Sources: Papers On Health

If an epidemic prevails in the neighbourhood, or a case

occurs in the house, after due and carefully performed vaccination of

the family, the important matter to regard is cleanliness. Frequent

and thorough washing and changing of all the clothes worn next the skin

will do much to prevent possible infection. If the clothes are often

changed, then, and well washed, and the skin gets a daily washing with

soap and is sponged with hot vinegar, there is little danger of

infection during an epidemic of smallpox, or even when nursing the

disease. Acetic acid, or white wine vinegar, is even a more powerful

cleansing agent than carbolic acid, and has the advantage of being


It is important in treatment to attack the disease early. We have known

an attack completely defeated, and the patient cured, by a wet-sheet

pack administered at the right time. The early symptoms are a great

weariness and chilliness. In this cold stage, half-a-teaspoonful of

cream of tartar, in two tablespoonfuls of hot water, should be given

every half-hour. Also (and this is important) wrap the feet and legs up

over the knees in a large hot FOMENTATION (see). The head also may be

packed in hot cloths. If the fever does not rise, the applications may

continue. If the fever does come on, cold cloths must be persistently

changed on the head. This we have known reduces the bodily

temperature two degrees in half-an-hour, when if left alone it would

probably have risen two degrees. The whole body may be packed in a

damp sheet, covered with dry blanket, and this continued cooling of the

head still proceeded with.

When the eruption has appeared, and the violent itching set in, the

eruption must be persistently soaked with weak ACETIC ACID (see),

or good white wine vinegar and water. In this soaking, avoid giving the

patient pain by too strong acid. The necessary healing power will be

found in such a mixture as will only cause the eruption slightly to


It is not necessary to treat a patient all over at once. You will do

better if you take one or two pimples at a time. You can then pass from

part to part slowly, getting over the whole. You can use a little olive

oil after this soaking with vinegar, and so keep off all danger of

chill such as might occur if too much of the surface were treated at


If these simple means are well applied from the first, it must be a

very bad case indeed which will not be cured, and most likely without

any marks being left on the skin.