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RINGWORM OF THE BODY; RINGWORM OF THE SCALP.-This skin disease is caused by a vegetable fungus and not by a worm as the name suggests. The disease on the body and scalp is caused by the same parasite, but ringworm of the body may attack adults as well as children, and is readily cured; ringworm of the scalp is a disease confined to children, and is difficult of cure. Ringworm is contagious and may be acquired from children with the disease, and therefore patients suffering from it should not be sent to school, and should wear a skull cap and have brush, comb, towels, and wash cloths reserved for their personal use alone. Children frequently contract the disease from fondling and handling cats and dogs.
Symptoms. On the body, ringworm attacks the face, neck, and hands. It appears first as small, red, scaly spots which may spread into a circular patch as large as a dollar with a red ring of small, scaly pimples on the outside, while the center exhibits healthy skin, or sometimes is red and thickened. There may be several patches of ringworm near each other and they may run together, or there may be only one patch of the disease. Ringworm of the scalp occurs as a circular, scaly patch of a dusty-gray or pale-red color on which there are stubs of broken hairs pointing in different directions, and readily pulled out. The disease in this locality is very resistant to treatment. There are no crusts or itching as in eczema.
Treatment. The application of pure tincture of iodine or carbolic acid to the spots with a camel'shair brush, on one or two occasions, will usually cure ringworm on the skin. On the scalp the hairs should be pulled out of the patch of ringworm, and each day it should be washed with soap and water and a solution of boric acid (as much acid as the water can dissolve), destroying the cloth used for washing. The following ointment is then applied: sulphur, one part; tar, two parts; and lard, eight parts. It is desirable to secure the services of a physician in this disease, in which various remedies may have to be tried to secure recovery. If untreated, ringworm is likely to last indefinitely.
FRECKLES, TAN, AND OTHER DISCOLORATIONS OF THE SKIN.-Freckles appear as small, yellowish-brown spots on the face, arms, and hands, following exposure to the sun in summer, and generally fading away almost completely in winter. However, sometimes they do not disappear in winter, and do occur on parts of the body covered by clothing. Freckles are commonly seen in red-haired persons, rarely in brunettes, and never on the newborn. Their removal is accomplished by the employment of agents which cause a flaking off of the superficial layer of discolored skin, but after a few weeks the discolorations are apt to return. Large, brown spots of discoloration appearing on the face are observed more often in women, and are due to disorder of digestive organs
of the sexual organs or to pregnancy; they also occur in persons afflicted with exhausting diseases. Tan, freckles, and discolorations of the skin generally are benefited by the same remedies.
Treatment.-Prevention of tan and freckles is secured through nonexposure of the unprotected skin to the sun, though it is doubtful whether the end gained is worth the sacrifice, if carried so far as to the avoidance of the open air and sunlight whenever possible.
Boric acid (sixteen grains to the ounce of water) is an absolutely harmless and serviceable agent for the removal of skin pigmentations. The skin may be freely bathed with it night and morning. Corrosive sublimate is the most effective remedy, but is exceedingly poisonous if swallowed accidentally, and must be kept out of children's way, and should not be applied over any large or raw surface of skin or on any mucous membrane. Its application is inadvisable as soon as any irritation of the skin appears from its use. The following preparation containing it is to be painted on the skin with a camel's-hair brush, night and morning:
POISONOUS SUBLIMATE SOLUTION
Oil of lavender..
The following lotion is also efficacious:
DIRECTIONS.-Shake and paint on spots, and allow the preparation to dry; wash it off before each fresh application.
It is best to use only cold water, rarely soap, on the healthy skin of the face. Warm water favors relaxation of the skin and formation of wrinkles.
IVY POISON.-The poison ivy (Rhus toxicodendron), poison sumach (Rhus venenata), and poison oak (Rhus diversiloba of the Pacific Coast, U. S. A.) cause inflammation of the skin in certain persons who touch either one of these plants, or in some cases even if approaching within a short distance of them. The plants contain a poisonous oil, and the pollen blown from them by the wind may thus convey enough of this oil to poison susceptible individuals who are even at a considerable distance. Trouble begins within four to five hours, or in as many days after exposure to the plants.
The skin of the hands becomes red, swollen, painful, and itching. Soon little blisters form, and scratching breaks them open so that the parts are moist and then become covered with crusts. The poison is conveyed by the hands to the face and, in men, to the
sexual organs, so that these parts soon partake of the same trouble. The face and head may become so swollen that the patient is almost unrecognizable. There is a common belief that ivy poison recurs at about the same time each year, but this is not so except in case of new exposures. Different eruptions on the samo parts often follow ivy poisoning, however.
Treatment.-A thorough washing with soap, especially green soap, will remove much of the poison and after effects. Saleratus or baking soda (a heaping tablespoonful of either to the pint of cold water) may be used to relieve the itching, but ordinary "lead and opium wash" is the best household remedy. Forty minims of laudanum 1 and four grains of sugar of lead dissolved in a pint of water form the wash. The affected parts should be kept continually wet with it. Aristol in powder, thoroughly rubbed in, is almost a specific.
WARTS.-Warts are flattened or rounded outgrowths from the outer and middle layers of the skin, varying in size from a pin head to half an inch in diameter. There are several varieties.
Seed Warts.-These have numerous, little, fleshy projections over their surface, which are enlarged normal structures (papilla) of the middle layer of the skin, together with the thickened, outer, horny layer.
Threadlike Warts.-These are seen along the edge of the nails, on the face, neck, eyelids, and ears.
1 Caution. Poisonous.