--An old physician, writing to the Alexandria Gazette from Mason county, Va.
This section of our State has been remarkably healthy, until quite lately, when it has been visited by a disease deemed by many to be a new one; but this is altogether a fallacy.
I allude to a malady called diphtheria, and by the French diphtheria.
The doctors disagree as to the character of this disease, as they are too often apt to do regarding the ills that flesh is heir to. But it is indisputably a modification of scarlatina, or the putrid variety of Richter,
a very old author, and, therefore, an old disease instead of a new one.
And, in plain English
, it is nothing more nor less than the putrid sore throat,
one of the most appalling and dangerous maladies that can possibly visit any community.
There is nothing new in it with me, as I have been familiar with it, at different periods, for upwards of fifty-six years--a period in which I have been engaged in the study and practice of medicine.
In a communication like the present, I can only drop a few remarks respecting the treatment of this terrible disease, which has already proved so fatal in several instances, in this and other neighboring counties, as well as on the Ohio
side of the river.
A man of the name of Swartz
lost both of his sons with it--one nearly of age, and the other sixteen--only a few days ago.
Emetics are eminently useful in this disease, and the earlier they are resorted to, the more beneficial will be their effects; indeed, they may be recurred to occasionally throughout the whole course of the disease.
The bowels should be kept in a soluble state by the milder
But all active purging should be avoided.
When the fever is on, administer cooling, acidulated drinks — lemonade, cold water, and a little ice. In the apyrexia,
or when the system flags with much prostration, exhibit warm, stimulating teas, and drinks.
The local treatment.--I employ various local applications; but to mention a few of them must suffice.
Make a strong solution of the sulphate of lime, with a plentiful addition of honey, and use as a gargle several times; or dissolve two drachms of sal ammonia in a pint of water, sweeten well also with honey, and gargle the throat three or four times a day with it. These gargles may be employed alternately.
The external applications to the throat may be the volatile liniment, or the camphorated liniment.
But when the neck is very hot, it should be kept as cool as possible, even when making these topical applications.