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Medical ArticlesLess-rigorous-than-water Fasts
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Punctures Case Xii
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Source: Papers On Health
Some things regarding this useful fruit require to be noted
by those using them in sickness. To eat the whole substance of an
orange except the outer rind is to give the digestive system some hard
work. We have known most serious stomach disturbance caused to the
healthy by doing so. Some parts of the inner rind and partitions of the
fruit act almost like poison. These should always be rejected. The
juice is most beneficial. It is best given to patients by squeezing the
orange into a glass, and straining it through muslin into another
glass. Add its own bulk of water and a teaspoonful of sugar, if liked.
This may be taken warm or cold, and will do where even milk and water
cannot be taken. (See Drinks).
"Outstrikes."--These appear on the skin from various causes. In the
case of infants, they often appear on the head and face during
An experienced medical man is cautious in the extreme of quickly
healing the distressed skin. He is afraid of "driving in" the eruption
on the brain. Perhaps he refuses to do anything whatever to heal the
head. From what we have seen, however, even in the worst cases, when
head and face and neck were one great sore, we feel assured that there
is no need why this distress should be continued at all. It may be, at
least in many cases, safely and not very slowly healed.
The whole skin of the infant must be brought into vigorous and
healthy action. The head at first need not be touched; but the entire
skin not affected should be sponged with warm vinegar, and then dried,
rubbed with warm olive oil, and this wiped off carefully and gently, so
far as it does not adhere to the skin under the soft dry towel. Quite
enough remains to do all the good required; and if more is left on, a
chilliness and nastiness are felt, which prejudice many against the use
of it altogether.
It is well, in many cases, not to touch the child with water or
soap. The vinegar and oil cleanse the skin and do all that is
required. Then vinegar very much diluted should be used warm to apply
with a soft rag to the sores. Take a teaspoonful of vinegar in a
breakfastcupful of warm water. If this causes the child to cry when
applied, then dilute still further. Vinegar weak enough to cause hardly
any feeling when it touches the sore, will heal; stronger vinegar
We have known a nurse try to heal an outstricken face by means of good
vinegar at its full strength. She was instructed to use the vinegar
very much diluted, but fancied it would heal faster if much stronger.
She might just as well have fancied that it is better to put one's cold
hands into the fire than to hold them at some distance when wishing to
warm them. The child's face was made greatly worse, of course, and the
cure abandoned. It is therefore necessary to urge that a strength of
acid which secures only the most gentle sensation of smarting is
essential to cure. The weak vinegar is first applied to the outer and
less fiery parts of the outstrike. Try to heal from this inwards, by
gradual advances from day to day. On the less affected parts the weak
acid may be applied twice a day; on the sorer parts only when itching
is so distressing as to demand it.
We have seen a child whose head, face, and neck were one distressing
sore; we have taken the cloth with the diluted vinegar and daubed a
square inch or so of the skin on which the fiery eruption was so full,
and in less than two minutes we have seen the colour change into a
healthy pink, and remain that colour when the olive oil was applied.
The child's sores yielded gradually, till the whole illness was
Sometimes such eruptions, in adults as well as children, arise from
suppressed perspiration, or from the perspiration being of an acrid and
irritating nature. It is sometimes apparently the result of the rubbing
off of a little of the skin, or it comes on without any known accident.
For a time it seems scarcely worth noticing, and is consequently
neglected; but gradually it spreads on the surface and gives
uneasiness, especially after the patient has been some time in bed. It
goes on till a large portion of the skin from the knee to the ankle is
reddened and roughened with a moist eruption. Now remedies of various
kinds are tried, but the evil gets worse and worse. The person affected
is often a struggling mother or widow, who has to keep on her feet all
day in anxious toil, and neither gets very good food during the day nor
proper rest during the night. Month after month goes past, and no
relief comes. The positive agony which such persons suffer is
incredible to those who have not experienced anything of the kind.
Here the great difficulty often is to get the patient the very chief
condition for cure--that is, perfect rest for the affected limb. If
this can in any way be secured, all else is comparatively plain
sailing. But this is sometimes impossible: the children may not be in a
position to be left, or the little business cannot be allowed to die,
as it would in a month's time if not attended to, or some other
hindrance is in the way. We must just do the best in the circumstances.
We shall say that we are compelled to do without the rest, probably
also without certain other things. Rest is very desirable, and so is a
gentle rubbing all over the body, first with warm vinegar and then with
olive oil, but there is perhaps no one capable of doing such a thing
whose services can be secured. It is easy to "order" very useful
processes, but among many who would not be exactly called "poor people"
it is not easy to have the "order" carried out. We must often do
without this double rubbing, and yet cure the diseased skin of the
afflicted limb. Let the reader remember that it is no matter of choice
that we dispense with the rest and the rubbing. If they are possible,
by all means let them be taken advantage of to the utmost.
For treatment, unless distinct running sores are formed, bathe the limb
with warm water and M'Clinton's Soap, which will remove all crusts,
scabs, &c. Then apply zinc ointment. Do not bathe or poultice after the
first time. All secretion can be removed by a piece of cotton wool
dipped in warm olive oil. If deep running sores have formed, then we
must have a water-tight box of rough deal in which the whole leg up to
the knee can be bathed for an hour in hot water. We see no reason why
it should cost much over a shilling to get this, and it would be a sore
want if it could not be procured. It is so made that the leg and foot
can rest easily in it while it is nearly full of hot water. It need not
be wider than just to hold the limb easily. Some good-hearted joiner
will put five small boards together so as to meet this want. We shall
suppose that it is supplied. Now for a few cloths, such as will cover
the diseased parts, about three-ply all round. Then for vinegar or
acetic acid, so diluted with water that it will just cause a slight
smarting when heated and touching the affected skin. It must not be so
strong as to cause burning, nor so weak as to give no sense of its
presence at all, but between these extremes. It can be tried when too
weak, and vinegar or other acetic acid added till a gentle smarting is
felt. The cloths are dipped in the diluted and heated vinegar, allowed
to drip till no more falls off, and then laid tenderly all round the
sore. A strip of dry cloth may then be wound round so as to keep these
on, and the leg thus dressed placed in the bath. It should be kept
there, with now and again a gentle movement, and the strong comfortable
heat of the water kept up for an hour, unless the patient should feel
sickness before that time. If this comes on, the water is too hot; but,
instead of merely cooling it, the bath may cease for the time, and
water not so hot may be tried on a second occasion. Whether the hour
has been reached or not, good has been done. The leg is taken out of
the hot water and gently dried--not rubbed, but dried without rubbing.
Then as much cloth as will go twice round all is dipped in warm olive
oil, and this is pressed out a little, so that it may not run. The
oiled cloth is wrapped all round the limb. Some dry cloth is also
wrapped round, and the first treatment is completed. This should be
repeated every night before going to bed, for a week at least. It may
be required for a fortnight if the case is bad and no rest at all can
be had during the day. We should say the cure may fail for want of this
rest, but this is not likely. In the morning as soon as convenient, the
diseased skin should be soaked with a warm vinegar cloth, so that it
shall smart just a little. It should then be dressed again with the
warm olive oil. If at any time during the day or night it gets
irritated and troublesome, this morning dressing may be repeated. It
will not be very long before the one leg is as good as the other. The
general health, too, of the patient will be sensibly improved.
It is scarcely necessary to point out that a similar treatment to this
will cure "outstrikings" of the same sort in the arms and other parts
of the body, as well as upon the legs. There is required only some such
modification of the appliances as may meet the particular case. For
example, we have seen the outstriking between the shoulders, so that it
could not be reached by bathing, unless by appliances utterly out of
the question in the circumstances. But dressing with hot vinegar
cloths, allowing these to remain on for twenty minutes or so, and then
dressing with warm olive oil, allowing this to remain for two or three
hours, is quite possible to any one who is so affected; and this will
usually be sufficient for a cure.
You have, perhaps, been cured temporarily more than once with arsenic,
and the evil has returned worse and worse. In that case you may require
all the more patience and the longer application of the above
treatment; but, once cured in this way, you will not, so far as a good
long experience enables us to judge, be likely to have any relapse. In
very bad cases we have seen poultices of mashed potatoes made with
buttermilk cleanse the diseased parts most effectually, and then the
acid takes healing effect very speedily. In these cases ordinary
medical treatment had utterly and hopelessly failed.
Next: Pain Severe In Limbs