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

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Southgate 1898

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Southgate]

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Measles and Whooping Cough.
Important Advice to Parents and Guardians.
Measles and Whooping Cough are very infectious, and although, when care is taken,
generally mild diseases, are very liable to be attended with dangerous complications; chiefly on this account,
these diseases cause many deaths, and in London alone over 2,500 deaths each occur every year from
Measles and Whooping Cough. These two diseases, therefore, kill more children than Typhoid Fever, Smallpox,
and Diphtheria combined; and where death does not result, it may happen, through neglect, that the child's
constitution is injured for life. Most of these deaths and permanent ill effects could be easily
prevented if those in charge of children possessed the necessary knowledge and exercised the necessary care,
and the object of this handbill is to shew how children may be saved from permanently weakened constitutions
or death when Measles or Whooping Cough attacks them.
How to tell when a Child has caught Measles.
About a week after exposure to the infection the child becomes unwell and feverish, with red and watery
eyes, running at the nose, and sometimes headache, sneezing, and a slight cough—just as if the child had
caught a bad cold. Not till 3 or 4 days after this does the rash appear, beginning on the face and
rapidly spreading over the whole body, and gradually dying away again in 3 or 4 days.
Dangerous Complications which may arise from Measles-
The chief danger is from inflammation of the lungs. Sometimes also inflammation of the eyes
or ears occur, which may lead to blindness or deafness.
What to do when a Child has caught Measles.
As soon as Measles is suspected, the child should be separated from all other children, clothed in a flannel
garment, put to bed in a warm room out of all draughts, and a doctor consulted. Owing to the frequency
of grave complications, parents or guardians who neglect to place their children under medical
care act very unwisely and wrongly. While feverish and thirsty the child may have as much cold water
or home-made lemonade as it likes, in small quantities at a time. The diet should be light and nutritious. It
is very important to keep the child warm and confined to one room until convalescent.
When the child is up and about again it should be very carefully guarded against chills for some weeks.
Manuel should be worn next the skin, and if the child does not soon regain its good health, medical advice
should be sought.