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FELON. (Whitlow)

Category: Diseases of The Skin

An inflammation of the deeper structures and frequently
it is under the covering of the bone, (periosteum). If under the latter it
must be opened soon or the resulting pus will burrow and destroy bone,
joints, etc. The pain is intense, and after the patient has passed one
sleepless night walking the floor and holding his finger it should be

How? Place the hand with the fingers extended with the palm up (it is
usually under the finger or in the palm of the hand) upon the table; stand
by the side of the arm. Attract the patient to something else; have a
curved two-edge knife ready and put the point, one-half inch, toward the
palm, away from the felon part, press hard and the patient will jerk his
hand and the cut will be made down to the bone, the membrane and tissues
all opened freely, a vent given for the pus and in ten minutes very little
pain. Dress as for an abscess. If opened this way, it need not be

If in the Palm. This needs a doctor, and must be opened with care. There
are too many blood vessels to be careless there and one who understands it
must do it. Open a true felon early before it has time to destroy the

SUPERFICIAL FELONS. Mothers' Remedies. 1. A Cure if Taken in Time. "If
taken in time a felon may be cured without lancing, but if poultice or
liniment is used it is important that they should be bound on tightly as
the mechanical compression is more essential than the application. A good
remedy is finely pulverized salt, wet with spirits of turpentine bound
tightly and left two or three days, wetting with the turpentine when dry
without removing the cloth."

2. Felon, Treatment until time to Lance. "If the felon has succeeded in
getting a good start and pains considerably, it is well to paint it with
iodine; in a few days it will become very painful, the pain being so
intense that you cannot sleep. See a physician at once then, and have it
lanced as the sac of pus on the bone must be opened. Then apply flaxseed
poultices. Care should be taken not to have it lanced too early, as this
is dangerous.

3. Felon, Strong Remedy for. "Turpentine, yellow of egg and salt, equal
parts, bind on." This is very strong and should only be allowed to remain
on the finger a short time.

4. Felon, Lemon to draw inflammation from. "Take a lemon, make a little
hole, put finger in it and hold there a number of hours." Lemons have a
great many healing qualities in them, and seem to be very good for felons.
The acid in the lemon seems to help draw out the inflammation and serves
as a poultice.

5. Felon, Hot Water Cure for. "When you first feel it coming put the
finger in a cup of hot water, just so it does not blister, keep adding
more hot water as it cools for one hour. This has been tried several times
and it has always stopped them."

6. Felon, Soap and Cornmeal Poultice for. "Poultice with soft soap and
cornmeal. This never fails if taken in time."

7. Felon, Smartweed Poultice for. "Apply the bruised leaves of smartweed
and bind on tight as can be borne." This makes a very good poultice
applied in this way.

8. Felon, Hot Application for. "When a felon first starts, soak the
finger in equal parts of alcohol and hot water; keep it as hot as the
finger will bear it."

9. Felon, an Old, Tried Remedy for. "Put wood ashes, covered with warm
water in a dish on the stove, hold the affected part in this, allowing it
to get as hot as can be borne."

10. Felon, Turpentine Cure for. "Soak the finger for one hour in
turpentine. This has been known to cure a great many cases of felon."

11. Felon, Weak Lye Application for. "Stick your finger in weak lye (can
lye). Have water just as hot as you can stand your finger in. Hold it in
as long as possible."

12. Felon, Rock Salt and Turpentine for. "Rock salt dry and pounded fine.
Mix equal portions with turpentine. When dry change. This cured a felon on
my father." As much of our Canadian salt is rock salt, it is the most
common salt to use.

PHYSICIANS' TREATMENT for Superficial Felons. Such may be averted
perhaps. I have heard of that but have never seen it done. They are not
the genuine, true blue, terrible felons, but even these can give much
pain. They do not need such a deep opening, and they are not so dangerous
to the structures. They are superficial and abscesses, perhaps, might be
the better term. For these many applications have been made.

1. Some hold the finger in hot lye. That is a good poultice.

2. Yolk of an egg and salt (equal parts) make a salve as a drawer.

3. The membrane within the shell of an egg is another good drawing remedy.

Dr. Chase gives this definition of a felon in his first edition: "This is
on one of the fingers, thumb or hand and is very painful. It is often
situated at the root of the nail." The latter is the kind, and also that
of the structures above the covering of the bone that are eased by local
treatment. Especially the superficial, about the nail, etc. Steaming with
herbs will do such good, or any hot poultice will do good. Dr. Chase says
in another place, "Whitlow resembles a felon, but it is not so deeply
seated. It is often found around the nail. Immerse the finger in strong
lye as long and as hot as can be borne several times a day." Such felons
are curable by local treatment. I prefer the salt and yolk of the egg to
the lye. If you cannot stand this all the time, steam in the intervals
with strong herbs or use hot poultices, and then open when it points.

Next: ULCERS. An Eating Away of the Parts, Causes

Previous: ABSCESS

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