There Is Neither A Specific Nor A Prophylactic To Be Relied On

Sources: Hydriatic Treatment Of Scarlet Fever In Its Different Forms

All these different methods and remedies, and many others, have been and

are still used with more or less effect. But where there are three

physicians to recommend one of them, there will always be four to

contradict them. They may all do some good in certain epidemics or

individual cases; they may relieve symptoms; they may save the life of

many a patient who would have died without them (although many a patient

who died, might have lived also, had he been under a more judicious

treatment, or--under no treatment at all.) But none is reliable in

general; none contains a specific to neutralize the morbid poison; none

is a reliable prophylactic, such as vaccina for small-pox; and if single

physicians, or whole classes of physicians, assert to the contrary, the

fault must lie somewhere, either in their excess of faith in certain

authorities, which induces them to throw their own pia desideria into

the scales, or in a want of cool, impartial observation continued for a

sufficient length of time to wear out sanguine expectations. _The fact

is that there neither exists a reliable prophylactic, nor has a safe

specific been found as yet; that all is guess-and-piece work; and that

people are taken by scarlet-fever and die of it about the same as before

those vaunted methods and remedies were discovered._ I wish to impress

my readers with this fact--the proofs of which they can easily find in

the mortality lists of the papers--to make them understand that by

giving up for the hydriatic method any of the modes and remedies, which

have been in use hitherto, they do not run a risk of losing anything.