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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 1 (April 1, 1935)

Health Notes — Autumn Ailments.

Health Notes.

Autumn Ailments.

As we approach the autumn and winter months, the subject of colds, coughs, chills, and like ills, cannot be entirely ignored. Especially where children are concerned, the fight against the cold germ cannot be relaxed. In children, colds turn frequently to bronchitis, and more serious illnesses are the direct cause of ill-health in later life. It is also necessary to keep the little folk away from infection, as many of the infectious diseases of childhood are ushered in by a common cold.

An open-air life is the enemy of germs of all descriptions. Fresh air helps to keep the body fit to withstand the invasion of enemy bacteria. Moving and changing air carries away the microbes. A clean, healthy body makes a poor breeding place for microbes.

Diet is an important factor. In the winter there is generally an inclination to increase the starchy ration. Include as much fresh fruit (especially apples and oranges) and raw and cooked green vegetables, as possible in the daily menu.

Clothing is also another important item. Do not coddle in cold weather with extra layers of thick underclothing. Have a lightly-woven porous garment next the skin. Two, or at the most three, layers of clothing are all that are necessary. On a cold day an extra woollen cardigan or jersey is all that is necessary out-of-doors. A healthy child keeps warm with exercise.

If a child complains of an unusually chilly feeling, the best thing is to give a warm bath, taking care to prevent chilling afterwards. Have ready a warm bed, with a hot water bottle. Keep the room well ventilated and the window open all the time, keeping the bed out of the way of a draught. If necessary give a laxative.

A light, nourishing diet is required, such as broth, custard and light milk puddings, and plenty of drinks—water, barley water, fruit drinks, milk, etc. Withhold all solid food for a day or two.

If there is a tickling or irritating cough, black-currant tea (made with jam or jelly and boiling water) is a homely and efficacious remedy, also a mixture of glycerine, honey and lemon juice is effective. For a slightly sore throat, gargling with a mild antiseptic, such as salt and water has a soothing effect for the child who is old enough to be trusted not to swallow the gargle.

A chest cold or cough, if there is a temperature, really calls for medical advice, as there is a risk of bronchitis. An inhalation of Friar's Balsam (one teaspoon to a pint of boiling water) gives relief. To give an inhalation, place a paper with a small hole cut in the corner, over the receptacle that holds the inhalant. Inhale the steam directly into the nose and into the lungs. If an inhalant is given in this way, the pores of the skin of the face are not opened, thus preventing chilling.

For a severe sore throat, it is advisable to isolate the child, as it is often an early sign of one of the infectious diseases. If there are white spots or patches on the throat, the doctor should be sent for immediately.

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