London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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Hampstead 1914

Report for the year 1914 of the Medical Officer of Health

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The leaflet is in the following terras: —
Public Health Department.
The Prevention of Summer Diarrhoea.
Summer Diarrhœa is a very fatal disease occurring principally among young
children. Hand-fed infants are much more likely to suffer from it than those
who are being breast-fed. Breast-fed babies are much more rarely attacked,
and it is most important, therefore, not to wean babies during the hot weather.
If the baby is bottle-fed, follow the directions given in the leaflet (Advice on the
Hearing of Infants) published by the Borough Council, a copy of which will be
supplied to you upon application at the Town Hall.
Diarrhœa is so rapidly fatal among infants, that whenever it commences
medical advice must be obtained at once. Call in the doctor immediately, and
inform the Medical Officer of Health at the Town Hall. Whilst sending for the
doctor, stop giving the baby milk. Until the doctor has arrived, give egg-water
made in the following way:—Beat up the white of a raw fresh egg with a clean
fork; after beating, mix with half-a-pint of water which has been boiled and
allowed to get cold ; mix well and add half-a-spoonful of white sugar. You may
allow the child to partake of this freely every two hours.
If the baby is breast-fed keep the nipples clean, washing them before and
after feeding the baby. If bottle-fed, be scrupulously clean with the bottle and
teat. In no case use a bottle with a tube. Wash your hands carefully after
changing baby. Rinse out the napkin at once in cold water, and boil it.
Remember the disease is catching and may be conveyed by the hands to other
children, therefore, the nails of both mother and child should be kept short and
clean. A soiled napkin if left lying about may attract flies and so further spread
the disease.
Do not use any milk if you have the slightest suspicion that it is not quite
fresh. In hot weather boil all milk as soon as you receive it.
The cleanliness of the home and its surroundings and the careful protection
of food from flies are the best possible way of avoiding the disease, which is
mainly caught from contaminated food. All parts of the house must be freely
ventilated and kept as clean as possible by washing and damp-dusting.
No refuse should be allowed to remain in or about the house. Burn all you
can on the kitchen fire, and place the remainder in the dust-bin with a closefitting
lid. Keep the yard well swept and washed down. All water-closets with
defective flushes, or obstructions in the drainage, should be at once reported to
the Medical Officer of Health. If the dust is not regularly removed, report at
once to the Town Hall.