676. Precautions to be Observed in Giving Medicines.
677. Sex.--Medicines for females should not be so strong as those for males, therefore it is advisable to reduce the doses about one-third.
678. Temperament.--Persons of a phlegmatic temperament bear stimulants and purgatives better than those of a sanguine temperament, therefore the latter require smaller doses.
679. Habits.--Purgatives never act so well upon persons accustomed to take them as upon those who are not, therefore it is better to change the form of purgative from pill to potion, powder to draught, or aromatic to saline. Purgatives should never be given when there is an irritable state of the bowels.
680. Stimulants and Narcotics never act so quickly upon persons accustomed to use spirits freely as upon those who live abstemiously.
681. Climate.--The action of medicines is modified by climate and seasons. In summer, certain medicines act more powerfully than in winter, and the same person cannot bear the dose in July that he could in December.
682. General Health.--Persons whose general health is good bear stronger doses than the debilitated and those who have suffered for a long time.
683. Idiosyncrasy.--By this is meant a peculiar temperament or disposition not common to people generaly. For example, some persons cannot take calomel in the smallest dose without being salivated, or rhubarb without having convulsions; others cannot take squills, opium, senna, &c.; and this peculiarity is called the patients idiosyncrasy, therefore it is wrong to insist upon their taking these medicines.
684. Forms best suited for Administration.--Fluids act quicker than solids, and powders sooner than pills.
685. Best Method for Preventing the Nauseous Taste of Medicines.--Castor oil may be taken in milk, coffee, or spirit, such as brandy; but the best method of covering the nauseous flavour is to put a tablespoonful of strained orange juice in a wineglass, pour the castor oil into the centre of the juice, and then squeeze a few drops of lemon juice upon the top of the oil. The wineglass should then be dipped, rim downwards, into water, so that the interior may be wetted. Cod liver oil may be taken, like castor oil, in orange juice. Peppermint water neutralizes, to a great extent, the nauseous taste of Epsom salts; a strong solution of extract of liquorice, that of aloes; milk, that of cinchona bark; and cloves that of senna.
686. An Excellent Way to Prevent the Taste of Medicines is to have the medicine in a glass, as usual, and a tumbler of water by the side of it; take the medicine, and retain it in the mouth, which should be kept closed, and if drinking the water be then commenced, the taste of the medicine is washed away. Even the bitterness of quinine and aloes may be prevented by this means. If the nostrils are firmly compressed by the thumb and finger of the left hand, while taking a nauseous draught, and so retained till the mouth has been washed out with water, the disagreeable taste of the medicine will be almost imperceptible.
687. Giving Medicine to Persons.--Medicines should be given in such a manner that the effect of the first dose shall not have ceased when the next dose is given, therefore the intervals between the doses should be regulated accordingly.