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Source: 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.
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