Searchlights on Health/Home Treatments for the Diseases of Infants and Children

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1. Out of every 1000 persons that died during the year of 1912, 175 did not reach one year of age, and 244 died under five years of age.

What a fearful responsibility therefore rests upon the parents who permit these hundreds of thousands of children to die annually. This terrible mortality among children is undoubtedly largely the result of ignorance as regarding to the proper care and treatment of sick children.

2. For very small children it is always best to use homoeopathic remedies.


1. Babies often suffer severely with colic. It is not considered dangerous, but causes considerable suffering.

2. Severe colic is usually the result of derangement of the liver in the mother, or of her insufficient or improper nourishment, and it occurs more frequently when the child is from two to five months old. 3. Let the mother eat chiefly barley, wheat and bread, rolled wheat, graham bread, fish, milk, eggs and fruit. The latter may be freely eaten, avoiding that which is very sour.

4. A rubber bag or bottle filled with hot water put into a crib, will keep the child, once quieted, asleep for hours. If a child is suffering from colic, it should be thoroughly warmed and kept warm.

5. Avoid giving opiates of any kind, such as cordials, Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup, "Mother's Friend," and various other patent medicines. They injure the stomach and health of the child, instead of benefiting it.

6. REMEDIES.—A few tablespoonfuls of hot water will often allay a severe attack of the colic. Catnip tea is also a good remedy.

A drop of essence of peppermint in 6 or 7 teaspoonfuls of hot water will give relief.

If the stools are green and the child is very restless, give chamomilla.

If the child is suffering from constipation, and undigested curds of milk appear in its faeces, and the child starts suddenly in its sleep, give nux vomica.

An injection of a few spoonfuls of hot water into the rectum with a little asafoetida is an effective remedy, and will be good for an adult.


1. This is a very frequent ailment of infants. The first thing necessary is for the mother to regulate her diet.

2. If the child is nursed regularly and held out at the same time of each day, it will seldom be troubled with this complaint. Give plenty of water. Regularity of habit is the remedy. If this method fails, use a soap suppository. Make it by paring a piece of white castile soap round. It should be made about the size of a lead pencil, pointed at the end.

3. Avoid giving a baby drugs. Let the physician administer them if necessary.


Great care should be exercised by parents in checking the diarrhoea of children. Many times serious diseases are brought on by parents being too hasty in checking this disorder of the bowels. It is an infant's first method of removing obstructions and overcoming derangements of the system.


1. Summer complaint is an irritation and inflammation of the lining membranes of the intestines. This may often be caused by teething, eating indigestible food, etc.

2. If the discharges are only frequent and yellow and not accompanied with pain, there is no cause for anxiety; but if the discharges are green, soon becoming gray, brown and sometimes frothy, having a mixture of phlegm, and sometimes containing food undigested, a physician had better be summoned.

3. For mild attacks the following treatment may be given:

1) Keep the child perfectly quiet and keep the room well aired.

2) Put a drop of tincture of camphor on a teaspoonful of sugar, mix thoroughly; then add 6 teaspoonfuls of hot water and give a teaspoonful of the mixture every ten minutes. This is indicated where the discharges are watery, and where there is vomiting and coldness of the feet and hands. Chamomilla is also an excellent remedy. Ipecac and nux vomica may also be given.

In giving homoeopathic remedies, give 5 or 6 pellets every 2 or 3 hours.

3) The diet should be wholesome and nourishing.


If a child is suffering with swollen gums, is feverish, restless, and starts in its sleep, give nux vomica.



Pin worms and round worms are the most common in children. They are generally found in the lower bowels.

SYMPTOMS.—Restlessness, itching about the anus in the fore part of the evening, and worms in the faeces.

TREATMENT.—Give with a syringe an injection of a tablespoonful of linseed oil. Cleanliness is also very necessary.


A round worm is from six to sixteen inches in length, resembling the common earth worm. It inhabits generally the small intestines, but it sometimes enters the stomach and is thrown up by vomiting.

SYMPTOMS.—Distress, indigestion, swelling of the abdomen, grinding of the teeth, restlessness, and sometimes convulsions.

TREATMENT.—One teaspoonful of powdered wormseed mixed with a sufficient quantity of molasses, or spread on bread and butter.

Or, one grain of santonine every four hours for two or three days, followed by a brisk cathartic. Wormwood tea is also highly recommended.

2 ounces wormseed,
1-1/2 ounces valerian,
1-1/2 ounces rhubarb,
1-1/2 ounces pink-root,
1-1/2 ounces white agaric.

Boil in sufficient water to yield 3 quarts of decoction, and add to it 30 drops of oil of tansy and 45 drops of oil of cloves, dissolved in a quart of rectified spirits. Dose, 1 teaspoonful at night.


Oil of wormseed, 1 ounce,
Oil of anise, 1 ounce,
Castor oil, 1 ounce,
Tinct. of myrrh, 2 drops,
Oil of turpentine, 10 drops.

Mix thoroughly.

Always shake well before using.

Give 10 to 15 drops in cold coffee, once or twice a day.




DEFINITION.—A spasmodic closure of the glottis which interferes with respiration. Comes on suddenly and usually at night, without much warning. It is a purely nervous disease and may be caused by reflex nervous irritation from undigested food in the stomach or bowels, irritation of the gums in dentition, or from brain disorders.

SYMPTOMS.—Child awakens suddenly at night with suspended respiration or very difficult breathing. After a few respirations it cries out and then falls asleep quietly, or the attack may last an hour or so, when the face will become pale, veins in the neck become turgid and feet and hands contract spasmodically. In mild cases the attacks will only occur once during the night, but may recur on the following night.

HOME TREATMENT.—During the paroxysm dashing cold water in the face is a common remedy. To terminate the spasm and prevent its return give teaspoonful doses of powdered alum. The syrup of squills is an old and tried remedy; give in 15 to 30 drop doses and repeat every 10 minutes till vomiting occurs. Seek out the cause if possible and remove it. It commonly lies in some derangement of the digestive organs.


DEFINITION.—This disease consists of an inflammation of the mucous membrane of the upper air passages, particularly of the larynx with the formation of a false membrane that obstructs the breathing. The disease is most common in children between the ages of two and seven years, but it may occur at any age.

SYMPTOMS.—Usually there are symptoms of a cold for three or four days previous to the attack. Marked hoarseness is observed in the evening with a ringing metallic cough and some difficulty in breathing, which increases and becomes somewhat paroxysmal till the face which was at first flushed becomes pallid and ashy in hue. The efforts at breathing become very great, and unless the child gets speedy relief it will die of suffocation.

HOME TREATMENT.—Patient should be kept in a moist warm atmosphere, and cold water applied to the neck early in the attack. As soon as the breathing seems difficult give a half to one teaspoonful of powdered alum in honey to produce vomiting and apply the remedies suggested in the treatment of diphtheria, as the two diseases are thought by many to be identical. When the breathing becomes labored and face becomes pallid, the condition is very serious and a physician should be called without delay.


DEFINITION.—An eruptive contagious disease, brought about by direct exposure to those having the disease, or by contact with clothing, dishes, or other articles, used about the sick room.

The clothing may be disinfected by heating to a temperature of 230 degrees Fahrenheit or by dipping in boiling water before washing.

Dogs and cats will also carry the disease and should be kept from the house, and particularly from the sick room.

SYMPTOMS.—Chilly sensations or a decided chill, fever, headache, furred tongue, vomiting, sore throat, rapid pulse, hot dry skin and more or less stupor. In from 6 to 18 hours a fine red rash appears about the ears, neck and shoulders, which rapidly spreads to the entire surface of the body. After a few days, a scurf or branny scales will begin to form on the skin. These scales are the principal source of contagion.


1. Isolate the patient from other members of the family to prevent the spread of the disease.

2. Keep the patient in bed and give a fluid diet of milk gruel, beef tea, etc., with plenty of cold water to drink.

3. Control the fever by sponging the body with tepid water, and relieve the pain in the throat by cold compresses, applied externally.

4. As soon as the skin shows a tendency to become scaly, apply goose grease or clean lard with a little boracic acid powder dusted in it, or better, perhaps, carbolized vaseline to relieve the itching and prevent the scales from being scattered about, and subjecting others to the contagion.

REGULAR TREATMENT.—A few drops of aconite every three hours to regulate the pulse, and if the skin be pale and circulation feeble, with tardy eruption, administer one to ten drops of tincture of belladonna, according to the age of the patient. At the end of third week, if eyes look puffy and feet swell, there is danger of Acute Bright's disease, and a physician should be consulted. If the case does not progress well under the home remedies suggested, a physician should be called at once.


DEFINITION.—This is a contagious disease which is known by a peculiar whooping sound in the cough. Considerable mucus is thrown off after each attack of spasmodic coughing.

SYMPTOMS.—It usually commences with the symptoms of a common cold in the head, some chilliness, feverishness, restlessness, headache, a feeling of tightness across the chest, violent paroxysms of coughing, sometimes almost threatening suffocation, and accompanied with vomiting.

HOME TREATMENT.—Patient should eat plain food and avoid cold drafts and damp air, but keep in the open air as much as possible. A strong tea made of the tops of red clover is highly recommended. A strong tea made of chestnut leaves, sweetened with sugar, is also very good.

1 teaspoonful of powdered alum,
1 teaspoonful of syrup.

Mix in a tumbler of water, and give the child one teaspoonful every two or three hours. A kerosene lamp kept burning in the bed chamber at night is said to lessen the cough and shorten the course of the disease.


DEFINITION.—This is a contagious disease causing the inflammation of the salivary glands, and is generally a disease of childhood and youth.

SYMPTOMS.—A slight fever, stiffness of the neck and lower jaw, swelling and soreness of the gland. It usually develops in four or five days and then begins to disappear.

HOME TREATMENT.—Apply to the swelling a hot poultice of cornmeal and bread and milk. A hop poultice is also excellent. Take a good dose of physic and rest carefully. A warm general bath, or mustard foot bath, is very good. Avoid exposure or cold drafts. If a bad cold is taken, serious results may follow.


DEFINITION.—It is an eruptive, contagious disease, preceded by cough and other catarrhal symptoms for about four or five days. The eruption comes rapidly in small red spots, which are slightly raised.

SYMPTOMS.—A feeling of weakness, loss of appetite, some fever, cold in the head, frequent sneezing, watery eyes, dry cough and a hot skin. The disease takes effect nine or ten days after exposure.

HOME TREATMENT.—Measles is not a dangerous disease in the child, but in an adult it is often very serious. In childhood very little medicine is necessary, but exposure must be carefully avoided, and the patient kept in bed, in a moderately warm room. The diet should be light and nourishing. Keep the room dark. If the eruption does not come out promptly, apply hot baths.

COMMON TREATMENT.—Two teaspoonfuls of spirits of nitre, one teaspoonful paregoric, one wineglassful of camphor water. Mix thoroughly, and give a teaspoonful in half a teacupful of water every two hours. To relieve the cough, if troublesome, flax seed tea, or infusion of slippery-elm bark, with a little lemon juice to render more palatable, will be of benefit.


DEFINITION.—This is a contagious, eruptive disease, which resembles to some extent small-pox. The pointed vesicles or pimples have a depression in the center in chicken-pox, and in small pox they do not.

SYMPTOMS.—Nine to seventeen days elapse after the exposure, before symptoms appear. Slight fever, a sense of sickness, the appearance of scattered pimples, some itching and heat. The pimples rapidly change into little blisters, filled with a watery fluid. After five or six days they disappear.

HOME TREATMENT.—Milk diet, and avoid all kinds of meat. Keep the bowels open, and avoid all exposure to cold. Large vesicles on the face should be punctured early and irritation by rubbing should be avoided.


DEFINITION.—Acute, specific, constitutional disease, with local manifestations in the throat, mouth, nose, larynx, wind-pipe, and glands of the neck. The disease is infectious but not very contagious under the proper precautions. It is a disease of childhood, though adults sometimes contract it. Many of the best physicians of the day consider true or membranous croup to be due to this diphtheritic membranous disease thus located in the larynx or trachea.

SYMPTOMS.—Symptoms vary according to the severity of the attack. Chills, fever, headache, languor, loss of appetite, stiffness of neck, with tenderness about the angles of the jaw, soreness of the throat, pain in the ear, aching of the limbs, loss of strength, coated tongue, swelling of the neck, and offensive breath; lymphatic glands on side of neck enlarged and tender. The throat is first to be seen red and swollen, then covered with grayish white patches, which spread, and a false membrane is found on the mucous membrane. If the nose is attacked, there will be an offensive discharge, and the child will breathe through the mouth. If the larynx or throat are involved, the voice will become hoarse, and a croupy cough, with difficult breathing, shows that the air passage to the lungs is being obstructed by the false membrane.

HOME TREATMENT.—Isolate the patient, to prevent the spread of the disease. Diet should be of the most nutritious character, as milk, eggs, broths, and oysters. Give at intervals of every two or three hours. If patient refuses to swallow, from the pain caused by the effort, a nutrition injection must be resorted to. Inhalations of steam and hot water, and allowing the patient to suck pellets of ice, will give relief. Sponges dipped in hot water, and applied to the angles of the jaw, are beneficial. Inhalations of lime, made by slaking freshly burnt lime in a vessel, and directing the vapor to the child's mouth, by means of a newspaper, or similar contrivance. Flour of sulphur, blown into the back of the mouth and throat by means of a goose quill, has been highly recommended. Frequent gargling of the throat and mouth, with a solution of lactic acid, strong enough to taste sour, will help to keep the parts clean, and correct the foul breath. If there is great prostration, with the nasal passage affected, or hoarseness and difficult breathing, a physician should be called at once.