- A LIGHT FORM OF EPILEPSY
Petit Mal is a slight epilepsy, characterized by
momentary loss of consciousness. Sometimes the child will be standing on its
feet, and drop heavily to the floor as if sitting down. The jolt is so severe
that it will cry. The loss of consciousness is just of long enough duration to cause
the child to lose control of its muscles. As soon as the wave has passed, the
child will sit down suddenly. It may look up and stare. It may be looking at a
picture-book with other children, and have a startled look that lasts
momentarily. It means a loss of consciousness. The child may ask for a drink,
and, as it takes the cup into its hand, if a spasm develops, the cup may drop
out of its hand. These seizures may come frequently--two or three to a dozen
times a day, often as high as twenty. It has been my experience that they have
a tendency to grow worse, unless controlled. By 'growing worse' I
mean that the unconsciousness lasts longer. There will be a twitching of the
muscles, showing that the disease is about to change from the Petit Mal
type to Grand Mal, or real convulsions, or the convulsive type.
Cause.--The cause of all cases that have ever
come under my observation is indigestion; and this is brought on from
imprudence in feeding the child. Some children are very nervous, play too hard,
use up their nerve-energy, and become enervated. This prevents perfect
digestion. Then, if fed wrongfully, irritation of the stomach and bowels will
be set up, causing reflex irritation of the brain, or cerebro-spinal centers.
Treatment.--Keep the child in
bed for a month or longer, if necessary. Fast as long as possible, and
then feed very lightly. No starch or meat is to be given. Use fruit,
vegetables, and milk. Have milk in the morning, following a little fruit, such
as prunes, apple-sauce, baked apple, or any of the fresh, raw fruits. At noon,
have a glass of milk. In the evening feed a cup of vegetable soup, made
according to the 'Cook Book.'
The child should be bathed with tepid water once a day,
and this is to be followed with dry towel-rubbing.
The bowels should be looked after. If necessary, a
small enema should be given each night and morning until the bowels are cleared
out. Then, until the child is very much better, and able to be up and eat more,
use the enema every other night.
When the convulsions cease, feed according to the
instructions in keeping with the child's age.
SEBORRHEA--A SCALP DISEASE OF
A brownish-gray scale that
develops on the heads of babies whose mothers are afraid they will hurt them by
a too vigorous use of the washcloth. The disease is due to lack of cleanliness.
If baby's head is kept clean from birth, the skin secretions will not dry and
form into an unsightly scale on the head.
Treatment.--When the dry scale has formed white
Vaseline be used, after the scalp has been thoroughly washed, using any mild
soap and soft water. For every use, from birth to deaths I know of no better
soap than Ivory. Most toilet soaps are irritating and have little to recommend
them except smell; and there are odors that make children irritable. Irritation
or overstimulation of the olfactory (smell) nerves produces enervation--the
first step on the way to developing illhealth.
Keep baby clean and free from all odors, agreeable and disagreeable.
Perfume often covers an odor of warning, and too often camouflages the
Keep the baby clean inside and out by watching the
bowel movements. When curds appear in the bowel movement, reduce the amount of
milk until digestion is perfect. A disagreeable odor from the bowel movements
means too much food; cut it down. Keep baby free from signs of overfeeding, and
then you can say to calamity-mongers and peddlers of cod-liver oil: 'My
baby will not develop any disease no, not rickets.'
Rickets come from feeding beyond the digestive power,
and curds in the stools, bad odors, and scales on the scalp are warnings.