The Care and Feeding of Children eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 97 pages of information about The Care and Feeding of Children.

What besides water and milk should a child be allowed to drink and what should be forbidden?

Tea, coffee, wine, beer and cider in all quantities and in all forms should be forbidden to young children below puberty.  Cocoa which is made very weak, i.e., almost all milk, is often useful as a hot drink.  Lemonade, soda-water, etc., should if possible be deferred until the tenth year.  A free indulgence in things of this kind should never be permitted with children of seven or eight years.

INDIGESTION IN OLDER CHILDREN

What are the different ways in which indigestion shows itself in children?

First, in acute disturbances which last for a few days only; and, secondly, in chronic disturbances which may continue for weeks or months.

Which of the two forms of indigestion is more likely to impair seriously the health of the child?

Chronic indigestion; for since the cause is not recognized it often goes on for months and even years unchecked.

What are the symptoms of acute indigestion?

These are familiar and easily recognized.  They are vomiting, pain, undigested movements from the bowels, often fever and considerable prostration.

Such attacks are usually traceable to their proper cause, the removal of which is followed by prompt recovery.

What are the common causes of acute indigestion?

This is frequently due to overeating, to indulgence in some special article of improper food, or to eating heartily when overtired.  Acute indigestion often marks the beginning of some acute general illness.

How should acute indigestion be managed?

One should bear in mind that for the time being the digestive organs have stopped work altogether.  The important thing, therefore, is to clear out from the intestines all undigested food by some active cathartic, such as castor oil.  The stomach has usually emptied itself by vomiting.  All food should be stopped for from twelve to thirty-six hours, according to the severity of the attack, only water being given.

At the end of this time is it safe to begin with the former diet?

No; for such a procedure is almost certain to cause another attack of indigestion.  At first only broth, thin gruel, very greatly diluted milk, or whey should be given.  The diet may be very slowly but gradually increased as the child’s appetite and digestion improve, but in most cases a week or ten days should elapse before the full diet is resumed.

What are the symptoms of chronic indigestion?

These, although familiar, are not so easily distinguished and are very often attributed to the wrong cause.  There are usually general symptoms such as indisposition, disturbed sleep, grinding of the teeth, fretfulness, languor, loss of weight and anaemia.  There are besides local symptoms:  flatulence, abdominal pain, abdominal distention, constipation, or looseness of the bowels with mucus in the stools, foul breath, coated tongue, loss of appetite, or an abnormal capricious appetite.  Such symptoms are often wrongly ascribed to intestinal worms.

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The Care and Feeding of Children from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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