Sources: Papers On Health

Let us suppose a swelling appears on some part of the body or

limbs, but that there is no discoloration or symptom of the gathering

of the dead material beneath it. If it be cut open, a wound is made

which is often very difficult to heal. Avoid then, cutting in such

cases. If the swelling develops under FOMENTATION (see), the uncut

flesh through which it will then break will be in a better state

eventually for healing than if cut. Where corrupt matter is clearly

present, and in seeking an outlet is endangering the surrounding

healthy tissue, the cutting open of the swelling will, on the other

hand, greatly relieve, and conduce to a more speedy cure. This is best

performed by a thoroughly good surgeon. Thorough syringing of the

cavity from which the matter comes out (see Wounds, Syringing) is the

best means of cure, aided by thorough heating of the swelling and

surrounding parts with moist heat for an hour or more twice a day. This

heating must embrace a large part of the limb or body, as the case may

be. If the trouble be on the hip or groin, the armchair FOMENTATION

(see) should be employed. Other parts should be treated on the same

liberal principle of heating (see Fomentation).

Rich diet is extremely hurtful. Egg switched in cream, rum, brandy, and

such things are to be carefully avoided. Alcoholic liquors are

especially fatal. See Alcohol; Assimilation; Diet; Drinks: Foods,


Oatmeal jelly (see Food in Illness), wheaten meal porridge, Saltcoats

biscuits (see Biscuits and Water), form the best nutrients in such

cases. These are really much stronger diet than the egg, brandy, etc.

If the abscess be in the foot or leg, with indications of diseased

bone, the leg should be bathed in hot water up to the knee. Dissolve a

piece of M'Clinton's soap in the water used, and let it be as hot as

can be borne. After drying, rub the limb gently yet firmly with olive

oil for five minutes. Dress with oil, lint, and a proper bandage.

We have seen a limb which threatened the very life of the patient

treated as above. The general symptoms abated almost immediately;

growth, as well as healing, set in, and the limb was quite restored to

its normal condition. But patient persistence in treatment is needed

for a bad case.

If under bathing or fomentation the abscess seems to swell, such is

only the natural progress of cure, and should not be regarded as

increase of the trouble. Where the swelling shews undoubted signs of

diseased matter below the surface, it may be opened as above directed.

We know of limbs that have been long distorted, and under rubbing and

fomenting they are becoming gradually all they ought to be. No one need

fear that by such treatment they will grow worse. See Armpit

Swelling; Bone, Diseased; Knee; Limbs, Inflamed, etc.