Teething


Sources: Papers On Health

At the outset, it must ever be remembered that this is not

a disease. It is a natural growth, and often is accomplished without

any trouble at all. It is, however, a comparatively quick growth,

accomplishing much in a little time, as a plant in flowering. This

rush of growth in one place draws upon the vitality available for

general purposes in the child's body, and if this vitality is not very

large, trouble ensues. Diarrhoea, cold feet, and lack of spirit and

appetite thus arise. If at this stage the lower limbs and body be

carefully fomented (see Fomentation), all trouble may cease at once;

at least a very great deal will be done to relieve it. Give three

teaspoonfuls of warm water, slightly sweetened with pure CANE SYRUP

(see), three times a day. A little of the confection of senna will do

instead of this if desired. The fomentation must never be so hot or so

long at a time as to cause discomfort. Irritation is bad for a teething

infant, and all must be done soothingly if success is to be gained.

Also it will not do to foment and rub with oil a feverish child. Such

cases must be treated differently, as we shall see, and it is easy to

distinguish them from cases without fever. Meantime we would say that

in many cases where vital force is low without fever, the treatment by

fomentation as described is of great value.



In regard to the artificial "cutting" of the gum by surgical

instruments, we would say that such should only be resorted to when the

tooth is very near the surface indeed, and by a careful surgeon who

knows what he is about. The irritation in the gums which makes it

thought of at all can be usually allayed by simple means. Let the

mother dip her finger in good vinegar and water, just strong enough to

slightly smart the lips, and rub it on the irritated gum. This can of

course be done often, and is most powerfully soothing. It may indeed do

all that is required. But if more general symptoms appear, such as

sleeplessness and heat in the head, cooling of the head is required.

Have two little caps made of thick cotton cloth, one slightly larger,

so as to fit on above the other on the child's head. Wring the smaller

out of cold (but not ice-cold) water, and put it on. Press it gently on

the head, and if the heat and restlessness continue, cool it again,

perhaps twice or three times. When the restlessness is relieved, leave

the damp cap on the head, and place the dry one on over it. If the heat

returns, repeat the process. This treatment, though a mere cooling of

the brain, has saved ere now both reason and life, and should never be

lightly thought of or despised.



Often the stomach is seriously disordered during teething, both

vomiting and purging resulting. In small degree these are not

dangerous, but they are better avoided. If severe, they are the

beginning of often fatal trouble.



To quiet the excited bowels, nothing is better than enemas of cool

water. It need not be too cold, but just a little under blood heat,

with a little vinegar added. One tablespoonful of vinegar to a pint of

water. Also a "baby's bottle," prepared with water at blood heat (98

deg.), without any milk or sugar, will greatly assist the stomach if

given to be sucked. In such cases infants usually suck this water

greedily. It is most soothing to the stomach. Half a teacupful at a

time is enough. In the evening wash the child with warm water and SOAP

(see) rub all over with warm olive or almond oil, especially the back

up and down. Then place a BRAN POULTICE (see) over all the back,

taking care to have it just comfortably warm. When this is fastened on,

an ordinary pocket-handkerchief wrung out of cold water is folded and

laid over the bowels. This is changed for a fresh one as soon as

heated, and gently pressed all over. The milk, if the child is

brought up on the bottle, may be given now, reduced in strength for a

time. This treatment will often cure without enemas, which may then be

dispensed with. Great improvement in health may be expected after a few

days of such treatment. A cool handkerchief, similar to that on the

bowels, may also be applied to the head, if that is heated.



Some form of head eruption often comes on after a long time of heated

head. A little sour buttermilk, vinegar, or weak acetic acid, not

stronger than to cause a slight smarting tried in the nurse's

nostrils, will relieve almost instantly the itching which accompanies

this. If strong acid be used, matters are made worse, and great pain

caused. The acid, weak as we have described, at once neutralises the

irritating substance exuded from the eruption. It also prepares the way

for a cure. If astringent lotions are employed, drying the sore, and

driving it in on the brain, serious injury may be caused. But if

healing takes place under soaking with weak acid, no such result need

be feared, for this simply removes the unhealthy state of the part.

Water, especially hard water, must be absolutely kept away from such

a head. No more must be used than is necessary to dilute the acid; and,

if it can be got, the acid of buttermilk is decidedly preferable. The

whole body, when feverish, may be cooled in a tepid bath, several times

a day if necessary, having the water just at blood heat.



Besides these outside effects, teething often causes brain disorders.

(See various articles on Children.) The infant should be watched

carefully, and if the eye be dull, and the head heavy with feverish

symptoms, the head should be cooled at once as above directed, and if

the feverish symptoms are not marked, and the feet cold, the feet,

legs, and lower body should be wrapped in a good warm fomentation.

Where the trouble has gone so far that insensibility comes on, the

treatment is the same, only the cloths had better be wrung out of

iced water if available. It is important to not only lay the cloths

on the head, but to press them. Take the little head in your two

hands, and so bring the cool cloth close to every part of it, while you

lift up a prayer for help from the Great Healer. Keep at this till your

feeling tells you it is time to change the cloth. Take off the hot one

and put on the cool one. Go on with the gentle pressure again. It does

require work, but it is well worth work to save a precious life. You

must so work that you will cause the least disturbance possible to the

little sufferer. It may be you may require to keep this up for many

hours, but you will probably find that some signs of sense appear ere

you have gone on very long, and you may see that natural sleep has

succeeded the drowse that lay in the worn-out brain. If so, you will

allow the head to lie still in the cold cloth, and change only when it

gets very warm. If natural heat has been fully restored to the legs and

feet, you will let these rest also.



We know of a case where the brain seemed gone, and the medical man

abandoned hope; but the head was cooled with ice cloths, while the feet

and legs were kept in a hot fomentation, for a whole night, and all

danger was passed by the morning. So that, even in very bad cases, this

should be perseveringly tried.



For diet, in teething, the child must get easily digested food, and all





;