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Source: 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.
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