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The Contagion Of Scarlatina Very Active

Source: Hydriatic Treatment Of Scarlet Fever In Its Different Forms

The _contagion_ of scarlatina is very active, and adheres for a long
time to the sick-room, bedding, clothes and furniture. The best means to
destroy it, is plenty of air. It is difficult to say when the contagion
is over, as much depends on the season of the year and the care with
which the house is aired. Physicians and visitors at the sick-room are
very apt to carry it about, unless they be exceedingly careful in
changing their clothes and washing themselves, hair and all, before
entering other rooms inhabited by persons who had not had the disorder
before. It is astonishing how easily such persons are taken by it; and
it even sometimes happens that such as have gone through it, take it
again in after years. I am authorized by experience, that the idea as if
patients under water-treatment, or even such as take a cold bath every
morning, were inaccessible to the contagion, is erroneous. I have had
patients under treatment for chronic diseases, who had had scarlatina
several years before, and neither this nor the water-cure protected them
from taking it again. With some of them, however, the throat only became
affected and no desquamation took place, whilst the character of the
complaint with the rest was rather mild. I have been astonished to read
that in a meeting of a medical society of this country, which took place
a very short time ago, some members could have raised the question
whether scarlatina was really contagious. I admit that the profession in
general has not made great progress in the cure of the complaint, but it
does not require great study and long experience to know that
scarlet-fever is contagious!

The form of the disorder in one patient does not imply the
necessity of another who caught it from him having it in the same form.
A person can take the contagion from one who dies of malignant
scarlet-fever and have it in the mildest form, and vice versa. The
character of the disease depends very much on the constitution, as I
have said above. However, if the epidemy in general is of a malignant
character (which may again depend, partly at least, on the constitution
of the atmosphere), it will prove so in many individuals who are taken
with it, and the precautions ought to be so much the more careful on
that account.

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