Fever Gastric

Sources: Papers On Health

In this fever, now known as a form of Typhoid, the

disease spreads a sort of blight over the nervous centres, and from the

first greatly lowers their power. The patient is too weak to bear the

powerful cooling recommended in Fever; there is also a tendency to

prolonged and "low" fever. First of all, in such a case, the feet and

legs must be fomented. Watch against burning the patient, but get as

good and powerful a heat as possible right up over the knees. Then

after about fifteen minutes the cooling of the head may proceed as in

fever. Both cooling and heating must proceed together.

We must think of not merely relieving, but of curing the patient, by

attacking the poisonous substance where it has lodged in the nerve

centres of the bowels. Pure water, with just as much acetic acid or

vinegar dropped into it as will make it taste the least sour, should be

given in tablespoonfuls (and hot) as frequently as the patient can take

it without discomfort. If possible it should be distilled water, or

rain water filtered, but certainly as pure and soft as can be procured.

There is no drug that can be prescribed that is equal to pure water,

and no acid better than common white vinegar. These three things--the

strong fomentation of the feet and legs, the cooling of the head, and

the dissolution of the poisonous substances by means of pure water, and

their counteraction by means of acid in very small strength--will do

wonders in gastric fever. The "turn" may be secured in a week instead

of three, if these things are skilfully and persistently applied. We

should say that the strong fomentation and cooling of the head should

not be done oftener than twice a day, and only once if the patient

feels too weak for twice. But as a general rule, the person who is ill

will wish these things at least twice a day. The sips of water should

be given, say in a dozen separate tablespoonfuls at a time, at least

thrice a day--oftener if desired by the patient.

For food there is nothing equal to good fresh buttermilk. All alcoholic

drinks are damaging in a high degree in such an illness as this. Sweet

milk, if somewhat diluted with good water, will do, but there is

nothing so good as the buttermilk fresh from the churn.

Absolute rest in bed is necessary, and no solid food should be given to

the patient until his temperature has been ten days at normal point.

All food given in the illness should be liquid enough to pass through

the meshes of a milk strainer. Care should be taken in this matter, as

death has often followed the taking of solid food, when otherwise

recovery would have come.

Milk should always form the largest portion of the diet, and may be

given with arrowroot or oatflour. Beef tea is of little use, and is

always to be avoided if there is a tendency to diarrhoea. Plenty of

cold water may always be given.

In a community which is visited by gastric fever as an epidemic this

fact is striking--only a portion of the people are affected by the

visitation. Here is one man who drinks the water which gives gastric

fever to another; that water goes into his stomach as it does into that

of his neighbour, and passes through his system the same, yet death is

the result in one case, and not even sickness or inconvenience in the

other. In the latter case the system has the power of resistance, and

our aim should be to increase this. Therefore we say by all means look

to the healthful state of the lungs and bowels when you have the least

reason to fear that bad water may bring gastric fever to you or yours.

If there is any tendency to constipation get some liquorice, and boil

it thoroughly with about half an ounce of senna leaves to a twopenny

stick. Strain well, and let all in any danger have a teaspoonful of

this thrice a day. It will do wonders in keeping matters in a good

state within. If possible, give a good rubbing all over once a week

with hot vinegar, and follow that up with warm olive oil. That will do

a great deal to keep things right outside. Take and give more rest than

usual to the toil-worn when such danger is near, and have as good food

provided for all as is possible. There may be danger in the air, and

still worse danger in the water to those whose vital force has got low,

while there is none in either to those whose systems are in good tune.

You are, perhaps, ready to ask if we care nothing about bad water?

Certainly; we care a great deal about it, as we do about bad air. By

all means condemn wells and streams that are corrupted, and insist on

the opening of better ones. Make it a first condition of having

anything to do with a place for habitation that it has good air and

good water. We are only pointing out the best safeguard when neither

the one nor the other can be insured.

In all cases where water is suspected, it should be boiled before use.

There is, in great numbers of persons, both old and young, what may be

called the natural aptitude of healing. They are kept back from trying

to help because it is regarded as so dangerous a thing to go near

fever, and also to interfere where only professional skill is legally

allowed. To apply such a remedy as that which we have here sketched for

gastric fever is perfectly safe in both senses. No medical man worthy

of being regarded will find any fault with it, and there is no danger

to either the patient or the person applying it.

The mode we have pointed out involves nothing that may not be easily

had by the very poorest. What is wanted is only one or two who shall be

Christian enough to care just a little for human bodies as well as

human souls, and who shall study such simple and accessible remedies,

and be ready to guide their fellow-creatures in a time of trouble.