INFECTIOUS DISEASES OF THE SKIN
IMPETIGO is an acute infectious inflammation of the skin. It is most common amongst children. Face, hands and other regions of the body are usually affected. The disease begins with vesicles, changing very soon into pustules. These pustules burst, a yellowish liquid oozes out and when it dries, if forms thick crusts. The characteristic symptom is that these crusts seen to adhere almost like gum. If the pustules burst, a small flat ulcer with unequal edges appears; these ulcers get deepened by frequent washing or scratching, showing an unequal basis, moistened with pus.
Impetigo is painless and there is seldom a general morbid condition.
The temperature is normal.
Should there be any fever, it is usually due to digestive disorders.
The rash is infectious. The disease spreads quickly in families where there are many children, but the disease is mild. The number of the morbid spots is very different. In most cases we find the vesicles in groups. The vesicles, being like lentils or peas, showing a bright-yellow liquid. The face, especially the chin, the region round the mouth, cheeks, nostrils and fingers are usually first affected. The lymphatic glands of the neck are sometimes enlarged, but very seldom suppurate. As a rule the disease extends over2-3 weeks. The general hygienic condition, the nourishment of the patient and his whole constitution are of decisive influence. Scrofulous children are especially endangered. The majority of cases are met amongst patients living in poor or dirty surroundings.
Some cases develop immediately after vaccination.
Impetigo is characterised by its relapses. Some children gets attacks of impetigo several times a year.
The homoeopathic treatment of impetigo is always a great success. The indicated drug improves the whole constitution of the patient and cures the local skin disease in the quickest time. The most important drugs are: Antimonium crudum, Antimonium tartaricum, Kalium bichromicum, Mercurius vivus, Silica and Thuja.
The right diet and general hygienic measures of the bowels and skin are of the greatest importance.
POMPHOLYX (CHEIRO-POMPHOLYX, DYSIDROSIS)
Pompholyx is, according to Dearborn, similar to impetigo. It is an acute vesicular a nd bulbous eruption, usually limited to the hands and feet and nearly always symmetrical in distribution. The eruption consists of small, deep-seated vesicles, which show through the epidermal layers, resembling boiled sago grains. The contents of the vesicles gradually become opaque and finally purulent and dry up in the course of a week. The new skin underneath is red, dry and tender. The itching and burning sensations usually subside with the full distension of the lesions, which, however, show no tendency to spontaneous rupture, but may be broken by scratching. The disease tends to recur and in rare cases may affect the whole palm and other portions of the hands and feet. The disease is due to sweat- retention. It is more frequent in women, especially in young, neurotic women, who have been subject to nervous strain or worry. Mental emotions precipitate an attack. Organic or functional heart disease might be responsible.
Treatment. The affected parts can be eased by application of the Skin Ointment and bandaging. The general treatment nearly always cuts short the attack and prevents a relapse. Sources of nervous depression should be considered, other disorders treated and the diet regulated.
The most useful homoeopathic drugs are: Bufo, Hepar sulphuris, Natrum sulphuricum, Phosphoricum acidum and Ranunculus bulbosus.
Scabies is an infectious, parasitic disease, caused by Acarus scabiei. The disease is characterized by papules, vesicles and pustules and violent itching pains. Itching and vesicles are the first symptom; they are followed by pustules and scabs with numerous red patches and scratches. The parasite enters the skin by tearing it and bores a furrow or tunnel of different length. At its end there is a shining, prominent point, a small eminence, where we find the Acarus louse. If we open the tunnel with a sterile needle, the parasite clutches at the needle and can easily be extracted.
The most commonly affected parts are between the fingers, the wrists, the armpits and the genital organs. Amongst children the disease often starts at the buttocks and legs. The affection can spread over the whole body through scratching.
The diagnosis can easily be verified by finding the Acarus.
The treatment is local as well as constitutional. We must kill the Acarus and prevent its propagation. We apply an ointment containing 25 per cent Sulphur. By the formation of Hydrogen of Sulphur the parasite is killed. The ointment must be applied every morning and evening for three days. After that period the patient takes a warm soap bath and must change the bed-clothes and his personal apparel. These must be carefully sterilized.