Searchlights on Health/Infantile Convulsions

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DEFINITION.—An infantile convulsion corresponds to a chill in an adult, and is the most common brain affection among children.

CAUSES.—Anything that irritates the nervous system may cause convulsions in the child, as teething, indigestible food, worms, dropsy of the brain, hereditary constitution, or they may be the accompanying symptom in nearly all the acute diseases of children, or when the eruption is suppressed in eruptive diseases.

SYMPTOMS.—In case of convulsions of a child parents usually become frightened, and very rarely do the things that should be done in order to afford relief. The child, previous to the fit, is usually irritable, and the twitching of the muscles of the face may be noticed, or it may come on suddenly without warning. The child becomes insensible, clenches its hands tightly, lips turn blue, and the eyes become fixed, usually frothing from the mouth with head turned back. The convulsion generally lasts two or three minutes; sometimes, however, as long as ten or fifteen minutes, but rarely.

REMEDY.—Give the child a warm bath and rub gently. Clothes wrung out of cold water and applied to the lower and back part of the head and plenty of fresh air will usually relieve the convulsion. Be sure and loosen the clothing around the child's neck. After the convulsion is over, give the child a few doses of potassic bromide, and an injection of castor oil if the abdomen is swollen. Potassic bromide should be kept in the house, to use in case of necessity.