Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Children's Winter Maladies 1811

Tuesday, February 11, 2014
View at Internet Archive
Loretta reports:

This being prime cold and flu season, I wondered what the average Regency-era physician might encounter in his practice.  The Medical Report for January-February gives an inkling of one reason so many children failed to survive into adulthood.  In the days before intravenous feeding, dehydration was often fatal.  At least some physicians were on the right track about this (and horribly wrong about other ailments), as well as understanding the difficulties of feeding a sick, miserable child. 

The medical commentary here made me wonder as well whether it was lack of antibiotics or lack of a way to combat swift dehydration that killed so many people during the 1830s cholera epidemics. 

Read at Internet Archive

Clicking on the captions will allow you to read at the source, where you can enlarge images as needed.


Unknown said...

My father is big into genealogy. As he is going through birth and death records, I am always dismayed at the kids who died from "teething" in the 1800s. Just makes me sad.

Sarah said...

I wouldn't mind betting that it was at least half an inability to address dehydration. I'm setting up to do a series with the background of a charity school so this is extremely useful

Unknown said...

Certainly the primary issue would have been a lack of adequate treatment, ie, antibiotics. But the cause of death was (and still is in many parts of the world) dehydration, which infants and children are especially vulnerable to.

Liz said...

Having suffered through severe dehydration on multiple occasions, I can tell you that getting re-hydrated is horrible! Cholera and similar gastrointestinal illnesses are particularly nasty because you already feel ill at the sight of food and drink. After a while, drinking water or even tea become a torture and you get really sleepy. You literally can't stay awake. That's dangerous because people want to let a sick person "rest." I can see that it would be very easy for someone to sleep themselves to death, especially if family members don't know to wake them up regularly and force them to drink something. By that point, intravenous fluids are pretty much the only thing that would help, but that technology was far into the future. :(

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