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Source: Papers On Health
In all fevers, to cool down the excessive heat of the patient
(see Heat, Internal) is the best process of treatment. This may be
best done by continued cooling of the head. Have a towel well wrung out
of cold water. Fold it so as to envelop the head. Press it gently to
the head all round, changing the place of pressure frequently. Have a
second towel ready, and continue cooling with freshly cooled towels
perhaps for an hour or an hour-and-a-half. Then leave the last cold
towel on, and put a dry towel above it. The next cooling, when the
fever heat again arises, may be given, if it can be managed, by placing
a cold towel along the spine. Cover this with a dry one, and let the
patient lie on it. Change this, though not quite so frequently as in
the case of the head. Work carefully and gently, so as not to annoy
the patient. If ice can be had, it may be put in the water used to cool
the cloths. If the feet be cold, foment them in a blanket (see
Fomentation). Keep this on the feet for an hour. There will most likely
be great relief with even one course of such treatment. It must,
however, be persevered in until the fever be conquered. In any case
of fever, when a patient is too weak to bear the hot fomentation and
cold towels, we would recommend rubbing the feet and limbs if cold with
hot oil, and the stomach and chest, and if possible the back with soap
lather. It is well at first to soap the stomach only, and for some
time; and each time till the last it is well to wipe off what you have
rubbed on, so that the skin may be as clean as possible for the next.
To do this only once is often quite sufficient to soothe, so that the
patient falls off into a gentle, natural sleep.
Now, no one need imagine that there is any difficulty in the way of
anyone carrying out the right treatment. We have known a young sister
who saw her brother brought home in fever. The medical man predicted a
long and serious illness, and the necessity of being prepared for all
the usual features of such a case. The sister heard all in thoughtful
silence, but when the doctor went away she said to herself, "May not I
lower this flame? At any rate I will try." So through the night she so
effectually cooled her brother's head that when the medical man came
next day he expressed his most agreeable disappointment, saying, "It is
to be a very light case after all." So it turned out to be, but it
would not have been so but for that brave sister's aid. We cannot but
earnestly beseech all who have the opportunity to go and do likewise.
Often, especially among the poor, dirt and hot, close air have made the
fever room a source of frightful danger to all around. Absolute
cleanliness, abundance of pure air, and disinfection of the stools,
should always be attended to.
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