Page images

ciently to permit of its use, is allowed to flow gently from a fountain syringe into the ear for ten minutes, and then the ear is dried with cotton, as described under the treatment of wax in the ear (p. 35). No other "drops" of any kind are admissible for use in the ear, and even this treatment is of less importance than the dry heat from the hot-water bag, and may be omitted altogether if the appliances and skill to dry the ear are lacking. Ten drops of laudanum 1 for an adult, or a teaspoonful of paregoric for a child six years old, may be given by the mouth to relieve the pain. The temperature of the room should be even and the food soft.

If the pain continues it is wiser to have an aurist lance the drum, to avoid complications, than to wait for the drum membrane to break open spontaneously in his absence. Loss or damage of the eardrums may call for "artificial eardrums." They do not act at all like the drumhead of the musical instrument by their vibrations, but only are of service in putting on the stretch the little bones in the middle ear which convey sound. Some of those advertised do harm by setting up a mechanical irritation in the ear after a time, and a better result is often obtained with a ball of cotton or a paper disc introduced into the ear by an aurist.

MODERATE OR SLIGHT EARACHE. A slight or moderate earache, which may, however, be

1 Caution. Ask the doctor first.

[ocr errors]

very persistent, not sufficient to incapacitate the patient or prevent sleep, is often caused by some obstruction in the Eustachian tube, either by swelling or mucous discharge. This condition gives rise to the train of effects noted in the section on deafness. The air in the middle ear is absorbed to some extent, and therefore the pressure within the ear is less than that outside the drum, so that the latter is pressed inward with the result that pain, and perhaps noises and deafness ensue, and, if the condition is not relieved, inflammation of the middle ear as described above.

Treatment.Treatment is directed toward cleaning the back of the nose and reducing swelling at the openings of the Eustachian tubes in this locality, and inflating the tubes with air. A spray of Seiler's solution is thrown from an atomizer through the nostrils, with the head tipped backward, until it is felt in the back of the throat, and after the water has drained away the process is repeated a number of times. This treatment is pursued twice daily, and one hour after the fluid in the nose is well cleared away the Eustachian tubes may be inflated by the patient. To accomplish this the lips are closed tightly, and the nostrils also, by holding the nose; then an effort is made to blow the cheeks out till air is forced into the tubes and is felt entering both ears. This act is attended with danger of carrying up fluid into the tubes and greatly

1 Tablets for the preparation of Seiler's solution are to be found at most druggists.

aggravating the condition, unless the water from the spray has had time to drain away.

Blowing the nose, as has been pointed out, is unwise, but the water may be removed to some extent by "clearing the throat." The reduction of swelling at the entrance of the Eustachian tube in the back of the nose can be properly treated only by an expert, as some astringent (glycerite of tannin) must be applied on cotton wound on a curved applicator, and the instrument passed above and behind the roof of the mouth into the region back of the nose.

Rubbing the parts just in front of the external opening into the ear with the tip of one finger for a period of a few minutes several times a day will also favor recovery in this trouble.


The Nose and Throat

Cold in the Head-Mouth-Breathing-Toothache-Sore Mouth -Treatment of Tonsilitis-Quinsy-Diphtheria.

NOSEBLEED.-Nosebleed is caused by blows or falls, or more frequently by picking and violently blowing the nose. The cartilage of the nasal septum, or partition which divides the two nostrils, very often becomes sore in spots, owing to irritation of dust-laden air, and these crust over and lead to itching. Then picking the nose" removes the crusts, and frequent nosebleed results. Nosebleed also is common in both full-blooded and anæmic persons; in the former because of the high pressure within the blood vessels, in the latter owing to the thin walls of the arteries and capillaries which readily rupture.


Nosebleed is again an accompaniment of certain general disorders, as heart disease and typhoid fever. The bleeding comes usually from one nostril only, and is a general oozing from the mucous membrane, or more commonly flows from one spot on the septum near the nostril, the cause of which we have just noted. The blood may spout forth in a stream, as after a blow, or trickle away drop by drop, but is rarely dangerous

except in infants and aged persons with weak blood vessels. In the case of the latter the occurrence of bleeding from the nose is thought to indicate brittle vessels and a tendency to apoplexy, which may be averted by the nosebleed. This is uncertain. If nosebleed comes on at night during sleep, the blood may flow into the stomach without the patient's knowledge, and on being vomited may suggest bleeding from the stomach.

Treatment.—The avoidance of excitement and of blowing the nose, hawking, and coughing will assist recovery. The patient should sit quietly with head erect, unless there is pallor and faintness, when he may lie down on the side with the head held forward so that the blood will flow out of the nose. There is no cause for alarm in most cases, because the more blood lost the more readily does the remainder clot and stop bleeding. As the blood generally comes from the lower part of the partition separating the nostrils, the finger should be introduced into the bleeding nostril and pressure made against this point, or the whole lower part of the nose may be simply compressed between the thumb and forefinger. If this does not suffice a lump of ice may be held against the side of the bleeding nostril, and another placed in the mouth. The injection into the nostril of ice water containing a little salt is sometimes very serviceable in stopping nosebleed. Blowing the nose must be avoided for some time after the bleeding ceases.

« PreviousContinue »