REMEDIES. Baptisia. This remedy administered early modifies the symptoms, and even cuts short an attack by antidoting the poison. Two or three drops of the I X dilution, every two hours.

Arsenicum. Frequent, copious diarrhoea, which becomes involuntary; excessive prostration; intermittent pulse. When Baptisia has been omitted in the early stages, and the symptoms are severe, Arsenicum and Baptisia may be alternated.

Mur.-Ac. may accompany or follow Arsenicum if there be putrid sore throat.

Veratrum-Vir. Great susceptibility of the stomach, violent retching and vomiting; severe headache, stupor, delirium.

Bryonia. Bitter taste, brown-coated tongue, bilious derangement, stupefying headache, cough, irritability, etc. For furred tongue, rheumatic pains and restlessness, Bryonia may be alternated with Rhus.

ADDITIONAL REMEDIES. Mercurius Copious perspirations. Carb.-Veg. Offensive and putrid exhalations and evacuations. Pulsatilla Incipient diarrhoea in fair children of mild disposition. Phosphorus and Bryonia Involvement of the lungs. Belladonna, Hyoscyamus, or Opi. Brain Symptoms. Ferrum, Sulphur, China, or Phosphorus-Ac. Nervous debility, and to complete recovery.

SECONDARY DISEASES. If any troublesome affections arise during convalescence, reference must be made to other parts of this work. We may, however, suggest Phosphorus or Iodium for disorders of the chest; Nux V., Carbo. V., Ignatia, or Mercurius, for indigestion; Zincum met. or Rhus for disorders of the brain. Deafness usually disappears with the return of strength, which may be promoted by Phosphorus-Ac., China. or Sulph. China also moderates hunger, and facilities the repair of the body. Sulph. aids recuperative efforts.

ACCESSORIES. Light and sound should be subdued. All unnecessary furniture, and every vessel that is not clean, should be removed. Vessels to receive the excretions should be ready prepared with some disinfectant, and removed immediately. A second bed or couch to which the patient could be removed affords relief and change of air immediately around his body. But the recumbent posture must be maintained, even during early convalescence. The linen, including blankets, should be frequently changed. The mouth may be often wiped out with a soft towel, wetted in water which contains a little Condy’s fluid, to remove the sordes which gather there.

In addition to sponging the abdomen a wet compress is of great utility. It tends to diminish diarrhoea, checks ulceration, and averts perforation. During the early course of the fever the wet- pack is almost sure to be fatal. ( See also under Scarlet Fever.)

PREVENTIVE MEASURES. Frequently when too late, after our little ones are struck down with this complaint, we look around for the causes, and find them in badly constructed drains, foul cesspools, and decaying putrid matter in the dust heap. As prevention is better than cure, let me urge upon all mothers who read these lines the desirableness of looking well to all drains and all accumulations of refuse, and that every room in the house should be kept well cleansed, whitewashed, and thoroughly ventilated.

XVIII. Diphtheria.

DEFINITION. A contagious febrile disease from blood-poisoning, in which there is exudation of lymph on the lining of the throat, and prostration.

SYMPTOMS. In the simple variety, happily the most common, the symptoms at first excite little complaint beyond slight difficulty of swallowing, or pain in the throat, burning skin, pains in the limbs, etc., and is readily cured.

Malignant Diphtheria is ushered in with severe fever; rigors, vomiting, or purging; sudden, great prostration and restlessness, anxious countenance, small, feeble, rapid pulse 140 and upwards, etc. The skin is hot, the face flushed, the throat sore, the tonsils swollen, and grey or white patches of deposit appear on them, which gradually enlarge, so that one patch merges into another, forming a false membrane in the throat, rendering swallowing and breathing difficult. The false membrane looks like dirty wet wash-leather; and between it and the true membrane an offensive bloody discharge exudes, imparting to the patient’s breath a most repulsive odour. The glands of the neck are always enlarged, sometimes pain is felt in the ear, there is generally stiffness of the neck; the inflammation is liable to extend rapidly to the mouth, nose, wind-pipe, and even the air-tubes of the lungs. If the disease progresses the patient passes into a stupor, and the difficulty of swallowing or breathing increases, till the false membrane is forcibly ejected. Sometimes death takes place unexpectedly from sudden failure of the heart’s action, or the patient dies from suffocation, or he sinks from exhaustion, similar to that which occurs in Enteric Fever.

DANGEROUS SYMPTOMS. Quick, feeble, or very slow pulse; persistent vomiting; drowsiness and delirium; bleeding from the nose; extension of the disease to the nose; dyspnoea; suppressed of albuminous urine.

SECONDARY DISEASE. After a short period of convalescence, secondary diseases are apt to arise, usually of defective nervous power, or a more or less perfectly defined Paralysis, causing chronic difficulty of swallowing, hoarseness, etc. The most alarming is loss of nervous power of the heart, with feebleness of action, or, in extreme cases, complete cessation. But recovery is not infrequent, though sometimes tedious.


1. Mild cases. Belladonna, or Baptisia, afterwards Hepar sulph., Mercurius-Iodium, or Nit.-Ac.

The treatment recommended for Quinsy and Croup is often sufficient if used early.

2. Malignant Diphtheria. Kali Permang., Murex-Ac., K,-Bich., Arsenicum, Ammonium-Carb., etc.

3. Sequelae. Phosphorus; Phyto. (hoarseness, etc.); Digitalis (enfeebled heart); China or Quin. (debility); Gelsemium, Rhus., Sulphur

REMEDIES. Belladonna. A dose every hour often cures mild cases. If there is no improvement in twenty-four hours, give Kali.- Bich. The malignant form, with swelling of the throat and glands; false membrane; obstructed swallowing; nasal discharge; and thick, obstructed, offensive breath, indicate this remedy.

Apis of Kali Permanganate may be used under similar conditions. The latter may be applied by inhalation, or by the spray- producer.

Mercurius-Iodium May be given when patches are observed in the throat.

Arsenicum. In the last stages of the disease, marked by prostration, oedema, putrid odour of the throat and air-passages, and tenacious, foetid discharge from the nostrils.

ADDITIONAL REMEDIES. Mur.-Ac. (Malignant Diphtheria); Phytolacca (hoarseness); Digitalis (weak heart); Baptisia Lachesis Sulph.

LOCAL TREATMENT. In the commencement, a large, thick, hot poultice should be applied around the throat; but in advanced, severe cases external applications are inadmissible, as they rather tend to increase the oedema and extend the disease. The inside of the throat may be steamed with the vapour of water and Acetic Acid (half a wineglassful of strong vinegar to half a pint of water).

A very abundant and foetid false membrane is liable tore-infect the system secondarily, and hence such solvents and deodorizes as Mur.-Ac., Kali Permang., Glycerine, Acetic Acid, and Carbolic Acid are of the greatest value.

SULPHUR. The room should be kept as full of the fumes of burning sulphur (brimstone) as the patient can bear. This prevents infection, and tends to destroy the false membrane. All that is required is to sprinkle a small quantity of Sulphur on a few live coals in a room, the apertures of which are closed, till the room is filled with the fumes.

The air of the room should be kept warm and moist. Sponging with warm water, and, when the patient can bear it, the warm bath, is beneficial.

DIET, ETC. The strength must be sustained from the very first by nourishment, and the patient must be urged to swallow it in spite of the pain which it occasions. Eggs beaten up in milk, or in brandy with water and sugar; beef-tea slightly thickened with rice or pearl-barley; arrowroot or sago, with port of sherry. Sudden, extreme prostration requires wine or brandy.

Children who persistently refuse to swallow must have nutritive injections in bad cases. They should be repeated every two or four hours, and consist of about one ounce at a time.

If vomiting occur, sucking small pieces of ice tends to allay it; ice also affords comfort to the patient, and favours the action of the kidneys. Bright’s disease often follows diphtheria; the urine must therefore be watched.

XIX. Whooping-Cough (Pertussis).

DEFINITION. A paroxysmal cough, consisting of violent, spasmodic, rapidly interrupted fits of coughing, alternating with prolonged, shrill, crowing inspirations, and ending in vomiting, or in the expectoration of thick, glairy mucus.

It is infectious, and occurs mostly in young children, and the younger the child the greater the danger.

SYMPTOMS. Whooping-cough usually commences as a Catarrh, with cough, which returns in fits. In about a week the cough recurs at shorter intervals, with extreme severity, the child turning red or almost black in the face, and appears as if choking, during which the lungs are emptied of air to the last degree; and then a long, sonorous inspiration, taken to refill them, constitutes the “whoop.”

Edward Harris Ruddock
Ruddock, E. H. (Edward Harris), 1822-1875. M.D.

Author of "The Stepping Stone to Homeopathy and Health,"
"Manual of Homoeopathic Treatment". Editor of "The Homoeopathic World."