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severe cold in the head, as sneezing, running of mucus from the nose, sore throat and some hoarseness perhaps, and languor and soreness in the muscles, there is at first a feeling of tightness, pressure, and rawness in the region of the breastbone, with a harsh, dry cough. The coughing causes a strain of the diaphragm (the muscle which forms the floor of the chest), so that there are often pain and soreness along the lower borders of the chest where the diaphragm is attached to the inside of the ribs. After a few days the cough becomes looser, greatly to the patient's comfort, and a mixture of mucus and pus is expectorated. In a healthy adult such a cough is usually not in itself a serious affair, and apart from the discomfort of the first day or two, there is not sufficient disturbance of the general health to interfere with the ordinary pursuits. The temperature is the best guide in such cases; if it is above normal (983° F.) the patient should stay indoors. In infants, young children, enfeebled or elderly people, bronchitis may be a serious matter, and may be followed by pneumonia by extension of the inflammation from the small bronchial tubes into the air sacs of the lungs, and infection with the pneumonia germ. The principal signs of severe attacks of bronchitis are rapid breathing, fever, and rapid pulse.
The normal rate of breathing in adults is seventeen a minute, that is, seventeen inbreaths and seventeen outbreaths. In children of one to five years the normal
rate is about twenty-six breathing movements a minute. In serious cases of bronchitis the rate may be twenty-five to forty in adults, or forty to sixty in children, per minute.
Of course the only exact way of learning the nature of a chest trouble is thorough, careful examination by a physician, for cough, fever, rapid breathing and rapid pulse occur in many other diseases besides bronchitis, particularly pneumonia.
Pneumonia begins suddenly, often with a severe chill, headache, and general pains like grippe. In a few hours cough begins, short and dry, with violent, stabbing pain in one side of the chest, generally near the nipple. The breathing is rapid, with expanding nostrils, the face is anxious and often flushed. The matter coughed up at first is often streaked with blood, and is thick and like jelly. The temperature is often 104°-105° F.
If the disease proceeds favorably, at the end of five, seven, or ten days the temperature, breathing, and pulse become normal suddenly, and the patient rapidly emerges from a state of danger and distress to one of comfort and safety. The sudden onset of pneumonia with chill, agonizing pain in side, rapid breathing, and often delirium with later bloody or rusty-colored, gelatinous expectoration, will then usually serve to distinguish it from bronchitis, but not always.
Whenever, with cough, rapid and difficult breathing occur with rise of temperature (as shown by the ther
mometer) and rapid pulse, the case is serious, and medical advice is urgently demanded.
Treatment of Acute Cough and Bronchitis.-In the case of healthy adults with a cough accompanying an ordinary cold, the treatment is very simple, when there is little fever or disturbance of the general health. The remedies recommended for cold in the nead (p. 55) should be taken at first. It is also particularly desirable for the patient to stay in the house, or better in bed, for the first day or two, or until the temperature is normal.
The feeling of tightness and distress in the chest may be relieved by applying a mild mustard paper over the breastbone, or a poultice containing mustard, one part, and flour, three parts, mixed with warm water into a paste and spread between two single thicknesses of cotton cloth about eight inches square. The tincture of iodine painted twice over a similar area forms another convenient application instead of the mustard. If the cough is excessive and troublesome at night the tablets of "ammonium chloride compound with codeine" are convenient. One may be taken every hour or two by an adult, till relieved.
Children suffering from a recent cough and fever should be kept in bed while the temperature is above normal. It is well to give infants at the start a grain of calomel or half a teaspoonful of castor oil, and to children of five to eight years double the dose.
The chest should be rubbed with a liniment com
posed of one part of turpentine and two parts of camphorated oil. It is well also to apply a jacket made of sheet cotton over the whole chest. It is essential to keep the room at a temperature of about 70° F. and well ventilated, not permitting babies to crawl on the floor when able to be up, or to pass from a warm to a cold room. Sweet spirit of niter is a serviceable remedy to use at the beginning: five to fifteen drops every two hours in water for a child from one to ten years of age, for the first day or two.
If the cough is harsh, hard, or croupy (see p. 83), give syrup of ipecac every two hours: ten drops to an infant of one year or under, thirty drops to a child of ten years, unless it causes nausea or vomiting, when the dose may be reduced one-half. If children become "stuffed up " with secretion so that the breathing is difficult and noisy, give a teaspoonful of the syrup of ipecac to make them vomit, for until they are six or seven years old children cannot expectorate, and mucus which is coughed up into the mouth is swallowed by them. Vomiting not only gets rid of that secretion which has been swallowed, but expels it from the bronchial tubes. This treatment may be repeated if the condition recurs.
In infants under a year of age medicine is to be avoided as much as possible. A teaspoonful of sweet oil and molasses, equal parts, may be given occasionally to loosen the cough in mild cases. In other cases use the cough tablet for infants described on p. 91. A
paste consisting of mustard, one part, and flour, twenty parts, is very useful when spread on a cloth and applied all about the chest, front and back. The diet should be only milk for young children during the first day or two, and older patients should not have much more than this, except toast and soups. In feeble babies with bronchitis it is wise to give five or ten drops of brandy or whisky in water every two hours, to relieve difficulty in breathing.
Children who are subject to frequent colds, or those. in whom cough is persistent, should receive Peter Möller's cod-liver oil, one-half to one teaspoonful, according to age, three times daily after eating. One of the emulsions may be used instead if the pure oil is unpalatable. Adenoids and enlarged tonsils are a fruitful source of constant colds and sore throat, and their removal is advisable (see p. 61). Hardening of the skin by daily sponge baths with cold salt water, while the child stands or sits in warm water, is effective as a preventive of colds, as is also an outof-door life with proper attention to clothing and foot gear.
Treatment of Pneumonia. Patients developing the symptoms described as suggestive of pneumonia need the immediate attention of a physician. If a person is unfortunate enough to have the care of such a case, when it is impossible to secure a physician, it may afford some comfort to know that good nursing is really the prime requisite in aiding recovery, while