XXIX. Inflammation of the Eyes (Ophthalmia)
Ophthalmia is a general term for inflammation of the lining of the eyelids and the front of the eyeball.
CAUSES. Cold, draughts, and damp; changes of temperature, easterly and north-easterly winds; strong light; heat, smoke, dust, or foreign bodies in the eye. Contact during birth with infectious matter.
SYMPTOMS. Itching or soreness; dread of light; feeling as of sand under the lids; redness of the eyes, with swelling of the vessels; pricking or shooting pains; small swellings or pimples, and scales on the lids; the pains increase in the evening, and on exposure to cold, and there is stickiness of the lids in the morning. In some cases there is a mattery discharge, which may be communicated to another by touch.
REMEDIES. Aconitum. Catarrhal Ophthalmia; the white of the eyes is covered with swollen blood-vessels, which present the appearance of a red network.
Belladonna. Pain, redness, and swelling; throbbing in the temples; flushed cheeks, glistening eyes, and dread of light. Belladonna is often useful in turns with Aconite or Mercurius-Cor.
Mercurius Cor. Copious discharge from the eyes, with much pain; Ophthalmia in new-born infants.
Hepar Sulphur. After the acute symptoms have yielded.
Calcarea carb., Sulphur, Arnica, nit.-Ac., Phosphorus, Arsenicum, and Argentum nitricum are sometimes required.
ACCESSORY MEASURES. When caused by sand, dust, lime, flies, or hairs of the lids, the irritating body should be immediately removed; and if the inflammation be considerable, a shade should be worn. To prevent sticking, the eyelids should be smeared with a little olive-oil, or cerate, by means of a camel’s hair brush, at bed-time, or a wet compress may be worn over the eyes at night. The eyes should be bathed with warm water, and strong light and exposure to cold avoided. Any discharge should be constantly and carefully removed by washing; the sponge not being used for any other purpose, as the discharge is infectious. Carefully washing the eyes of the newly-born infants of mothers who habitually suffer from whites, or other discharges, may prevent the disease.
XXX. Earache Inflammation of the Ear (Inflammation auris).
Acute pain in the ear may rise from inflammation of the passage of the ear, or of the drum of the ear; or it may be rheumatic or neuralgic.
CAUSES. Cold currents; improper bathing; leaving the ears imperfectly dry after washing; stomach or dental irritation; careless syringing or probing the ears; scrofulous constitution; foreign bodies peas, beads, bits of pencil, or insects in the ears.
SYMPTOMS. Pain in the ear, with feverishness; the passage swells and becomes red, and a thin discharge follows; there is tenderness and a sense of fullness; unnatural noises; deafness or sensitiveness to noise. The crying of children from earache is spasmodic and at intervals. Discharge may occur; and in very bad cases the inflammation extends to the brain, and may even prove fatal.
REMEDIES. Aconitum, Sensitiveness to noise; swelling of the passage; feverishness.
Belladonna. When the head is much involved, and the patient delirious.
Chamomilla. Earache of nervous, cross children, with one cheek red and hot.
Pulsatilla. Mild and long-lasting earache.
Sulphur. Chronic inflammation. In scrofulous patients, Sulphur should be alternated with Belladonna twice a day, the former given in the morning and the latter at night, and continued for some weeks. Mercurius may also be required.
ACCESSORY TREATMENT. Fomentations with moderately hot water, the application of a bran poultice, or hot Aconite lotion. If there be any discharge, the ear should be washed clean with warm water, and thoroughly dried.
XXXI. Discharge from the Ears (Otorrhoea).
DEFINITION. Chronic Inflammation of the ear, with a milky, purulent, or bloody discharge, often an after effect of Inflammation of the ear, Measles, or Scarlet Fever.
REMEDIES. Mercurius. Thick, bloody, bad-smelling discharge, with tearing pains, swelling, and tenderness of the glands about the ear.
Hepar Sulph. Discharge of matter and blood; and when the patient has been doses with Mercury.
Pulsatilla. This watery discharge, and when it follows Measles.
Muriatic Ac. Following. Scarlatina.
Arsenicum. Discharge which roughens and hurts the skin; also in feeble children.
Calcarea and Sulphur. Tedious cases; and in scrofulous children.
Nit.-Ac., Iodium, Aurum. or Merc iod. may be required in some cases. Acute attacks should be treated according to the previous Section.
Carbolic Acid Lotion. Carbolic Acid, I dr.; Glycerine, I oz.; mix in distilled water, 5 oz.
The above lotion should be injected, after carefully removing all discharge morning and night, and will greatly relieve or cure.
GENERAL MEASURES. Strict cleanliness is indispensable. The irritating discharge, if allowed to collect, becomes offensive, and may give rise to fatal changes in the deeper structures of the ear. A little fine wool, frequently changed, may be put into the ear.
The improvement of the general health is of great importance. Country air, in a dry, healthy district, or Sea air, is of marked utility. Cod-liver-oil is also strongly recommended.
XXXII. General Management of the Ear.
1. WET OR DAMP EARS. The strictest care should be taken to dry the hair and ears thoroughly after bathing, as neglect in this matter is not an infrequent cause of deafness or other mischief.
2. FOREIGN BODIES IN THE EAR. Such substances should be removed as early as convenient; if this cannot at once be accomplished, no alarm need be felt, for if left undisturbed the foreign body rarely does any mischief, but often becomes itself loosened, and escapes with slight instrumental aid, or without any. The following is an easy method of removing foreign bodies from the ear. Around a small stick fasten a strip of old linen; fringe out the free end, dip into warm liquid glue, and carefully apply to the foreign body. The child should be kept quiet for about half an hour, so that the glue may set. The substance may then be withdrawn by gently pulling the stick.
Insects in the ear. One or two drops of olive-oil will generally suffocate an insect that may have found its way there, or cause its retreat. In the former case the dead body should be carefully removed. Ether will be more rapidly effective.
3. BOXING THE EARS. This is a punishment which should never be inflicted. An accident likely to result is rupture of the drum, which may sometimes lead to incurable deafness or hardness of hearing. ARnica lotion, and rest for two or three days, are necessary.
XXXIII. Bleeding from the Nose (Epistaxis).
This is generally a trifling ailment, ceasing of itself in a few minutes.
When it happens often, in stout or weakly children, or when due to injury, treatment is necessary.
SYMPTOMS. Giddiness and weight in the forehead may precede the bleeding. In some cases the blood passes backward into the stomach, when it may, without careful investigation, be mistaken for bleeding from the lungs or stomach.
CAUSES. Injuries; rush of blood to the head from coughing, passion, etc.; thinness of the blood; weakness of the lining of the nose, etc.
REMEDIES. Aconitum. From excitement or passion.
Belladonna. When preceded by a throbbing headache, redness of the face, and brightness of the eyes.
Hamamelis. Dark blood, oozing drop-by-drop.
Arnica. From a blow or other injury.
ACCESSORY MEANS. The application of cold to the forehead, neck, or back; holding the arms above the head for a few minutes, or pressing with the extended finger level across the cheek-bone, just above the bleeding nostril.
A roll of lint may be wetted with Hamamelis or Muriate of Iron, and twisted into the bleeding nostril, first removing any clots there may be present.