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Source: Papers On Health
This is an affection of the bowels of the nature of
diarrhoea, but much worse, as in it blood accompanies the bowel
discharge. It usually begins as diarrhoea, and at this stage may be
cured by either warm vinegar and water or simple cold water injected
into the bowel (see Diarrhoea). Where there is any reason to suspect
the water supply, that should be boiled for half-an-hour and cooled
before use. Attention to the diet, taking for a time milk diet alone,
is also important. Nothing can be better than boiled bread and milk,
giving no more than the sufferer feels he needs. When the diarrhoea has
passed into true dysentery, with blood discharge, or the trouble begins
as such, then enemas of weak acetic acid, or vinegar and water, given
warm (i.e., a little over blood heat), must be used instead of cold
water. As much vinegar should be used as will make the mixture (see
Acetic Acid) very slightly smarting when applied to a tender part of
the skin--say, to the corner of the eye. What is wanted is just as much
acid as will act healingly on the injured vessels, and no more. An
enema of this water mixed with acid may be repeated as long as required
with perfect safety and good effect every time. Even if the disease has
made very serious progress, this will tell upon it powerfully. These
warm enemas should be very resolutely followed up as long as they give
the least comfortable feeling. No one who has not felt their magical
effect can conceive how powerful they are. We have seen a patient on
the point of giving in and lying down as a helpless invalid made
perfectly fit for work in less than an hour by this mode of treatment.
Where the trouble has passed into that stage where the patient is much
weakened, in addition to this the ARMCHAIR FOMENTATION (see) should
be employed; or if the patient be too weak, the fomentation may be
properly wrapped round him in bed without rising. If the patient be too
weak for wrapping round the body, he may be first wrapped round the
legs, and so strengthened as to stand the stronger remedy. Olive oil
must be rubbed on the skin before and after fomenting. The heat may be
kept up for an hour. If too weak to stand even this, the feet and legs
may be first fomented, and afterwards the body. This treatment has
saved many cases from disaster. See also British Cholera; Diarrhoea.