Wednesday, 22 August 1866
For The Herald.
Osceola, August 20.
Cholera – Its Causes and Treatment.
Knowing that the “King of Terror” is now stalking swiftly over this State as
well as many others, and knowing, too, that if there be one disease
concerning the causes, treatment and prevention of which the people ought to
be better posted than any other one, that one is cholera. – The reason for
this is too obvious to need explanation.
I, sirs, propose with your permission to state in a concise and plain way,
some of the principal causes of the disease, to tell some of the “signs” of
its approach; what should not be eaten, and what should be done on its
apparent symptoms, and what should be done when it violently attacks its
Space forbears any but a short outline of the points named to be treated in
this article, but as this is intended to be of practical use, it need not be
What is cholera? An affection of the Alimentary Canal, characterized by
frequent and violent vomiting and purging, and cramps in the bowels and
extremities. It is usually very sudden in its appearance.
Pain and tightness of the bowels are the first symptoms, violent colic pains
follow, then comes extreme nausea; after which, in quick succession, purging
and vomiting commence with extreme violence, and continue with but very
short intervals, until great prostration of the system causes its relief but
not speedily given.
The discharges from the bowels at first are thin and watery containing
scarcely any bile; after a few hours, however they frequently consist nearly
entirely of bilious matter. Thirst is great but the stomach is hard to make
retain anything taken therein.
“High atmospheric temperature is the principal agent in its production” say
some authors, but we believe with many eminent writers “that elevated
temperature acts rather as an essential ‘predisposing’ than as an exciting
cause of the disease.”
Cool and damp night air, and the exposure to a current of fresh air after
the action of the skin and liver have been over-excited, by the previous
influence of the sun’s heat and exercise, should be avoided, for without any
kind of doubt this is one of the most common exciting causes of the disease.
While the liver and skin are in a high state of activity the body should not
be suddenly exposed to cold air, for if it is, the sudden stoppage of the
action of said functions causes the blood to leave the extreme vessels and
go to the internal ones, which become engorged, and the mucus membrane of
the alimentary canal is thereby strongly congested. In twenty-four hours a
patient dies, or is mending, as a general thing, and they frequently die in
Lose no time in allaying the irritability of the stomach and bowels; make
the skin and liver act; draw the blood from the internal to the external
vessels, and place a large mustard plaster over the stomach and liver.
If it comes just after dinner, and indigestible food has been taken, give
chamomile tea freely. When the stomach and bowels have been evacuated, give
from 80 to 100 drops of laudanum. If vomiting occurs, soon after the first
dose, give from 30 to 40 drops every fifteen minutes, until its effects are
seen or felt.
Hot brandy and spices do harm unless they be given simply to support the
sinking system. Rub the bowels with turpentine and the arms, feet, legs and
hands, with tincture of Cayenne pepper.
When the pulse sinks and the extremities get cold, wrap the patient in
flannels soaked in hot brandy and stimulate him with a solution of Gum
Camphor in vitriolic ether.
Make said solution and have it ready for use; to make it take one dram of
camphor and dissolve it in one ounce of ether, then give a teaspoonful every
half hour until the patient improves. Let nothing be drank for thirty
minutes after taking the laudanum and the solution of camphor. While the
vomiting and purging is severe mild mucilaginous fluids in a warm state
should be given. When the disease subsides take light diet, animal broths
are best, wear flannel next to the skin, keep out of the sun and take a few
grains of blue mass occasionally.
Hastily have I thrown those items together but if the directions here laid
down be followed vigorously not in a timid manner and the patient dies, you
then can have the consolation of knowing you did all you could.
Go to the Drug Store and get your remedies, for if you wait to get them
until the disease is on you, you then need not send for them, for before, in
most cases, you can get them you will have passed that stream, from the
other side of which no tidings come. So “in time of peace prepare for war”.
Hoping that some one having more time and ability to give useful
instructions in respect to the disease of which I write I will add no more.