Eczema comes under the head of neurosis. It is a
neurotic so-called disease. In other words, children develop this peculiar form
of skin derangement when they are enervated, toxemic, and infected from
decomposition of food in the bowels. A child might develop petit mal,
chorea, or some other so-called nervous disease, if the reflex irritation had
not been sent to the surface of the body. When laymen get enough information so
that they can think in the language of the unity of diseases, they will not be
scanning almanacs and billboards, and going to all kinds of specialists, to
find a cure or buy an operation for all so-called special or specific diseases.
Symptoms.--At the start there is a little
redness and roughness of a small spot on the skin. This gradually spreads
larger. Where the constitutional derangement continues to increase in severity,
other spots appear. These spots spread, and become somewhat thickened. By that
I mean that the roughness is elevated above the surface of the skin. In
pronounced types, the surface of the eczematous spots is moist; then it is
called weeping eczema. This means that there is a little more irritation that
nature is throwing out, or that she is eliminating toxin more rapidly than in
what is known as the dry variety of eczema.
Treatment.--Conventional, orthodox treatment is
with lotions and salves. Where salves of various description
are used--salves that are prescribed for curing the disease--some will create
more irritation than others. Not any are curative--with no apologies to the
profession or to Cuticura. Where they produce quite a little irritation, the
disease is spread more rapidly than it otherwise would be. But curing eczema in
this way is very much on the order of rubbing salve on the end of a dog's tail
for a sore ear. Local treatment is absurd, unless palliation is the sole
The child's diet must be corrected. Stop forever
feeding starch and protein in the same meal. Where bathing is neglected, it
should be properly attended. Bathing in eczema is not considered good from
standpoint of scientific prescribing. A warm tub-bath three times a week should
be given, using a very mild soap. Then follow with a thorough rinsing in warm
water. This is to be followed with dry towel-rubbing. Where there are no
eczematous spots, the rubbing should be brisk. The days that the child is not to
have the tub-bath it should be given a warm sponge-bath, allowing it to stand
in warm water and sponging it off quickly; then follow with dry towel-rubbing.
After the bath and drying with a soft towel, use a little olive oil or
Vaseline; then dust with talcum.
If the child's tongue is coated, its breath bad, its
stomach distended with gas, and it grinds its teeth at night, or is restless
and continually kicking the covers off, it should be put to bed for a week or
two. A fast of two or three days' duration should be given. If that is
impossible, give a glass of milk and water--half warm milk and half hot water.
Have the child sip it slowly. A glassful should be given three times a day.
After the third day begin the fourth by giving a little fruit in the morning.
At noon, feed a slice of whole-wheat bread, stale or dried out or toasted. The
bread is to be eaten with a very little butter. This is to be eaten dry. The
child gets nothing else until it has finished eating the bread. Then follow the
bread with a pear, or a few grapes, or orange juice half water. In the evening,
give a dish of prunes and a glass of whole milk. This amount of feeding should
not be increased until the eczema has disappeared. Just what kind of
gastro-intestinal derangement has been set up to cause
the eczema cannot be anticipated, and neither can the intensity of the
constitutional derangement be taken into consideration in preparing an article
like this. To get good results, the fast should be for three days or longer, if
the breath is bad and there should be nausea. A fast often causes sick stomach
in those who are very toxemic. A hot, wet pack over the stomach gives relief.
If, however, the tongue remains coated, the child at
the end of the third day's fast has a bad breath, and nature has started up a
decided elimination, it would be wise not to feed for three days more. Give
nature an opportunity to eliminate the toxins in the system. Nature can be
depended upon to do this, unless there is foolish fear on the part of the
parents lest the child will starve to death. There is no danger of its starving
so long as nature is cleaning house, evidenced by bad odor from the breath and
The bowels should be moved by an enema every night for
three consecutive nights. After that, the bowels should be left alone, except
for giving a small enema--a half-pint, or not to exceed a pint, of warm water
every other day.