–This is a disease commonly met with in delicate or hand-fed children. Its chief characteristic is an undue softness of the bones, due to deficiency of lime. The joints are large, due to swelling of the ends of the bones, or rather or the cartilages which are not yet transformed into bone. But the bones are not the only part affected; the muscles are weak and flabby, and the child is ill-nourished throughout. They are often plump-looking, but the plumpness consists of soft fat, and not firm flesh. If not remedied, it ends in bow legs and other deformities. A variety of rickets called “Scurfy-Rickets” is attended with haemorrhage from the orifices as in scurvy proper. It is often due to excess of sugar in the dietary.
General Treatment.–There are two things of primary importance in the management of rickets– proper food and proper air. If the child is on the breast, and the mother delicate and the milk poor, it must be weaned and fed as advised under CHILDREN and INFANTS. Good cow’s milk, or one of the milk foods, is the best. The meat-juice preparations are of great value in these cases, and sugar is especially to be avoided. If the children can be sent to the country, to some dry situation, it will probably recover without any additional treatment. It must, at the same time, be warmly clad with soft woollen material next the skin.
Medicines.–(Two or three times a day.)
–For thin children with large bodies, head perspiring, the perspiration being offensive.
–Fat children of soft fibre, head perspiring at night, but not offensive-odour.
–Thin, ill-nourished children, especially if of a consumptive family.