Sources: Papers On Health

Some general remarks on this important treatment we give

here. First, no fomenting should be done for at least an hour after a

meal. And it should usually be followed by a period of complete rest. A

very good way to foment any part of the back or front of the body is by

an india-rubber bag of hot water of the proper size and shape, with two

or three ply of moist flannel between the bag and the skin. These bags

can now be had of very various sizes and shapes, and one or more should

be in every house. In fomenting a knee, foot, or ankle, a good sized

half or even whole blanket is necessary. Fold this one way until it is

twenty inches broad. Lay it out on a clean floor or table, and sprinkle

sparingly boiling water across one end. Roll this end over and

sprinkle the roll, turn over again and sprinkle again, and so on until

the whole is rolled up. Thoroughly knead and twist it, so that all is

penetrated by the moist heat. Or it may

be prepared by soaking the blanket in boiling water, and wringing it

out with a wringing machine. It may then be unrolled and unfolded so as

to permit proper wrapping round the limb to be fomented. Care must be

taken not to burn the patient, or give any shock by applying the

fomentation too hot. It must be comfortable. See Heat And Weakness.

Sometimes fomentation may seem to increase the pain, say in a swelled

limb, and yet we should persevere in the treatment. This may seem to

contradict our dictum that we should be guided by the feelings of the

patient. The reason is that if some dead matter has lodged deep down in

the limb, it will have to be brought up to the surface ere the diseased

state can be remedied. If strong fomentation is used in such a case, it

is not unlikely to increase the painfulness of the limb, and a swelling

may appear. It will at once be said that the disease is "getting

worse." This is quite a mistake--the increased pain is arising from

such stirring of life as will bring about a complete cure. If the

treatment is continued, the swelling will by-and-by come to a head and

burst, and can be treated as in Abcess.