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Source: 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.
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