Part 1 – The Countenance

In health the countenance of a child is expressive of calmness in mind and body but if the child be unwell this expression will be changed in a manner which, to a certain extent, will indicate what part of the system is at fault.

If there is pain, the brows will be contracted and seat is in the head. This is frequently the very first noticeable sign of any thing being wrong and will occur at the very beginning of disease.  If therefore remarked at an early period and proper remedies used, its notice may prevent one of the most fearful of infantile complaints “Water in the Head.”

If this sign is passed by unheeded and the above disease be threatened, soon the eyes will become fixed and staring. The head hot and moved uneasily from side to side upon the pillow or lie heavily upon the nurse’s arm. The child will start in its sleep, grinding its teeth and awake alarmed and screaming. Its face will be flushed, particularly the cheeks (as if rouged). Its hands become hot but feet cold and its bowels obstinately costive or its motions scanty, dark-coloured and foul.

If the lips are drawn apart, so as to show the teeth or gums, the seat of the pain is in the belly. This sign, however, will only be present during the actual existence of suffering. If, therefore, there be any doubt whether it exist, press upon the stomach and watch the effect on the expression of the countenance.

If the pain arises simply from irritation of the bowels excited from indigestion, it will be temporary and the sign will go and come just as the spasm may occur and slight remedial measures will give relief.

If, however, the disease be more serious and inflammation follow, this sign will be more constantly present and soon the countenance will become pale or sallow and sunken. The child will dread motion, and lie upon its back with the knees bent up to the belly. The tongue will be loaded and in breathing, while the chest will be seen to heave with more than usual effort, the muscles of the belly will remain perfectly quiescent.

If the nostrils are drawn upwards and in quick motion, pain exists in the chest. This sign, however, will generally be the accompaniment of inflammation of the chest in which case the countenance will be discoloured. The eyes more or less staring and the breathing will be difficult and hurried. If the child’s mode of respiring be watched, the chest will be observed to be unmoved, while the belly quickly heaves with every inspiration.

Convulsions (Fits) are generally preceded by some changes in the countenance. The upper lip will be drawn up and is occasionally bluish or livid. Then there may be slight squinting, or a singular rotation of the eye upon its own axis; alternate flushing or paleness of the face; and sudden animation followed by languor.

These signs will sometimes manifest themselves many hours, nay days, before the attack occurs; may be looked upon as premonitory; and if timely noticed, and suitable medical aid resorted to, the occurrence of a fit may be altogether prevented.

The state of the eyes should always be attended to. In health they are clear and bright but in disease they become dull and give a heavy appearance to the countenance though after long continued irritation they will assume a degree of quickness which is very remarkable and a sort of pearly brightness which is better known from observation than it can be from description.

The direction of the eyes, too, should be regarded, for from this we may learn something. When the infant is first brought to the light, both eyes are scarcely ever directed to the same object. This occurs without any tendency to disease and merely proves that regarding one object with both eyes is only an acquired habit. But when the child has come to that age when the eyes are by habit directed to the same object, and afterwards it loses that power, this circumstance alone may be looked upon as a frequent prelude to disease affecting the head.

I hope this will give some idea about the signs of dieses (diseases) in new born baby (infant). Please read other parts of “sign of diseases”. Please read our articles about The Countenance, The Stools, The Sleep and The Breathing and Cough.

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