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FELON. (Whitlow)

Categories: 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 (
t 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.