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Source: Papers On Health
By this term we mean not only the sensible perspiration
which is felt as a distinct wetness on the skin during exertion or
heat, or in some illnesses, but also, and chiefly, the constant
insensible perspiration. This latter is far more important than the
former. No one could live many hours without it, for by its means
several pounds weight of waste is got rid of every day. Its importance
we saw lately in the case of a child greatly swollen in dropsy. A
flannel BANDAGE (see) wrung out of warm water, placed round the body,
reduced this swelling completely, without any sensible sign of
excretion. A very gentle treatment, increasing this insensible
sweating, will often cure without weakening, where violent perspiring
medicines or treatment cause great weakness. A damp flannel bandage
placed round the lower half of the body all night for a few nights will
produce a remarkable increase of insensible perspiration, and in many
case forms a good substitute for sweating drugs. Along with this the
soapy lather may be used at bedtime all over the skin (see Lather and
Soap). We have seen a swelling of the hand, which made a medical man
talk of amputation, cured by these means. Acetic acid, or white-wine
vinegar, rubbed over the skin, produces a similar increase of
insensible perspiration, and may be used without fear of injury. This
done once a week will go far to reduce sensitiveness to cold. Indeed,
the use of M'Clinton's soap and water, along with good acetic acid
sponging once a week, will prevent many serious ills by securing a
constant gentle excretion of hurtful waste through the stimulated skin.