Very little sympathy is bestowed on an unfortunate who has taken a cold is his head. It is a humiliating thing, and he feels it, also, what is worse, his friends share his feeling, and despise him (secretly, of course) as much as he despises himself, and vote him a nuisance. It must have been mere stupidity on his part, they feel, that made him catch the cold-if it was not sheer malice-just on purpose to annoy them with hi sneezing and continual nose-moppings.
Now, if the chill he had taken had only gone to his lungs, and laid him with pneumonia, the same friends would have been all sympathy and devotion, and the doctor would have been summoned post-haste. And yet the misery, though not the danger, of a old in the head is quite as great s that of pneumonia, and generally lasts much longer, and the victim is no less deserving of sympathy in the former case than in the latter.
Besides the humiliation, a cold is such a waster of time. Whatever a man may be doing, every few minutes his nose must be attended to and his eyes wiped before the work can be gone on with.
An artist at his easel, or an author at his desk, must drop pen or brush every little while, whatever may be the high inspirations that are crying within for utterance. Finally, there is the depression that some suffers feel when seized with a cold in the head. It is sometimes quite terrible. Life is not worth living for them; and I should not be surprised if the true explanation of the many inscrutable cases of suicide we read of in the papers was not to be found in this as, a lest, a partial cause.
When the combined wisdom of jury and coroner can assign “no cause for the rash act, ” it might help them to something definite if they were to ask whether the deceased had not had a severe cold in his head at the time.
We speak of a cold in the head as if there was only one kind of cold; but the fact is, there is an infinite variety. Every almost has something characteristic about the course and progress of his unassisted cold. he orthodox cold is the one which begins, after sitting in a draught, with a creeping chilly feeling up the back, culminating in a sneeze. Then there is a lull in the proceedings; but the nose never feels quite easy, and by-and-by another sneeze announces that the damage is really done.
Soon a “contest between the Eyes and Nose” sets in. as to which can run the fastest; then the running slackens, the nose becomes stopped by swelling of mucous membrane, which afterwards relieves itself by giving off a thick secretion. But for days there is a susceptibility. The faintest airs are felt as thorough draughts and set the patient of sneezing. He can’t get away from the thought of his nose, try how he will. It is the last thing he thinks of at night, and the first that thing claims his thoughts in the morning; and his goes on indefinitely, depending much on the time of the year, the state of the weather, and the treatment he receives. Sometimes, in spite of everything, it goes on day after day until he begins to think it will really never end.
This is the orthodox. Very often the first thing to announce a cold is the sneeze, no preliminary chill having been felt. And, again, some people begin to feel a cold first in the throat, and it gradually works its way upwards and forwards.
The influenza cold I do not rank as a distinct variety It is fashion to call very severe colds “influenza,” and to attribute them to the prevalence of “ozone clouds.” Certain it is that colds do prevail in epidemic fashion, and at times seem to come independently of any distinct chill.
But “once taken, the cold is indistinguishable from any other severe cold by its characteristics.
There is also the :catching” cold; for some colds, at any rate, are infectious. It is well known that when a cold of this description once appears in a family-often first in the person of the domestic cat-it “goes through the house,” every member of that household feeling its effects sooner or later.
Epidemic influenza (which is also infectious) I shall deal with later on, in a section b itself. The name of the disease, and the way in which it became associated with ordinary colds, I have already discussed in the preface to this volume.
This is an inquiring age, and doubtless the question will be put to me-What is a cold in the head ? The principal feature is a swollen and congested condition of the mucous membrane lining the nostrils and the air spaces connected with them, with increased irritability of the membrane lining the nostrils and the air spaces connected with them, with increased irritability of the membrane and increased wit them, with increased irritability of the membrane and increased and altered secretion. The “full” sensation in the head is due to extension in the head is due to extension of the swelling along the off shoots of the nasal mucous membrane, which like the cavities in the skull bones.- those, for instance, which lie in the frontal bone, where it forms the prominences of the eyebrows. The deafness which sometimes accompanies a cold in the head depends on swelling of the mucous membrane which lines the tube passing from the back of the nose to the ear.
The chilliness and sensitiveness of the skin which accompany cold in the head indicate that the affection is constitutional as well as local, and show that some change has been brought about in the vital resisting power.
Snuff or pepper will make a person sneeze, and set up mucous secretion for the time; but in this case the action is local only and not constitutional, and no cold has early been taken. though the symptoms, a far as the nose is concerned, are identical. It is this fact of the constitutional character of a cold that makes the selection of the remedy often a matter of some difficulty.
The cold medicines, such as Aconite, Arsenicum and Mercurius, each effect the system generally as well as locally, and cause all the constitutional symptoms of cold, and yet all differently from one another. Consequently, in choosing remedy for cold, we must bear in mind the constitutional symptoms of the patient and the constitutional symptoms of the drugs.
The simple irritation of the nasal mucous membrane, with slight mucous secretion often experienced in the beginning of cold weather, does not constitute cold. It is analogous to the chapping of the hands, and is purely a local effect.
In some instances one attack of cold appears to be protective against other attacks. A person has regularly at the beginning of winter one cold. this, in a week or two,is got, over, and then he goes the rest of the year round without having another attack.
Having said this much regarding the pathology of Cold in the head we can say little more. Why chilling o the surface of the body should sometimes be followed by all this train of symptoms is one of the many points in medical affairs still in the region of speculation. the Lancet the other day promised us that, ” thanks to the researches of German experimenters”, “scientific doctors” might hope to be able, “in the near future,” to tell whether any given stomach was out of order or not.
At present we know pretty well whether we have a cold in the head or not without the assistance of a “scientific physician,”but if these German experimenters take up the subject of a Cold in the Head, it is possible that ” in the near future” we shall be near future: we unable to have scientific assurance even of that. Let us hope they will leave it alone. For our purposes it is enough to know when we have got a cold, how to cure it when we have got it, and how to avoid getting another.