Small Pox - Variola
Categories: ADMINISTRATION OF REMEDIES.
Sources: An Epitome Of Homeopathic Healing Art
This disease begins with pain in the head and back, chilly sensations,
followed by a high fever, so similar in all respects to a severe attack
of Bilious or "winter" fever, that it is difficult or impossible to
distinguish it with certainty, as Small Pox. The fact of the prevalence
of the disease at the time, and the exposure of the patient, may lead
the Physician and friends to suspect Small Pox. There is one very
king symptom of Small Pox, however, that exists from the beginning,
which, though it may be present in fever simply, is not uniformly so.
This is a severe and constant aching _pain in the small of the back_.
The headache is also constant.
The Small Pox is of two varieties or degrees, _distinct_ and
_confluent_. The _distinct_ is when the pustules are separated from each
other, each one a distinct elevation, with more or less space between
them not affected by the eruption.
The _confluent_ is where the pustules spread out from their sides and
run together, covering the whole surface as one sore.
It may be distinct on some parts, as on the body, and confluent on
others, as the arms, face, and parts most exposed to the air.
In the _Distinct_ variety the fever continues without abatement until
the eruption appears, when it entirely subsides, and that quite
suddenly. The eruption comes out about the third day of the attack,
sometimes not discoverable until the end of the third or beginning of
the fourth day. The eruption is at first very slight, beginning with
small red pimples on the forehead, upper part of the cheeks, neck and
upper part of the breast, extending by degrees to the arms, and other
parts of the body and limbs. About the end of the fourth or forepart of
the fifth day, the eruption is complete.
There is a symptom, not mentioned in the books, which will often
determine the disease before the occurrence of any eruption. It is the
appearance of hard shot-like pimples, to be _felt under the skin_ in the
palms of the hands, while there is, as yet, no trace of eruption to be
seen upon the surface.
On the eighth or ninth day, the eruptions become vessicular, have
flattened tops, and contain a limpid fluid. The parts continue to
swell, the eruptions to enlarge, and become filled with purulent matter,
having a dark color at the top, up to about the fourteenth or fifteenth
day, when they begin to flat down, to dry up, and some of the scabs
become loose. At this time, some fever arises, often quite severe, with
headache and other inflammatory symptoms. If the eruption is very
severe, fever will be of corresponding violence, and lighter or wanting
when the eruption is mild. This fever rarely lasts more than twenty-four
hours, from which time the patient rapidly recovers.
In the _Confluent_ variety, all the symptoms are more violent, the fever
continuing after the eruption begins. The pustules burst early, and run
into each other, covering nearly or quite the whole skin; the surface
swells and turns black or dark brown, the lungs are more or less
irritated, producing cough, and not unfrequently the stomach is
nauseated, and vomiting ensues.
If the patient survives the irritation up to the fifteenth or sixteenth
day, when the _secondary fever_ sets in, he is liable to be taken off
by an affection of the brain or lungs, during this fever. If he
recovers, his whole surface, especially that part exposed to air, is
As it is not often known for a certainty, in the early febrile stage,
that it is the small pox, the treatment will be first adopted that would
be proper for a like fever arising from other causes. But in all my
observations in this disease, and they extend to several hundred cases,
I have not found in a single instance, any of the ordinary fever
remedies, such as _Aconite_ and _Bell._, which would be applicable for
such symptoms in an ordinary case, to do any good in small pox. They are
directed, however, for these symptoms by the authorities, in the febrile
stage of the small pox; but I am quite sure they are not the proper
From the great similarity, the almost absolute identity of small pox
_headache_ and _backache_, with the same symptoms developed by the
_Macrotys racem._ as well as the nausea and restlessness produced by the
drug, I was led several years ago to the conclusion that this, or the
_Macrotin_ was valuable in small pox. Not only so, but during the
prevalence of small pox in Cincinnati, to an extraordinary degree in the
winter of 1849-50, I treated about one hundred cases, including both
sexes, and all ages, from infants a few weeks old, to very old persons,
giving the _Macrotin_ to all, and had the good fortune to see _all_ my
patients recover. Since that time I have prescribed it for every case
Having then, been entirely successful in so many cases, with this
medicine, I am not inclined at this time to give any other the
preference. I must admit, however, that though my patients all
recovered, I was not able to greatly abridge the duration of the
disease, nor to prevent the development of all the stages in their
proper order, as is _claimed_ by M. TESTE, for his use of _Mercurius
cor._ and _Causticum_. I was satisfied with so far modifying the
symptoms, as to enable my patients to live through, and come _out well
in the end_. I would then direct, if small pox is suspected, the patient
having been exposed to contract it, or from the peculiarity of the
symptoms, in the early stage, or when the disease is discovered after
the eruption, to give _Macrotin_ at the first trituration, in one grain
doses, once in two hours, while the fever, headache and backache
continue, after which, during the whole course of the disease, give it
three times a day. This will prevent the development of a dangerous
secondary fever, as well as irritation of the lungs, stomach or bowels.
In addition to this medicine I give the patients daily, from half an
ounce to two ounces of _pure_ (_unrancid_) _Olive oil_. This serves to
prevent the development of pustules in the throat, lungs and stomach; is
more or less nutritious, and keeps the bowels in a healthy condition.
Wash the surface once a day in weak soap suds, following it with a bath
of milk and water, and keep cloths moistened with warm milk and water,
constantly upon all parts that are exposed to the air, lubricating the
surface with _Olive oil_ after the bath of milk and water. This keeps
the surface quite comfortable.
The best diet is corn or oat meal mush and molasses, to be taken in
small quantities. Cold water is the proper drink, though it should not
be very cold.
The room should, at all times, be well ventillated, but in cold or cool
weather, sufficient fire must be kept up, to keep the room warm and dry.
A temperature of about 65 deg. is the best. Hardly any thing can be worse
for a small pox patient than to be in a cold or damp room, and to
breathe _cold_ air. Uniform temperature is important.
If the eruption is tardy about appearing, or after it is out, a
recession takes place, the Alcoholic Vapor bath will soon bring it out.
(See Rheumatism **p. 30).
Occasionally the feet and limbs below the knees, will swell
prodigiously, and become extremely painful, causing the principal
suffering. For this, wrap the feet and legs in cloths wet in a strong
solution of Epsom salts, quite warm, and cover with flannels so as to
keep them warm. This will afford immediate relief, and reduce the
swelling in a day or two. The finely pulverized Epsom salts, dry,
sprinkled on the pustules, will very often prevent pitting. It is the
safest and surest remedy of which I have any knowledge.