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Source: Hydriatic Treatment Of Scarlet Fever In Its Different Forms

_Small-pox_, by far the most dangerous of them, has found a barrier in
its destructive progress in Dr. Jenner's discovery. Vaccination is an
almost sure prophylactic against it; but, notwithstanding, many, with
whom the preservative was neglected or with whom it proved powerless,
have fallen victims to its ravages. There is no remedy in the
drug-stores to diminish the danger to which the life, health and
appearance of those afflicted with this terrible disease are exposed.
The only safe remedy is the wet-sheet pack.

The water for the sheet should be between sixty-five and seventy
degrees, and the bath after the pack, from 70 to 75 deg.. Colder water is
only applicable before the appearance of the eruption, which may be
favored by frictions with bare hands dipped in it. These frictions may
be repeated twice a day for the first two days. On the third day a long
pack will call forth the eruption. If the patient can be kept in it, he
may stay from three to five hours; adults even longer. No harm can be
done by it, as the patient produces comparatively little heat, and the
longer the pack the surer it will be to bring out the pocks. A short
pack will have little effect.

As soon as the pocks appear, rubbing must be avoided till the scabs are
entirely gone. The patient should be packed two, three, and even four
times a day, according to the condition of the skin and the height of
the fever. There is nothing able to relieve the patient as much as the
dampness of the wet pack. During the period of eruption and
efflorescence, the patient should spend the greater part of his time in
the wet-sheet, which not only relieves the general symptoms, but
especially the inflammation of the skin, and makes the poison less
virulent, by constantly absorbing part of it, and by communicating part
of its moisture to the small ulcers.

To protect the face, a kind of mask may be made of several thicknesses
of linen, covering the whole of it, leaving openings only for the mouth,
nostrils and eyes. The latter may be covered separately. This compress
should be covered with one or two thicknesses of flannel, to keep its
temperature as even as possible, for which purpose it should be changed
as often as it becomes uncomfortably warm.

To draw the poison away from the face and eyes, it will be a good plan
to put a thick wet compress on the back of the neck and between the
shoulders, and cover it thickly, so as to create a great deal of heat in
that region. It will bring out the pocks densely. It should be changed
only when it becomes dry.

The stomach should be covered also with a wet compress, as that organ is
almost always in a bad state during the whole course of the disorder. If
pus is received into the blood, the thick matter which is filtered
through the kidneys frequently causes retention of urine. In that case
the wet bandage should go around the body, and the patient should drink
a good deal of water to attenuate the blood and the urine, and favor the
discharge. In case of need, a sitz-bath of 75 deg.--or with weak patients of
a higher temperature, 80 to 90 deg.--will remove the difficulty.

During convalescence, the baths should be made gradually colder, to
invigorate the skin and the rest of the organism, and prepare the
patient for going out, which may safely be permitted on the tenth or
twelfth day. The packs ought to be continued for a week at least after
the drying and falling off of the scabs.

By following this treatment, the patient will be safe from any bad
consequences of the disease. I have never seen any of the usual sequelae
after packs.

Next: Varioloids And Chicken-pocks

Previous: Treatment Of Other Eruptive Fevers

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