Inflammation or ulceration of the large intestines, with straining, and sometimes discharge of mucus and blood and scarcely any real faecal matter. The disease often appears in epidemics, affecting armies on the march, or travellers in malarious districts; it is endemic (a commonly occurring disease) in certain parts, chiefly seaport towns in hot latitudes, and is mostly traceable to sanitary defects.
Diagnosis.-Dysentery cannot well be mistaken for any other disease. In typhoid fever there is often passage of large quantities of blood, but in this case there is much fever and absence of pain. In piles there is loss of blood with stool, but the presence of piles is generally recognised, and the motions are of the ordinary kind, the blood being separate.
General Treatment.-Whenever dysentery makes its appearance see that the water is good, and if not certain about it, have it boiled and afterwards filtered, the filter being a new one, or not long in use. All outhouses must be carefully disinfected. It is also necessary to guard against chills, for there may be the conditions of dysentery present, and yet it may require something such as a chill to determine an attack. Unripe fruit must also be avoided. The diet must be confined to gruel and farinaceous food, with as much cold water as the patient likes. When he is recovering, mutton broth may be given, and the return to ordinary diet gradually permitted. In the great straining that occurs sometimes during convalescence, injections of linseed-tea are very soothing.
Medicines.- (Every hour until relief is obtained, then less often.)
-Greenish-looking matter mixed with blood; more straining after each motion than before.
-Much straining before and during stool; great relief after.
Mercurius cor.3- Severe colicky pains; first much bile, and then blood and slime, or light-coloured blood alone, or nothing but slime.
-After a chill; heat; thirst; red face.
-Extreme pains in the bowels; patients double themselves up; stool slimy, sometimes mixed with blood.
In all chronic cases which resist other medicines; much urging and ineffectual straining; worse at night; aversion to beer, meat, milk, sweet and warm things, malt liquors, and wine.