and inconveniencies of travelling, to a dying person, are such as ought necessarily to preclude the attempt: besides, the Bath waters are peculiarly hurtful in this fever, which they always increase, and thus aggravate the sufferings, and accelerate the death of the exhausted traveller. - Whether the boasted virtues of the digitalis, or fox-glove, are such as have lately been promulgated with sanguine exultation by several writers, time and experience alone can decide.