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Action Of The Pack And Bath Rationale

Sources: Hydriatic Treatment Of Scarlet Fever In Its Different Forms

The action of the wet-sheet pack is thus easily accounted for:

According to a well-known physical law, any cold body, whether dead or

alive, placed in close contact with a warm body, will abstract from the

latter as much heat as necessary to equalize the temperature of both.

The transfer of caloric will begin at the place at which the two bodies

are nearest to each other. The wet sheet, which touches the patient's
body all over the surface, abstracts heat from the latter, till the

temperature of the sheet becomes equal to that of the body. In

proportion as the surface of the body yields heat to the sheet, the

parts next to the surface impart heat to the latter, and so forth, till

the whole body becomes cooler, whilst the sheet becomes warmer. As the

heat imparted to the sheet cannot escape from it, the sheet being

closely wrapt up in the blanket and bed, the current of caloric once

established towards every part of the surface of the body will still

continue; after the temperature of the sheet and the body has become

equal, there will be an accumulation of heat around the body, frequently

of a higher degree than the body itself. To explain this phenomenon, we

ought to consider that we have not to do with _two dead_ bodies, but

with _one dead_ and _one living_ body, which constantly creates heat,

thus continuously supplying the heat escaping from it to the sheet, and

keeping up the current of caloric _and electricity_ established towards

the surface. There cannot be a doubt that the abstraction of electricity

from the feverish organism contributes in a great measure to the relief

of the excited nerves of the patient, as well as to the excess of

temperature observed around the body in the wet-sheet pack (after the

patient has been in it for some time); and that, in general, electricity

deserves a closer investigation in the morbid phenomena of the human

body than it has found to this day.