Sources: Papers On Health
The covering of oiled silk, or guttapercha, so
frequently placed over wet bandages when these are applied to any part
of the body, is not only useless, but often positively hurtful. It is
true that the waterproof covering retains the moisture in the bandage,
but it is also true that great heat is developed, and the waste
products in the perspiration are retained on the surface of the skin.
The effect of this is injurious in a very high degree. A little soft
old linen for the wet bandage, with a piece of double new flannel over
it, will leave all the pores of the skin open, and allow all waste
products to pass away freely, while the heat and moisture are retained
as much as necessary.
In other cases two folds of moist flannel next to skin, and two folds
of the same, dry, above the moist ones, will make an excellent bandage.
This applied all over the abdomen, in case of abdominal dropsy, will
have a most beneficial result.
The reason why we often say new flannel is simply that few know how to
wash it so as to retain its soft and porous nature as it is when good
and new. That softness and porousness may be retained in a very easy
way. When you have put your soiled flannel through two good washings
with soap in the usual way, dip it in clean boiling water, and finish
cleaning it with that dipping. You will have it white and fine as when
M'Clinton's soap, being made from plant ashes and not from soda, is
much less liable to shrink and harden flannel; in fact, it is best for
all fine washing.