Red Nose and Cheeks (Acne rosacea, Rosacea)
( Originally Published 1927 )
Description.-Red nose and cheeks is another skin disease that appears on the face. However, the eruptions are not scattered in any fashion but usually center about the middle vertical third of the face. Various portions of the face are commonly affected but the nose seems to suffer most often and most intensely.
This condition is rather peculiar. Usually some poison enters the blood, most often from the intestines (the bowels), and somehow this toxin (poison) affects the tubes that carry the blood (blood vessels), whereby they lose the power to ad-just their caliber as occasions demand. They be-come overstretched and more blood than is normal enters, which results in a redness of the part affected, i.e., the face. At first, this redness lasts but for a short while as this poison is not sufficiently strong to paralyze the blood vessels completely.
This state of affairs may last for many weeks, months, or even years.
At this stage, complete disappearance of the redness is possible. Usually, however, this affection progresses so that the redness becomes permanent. A curious feature about this redness is that the color is usually heightened when changing from a hot room to a cold room or vice versa. The stretched state of the blood vessels of the face shows itself in another fashion, especially about and on the nose. Here one often sees dilated and broken arteries and veins which are rather disfiguring. Nature uses up the extra blood in the blood vessels to speed up the function of certain special elements of the face. The oil glands are made to work overtime so that more oily material is manufactured, and this results in an oiliness and shiny appearance of the face, especially the nose. Other structures are also stimulated so that solid eruptions appear here and there, some of which have pusy heads. This stage may last for an indefinite time.
Finally, the nose enlarges or growths appear here and there over it. To this condition the name "rummy nose" has been applied.
Causes.—Considerable space is given to the discussion of the causes of this affection, with the hope that attention to our remarks will aid in lessening the incidence of this malady. This affliction often follows the long-continued habit of eating foods highly seasoned, of drinking excessive amounts of tea or coffee, and overindulgence in alcoholic beverages. Women near or at the menopause, who subject themselves to frequent nervous excitement, may suffer from this condition. Exposure to excessive heat or cold, or to driving winds are also factors. This skin disease is rare before the age of thirty. The milder forms are more common in women while the more severe cases are seen in men.
If this malady is treated early, it yields to judicious management and can be cured. If moderately advanced, great benefit may be derived, but in the last stages treatment can accomplish but little.
Suggestions for Prevention.—In the management of this affection, the regulation of the diet is of the greatest importance. Spices, hot drinks, alcohol, tea, coffee, excessive amounts of sweets, starchy as well as fried foods are contraindicated. The bowels should be kept freely active and other digestive errors should be corrected under the guidance of a physician. Avoiding exposure to great heat or cold is also advisable. For treatment, the patient is advised to consult a skin specialist.
Hives, Nettle Rash (Urticaria).—Introduction.—The appearance of persons afflicted with hives must prove terrifying to those unfamiliar with this skin condition. It is indeed consoling that, in spite of the intense suffering, this disease, as a rule, yields to treatment in about one week. It is not our intention to minimize the sufferings of this affliction, nor to give the impression that hives may not, at times, prove a rather serious condition and Iast for many months. Fortunately, such a severe course is rather unusual.
Description.—Let us pay a social call to a friend afflicted with hives. Our first impression is that the patient does not look unusually ill, but possibly considerably upset. He is digging and scratching his skin here and there. In the desire to impress us with the seriousness of his affliction, he uncovers his body and we note swellings, some round, some oval, and some resembling lines. Upon close inspection, these spots appear white in the center and red at the border. During the conversation, our friend tells us that wherever he scratches, new eruptions appear and that a few hours previously, the greater number were on the chest and now they are on the legs. Sleep he cannot because of the intense itching. He informs us that his lips swelled for several hours the day previously, and that to-day his tongue was similarly affected.
What Causes Hives?—Hives usually result from a poison which travels in the blood and so paralyzes the blood vessels that the serum (the watery part of the blood) escapes and enters the tissues of the skin. This results in the tremendous characteristic swellings previously described. Even when no eruptions appear, they can be reproduced by slight irritations such as friction, scratching, warmth of the bed, and pressure of the bed covers. As soon as the serum leaves the skin and reenters the blood vessels, the hives disappear.
This poison usually results from eating decomposed food, from oversensitiveness to some of the simplest articles of diet, and from upset digestion with intestinal poisoning. For instance, straw-berries may cause hives in those who are susceptible. The eating of such foods as lobster, crab, mussels, cheese, sausage, pork, nuts, oatmeal, eggs, mushrooms, caviar, shrimp, salt fish, clams, oysters, or similar foods, may be responsible. Intestinal worms may occasionally cause hives and various medicines and antitoxins may act similarly. Hives which last a long while are usually caused either by intestinal poisoning, by the upsetting of the nervous system, or by diseases of the kidneys.
Suggestions for Prevention.—The best preventive for hives lies in exercising care in the food eaten, to watch peculiar reactions after certain articles of diet, and to keep an eye on the condition of the digestion and especially constipation.