Cholera Infantum is not a real cholera but is a dangerous type of summer complaint of children. It is characterized by frequent purging and vomiting in association with a rise of temperature. The stools are watery and copious. Dehydration and consequent weakness are always obvious accompanying factors. Hand-fed and bottle-fed children upto the age of two years are its more common victims than the children at breast and the elderly ones. The infection enters into the body through milk.
As a precautionary measure the childs bottle should be sterilized after every feeding. Milk should be boiled and kept in a covered place or it should be boiled every time before feeding.
In case of an attack the child should not be allowed to take anything else than boiled water until the vomiting ceases and thereafter he should be kept on whey water for some period.
As flies may carry the infections to milk affecting other children the patients napkins should be kept in a lysol solution till they are washed.
Although this is not a real cholera but the symptoms being identical, any polychrest useful in cholera will also be beneficial in this dangerous type of gastro-intestine trouble of little babies.
Medicines in general: Acon., Aeth., Amm-c., Ant-cr., Apis., Agg- n., Arn-m., Ars., Bell., Bism., Calc-c., Calc-p., Camph., Carb- v., Cham., China, Cina, Crot-t., Cup-met., Ferr-m., Ferr-ph., Ip., Kali-br., Kali-ph., Kreos., Naph., Nux-v., Olnd., Op., Phyt., Podo., Psor., Sil., Stram., Sulph., Verat-a., Zinc-m.
Therapeutic Hints: As in cholera so in this complaint of infants Aconite is the first remedy to arrest the trouble at the very onset. It should be given in a very low potency repeating after each motion or vomiting. Fever, restlessness, dry skin and an unquenchable thirst will lead to its choice. This drug has a close resemblance to Belladonna and Ferrum-phos. Sudden appearance and rapid development of the ailment with a red bloated face, high fever and perspiration, or at least a clammy skin are the keynotes of the former and is very suitable in summer complaints of sanguine children.
Both Aconite and Belladonna act better in strong and corpulent subjects who have a natural inclination to develop every complaint with all rapidity. When plethora is absent and the child is anaemic or weak the development of the disease is slow and here come in Ferrum-phos. in places in both Acon. and Bell. Besides, Ferrum-phos. will remain beneficial even in a later stage while the other two are useful only during the first stage. Again, the Ferr-phos. symptoms, though alike, are always milder than the other two.
Ipecac is also an efficient remedy in the first stage of cholera infantum, especially when it is an outcome of atmospheric influence. Deadly nausea, vomiting without relief and a clean tongue will single out this remedy in our whole materia medica. Green, frothy stools will further support its choice. Antim-cr. is another remedy so commonly needed in the summer complaints of children. Great sleepiness and a thick milk-white coating over the whole tongue will determine its choice and vomiting of liquids only, and not of solid foods, will be a further support.
Antim-t. is used when the symptoms of Ant-c. are present but not so well defined and are of a milder form. It has vomiting of bilious matter with nausea and retching. Thirst and restlessness are contra indications of this remedy. Next comes Veratrum album having a vomiting of bilious mucus and a diarrhoea consisting a thin papescent mucus accompanied by great lassitude and cold extremities. Cold sweat over the forehead is its principal characteristic.
Aethusa: It has the prostration and restlessness of Arsenic but not the thirst. It has both vomiting and nausea; the milk is ejected curdled in big lumps soon after nursing, exhausting the child so much that he falls asleep. He wakes up hungry and wants to nurse (baby prefers bottle Ant-c.) which he vomits again and the process goes on repeating.
Apis: It is a thirstless medicine and is useful when the condition improves for sometime and then relapses again; stool constantly escaping involuntarily as if the anus remained open; threatened hydrocephaloid from anaemia and nervous exhaustion. Scanty urine.
Argent-nit: Diarrhoea soon after every drink. The baby is very food of sugar and candies which upset his stomach. It is an excellent medicine when diarrhoea and colic are resultants of a mental excitement.