- This dreaded disease needs all the knowledge one can possibly obtain, so we give below the hygienic treatment as prescribed by Dr. J. H. Jackson, of "Our Home," Dansville, N. Y. First, he says, to tell a genuine case, make a swab and apply to the patches on throat; common ulcers will rub off, but diphtheritic patches will not. A good gargle is to make a solution, as strong as will dissolve, of chlorate of po-tassa, and bottle for use. When needed,take in proportion of one-half solution and one-half pure soft water, and one-half grain permanganate of potash to ounce of mixture. For a still stronger gargle, take two-thirds solution to one-third water, and one-half grain permanganate of potash to ounce of mixture. In a case of diphtheria, keep the room at 80°, and have boiler of water on stove, or hang wet sheets in room, in order to keep the room saturated with warm vapor, and also have fresh air in the room. His treatment is as follows:
"When the person is attacked, in cases where the epidemic is present in the vicinity, with a sore throat, pain in the head, in limbs, in back - in other words, the symptoms being very much like those of a hard cold - I begin by putting the person at once into a hot bath, covering him up and giving him warm water to drink, so as to produce a thorough sweating, the object being to fight febrile conditions and establish and aid processes for throwing off the disease by means of the skin, bowels, etc. This sweating is all the more necessary, in most cases, because of the inattention which is usually given to keeping the pores of the skin open, and it will relieve the fever, if not at once, as a, secondary result. After the person has been in a state of perspiration for some time, I take him immediately from the hot bath and give him a thorough washing with a sheet wet in water at 80 degrees, in a warm room, and after wiping see that he is sent to bed with a cool cloth upon the head, and in many cases an abdominal compress wet in cool water, which shall cover entirely the abdomen, with a dry flannel cloth over it. In all febrile conditions of the body this application of the cool abdominal compress is of great value, because it is in the abdomen that the vital processes are carried on to large extent, the amount of blood existing there being much larger in proportion to the surface of the body than in any other portion of the frame except the brain. In order to keep the temperature of the body down below fever heat, that the fermentative processes may not go on, or be held in check as far as possible, it is necessary to use with caution all the best means for the purpose, and among them I certainly esteem the abdominal compress as of great use. After this, and in addition to it, the febrile conditions may be met by means of wet sheet packing or sponging as frequently as may be necessary, to keep the temperature to its normal standard. Of course, if the fever is not high, it will not be necessary to make strenuous efforts in this respect; but if it is, it should be fought sharply. The great need is to make the applications early and vigorously in the outset of the disease, because the effects to be produced are weeded then more than at any other time, and because in the later days or stages of the disease attention must be directed to measures which support the strength of the body rather than those which, while reducing fever, tax its vitality to some degree. At any rate watch the temperature carefully, and keep it down. Great attention should be paid to nourishing the patient, and the best article for this purpose, both for adults and children, is milk, taken cool or warm, as the patient may fancy, and at as frequent times and in as large quantities as can be borne. To this may be added, later in the disease, nutritious soups or the juice of meats; but under no circumstances, except toward the very last stages and in the septic form, are alcoholic stimulants admissible, in my judgment. The bowels should be kept open and the kidneys active, and for this purpose enemas should be given to effect the former if sluggish, and sitz-baths occasionally - perhaps one each day - for fifteen minutes, at a temperature of 85 or 90 degrees, to stimulate the latter. The feet must always be kept warm and the head cool, and in case there is any tendency to collapse or lowering of the temperature below the normal standard, heat must be applied to the body by means of warm blankets and hot water bags and jugs.
In addition to this general treatment, treat the throat direct with moist heat, as that is the great promoter of suppuration. Hence, as soon as the membranes are formed, or as soon as it is known that the disease is diphtheria, the patient should be put upon the inhalation of steam as hot as can be borne, and as often as may be wise, considering the strength of the patient and the severity of the disease. The inhalations ordinarily should be pursued for the first twenty-four or forty-eight hours, as often as once in each half hour, and continued for fifteen minutes, and the patient should be allowed only three to four hours of sleep each day during this period, because the constant presence of the vapor is necessary to hurry up the suppurative process, and the earlier this can be produced the sooner the case will recover. These inhalations may be made by means of the common steam atomizer, now sold by all dealers in surgical and medical instruments, and which may be used without filling the medicine cup ordinarily, the steam being taken direct from the boiler through the mouthpiece. If this is not convenient, a tea-kettle with a long conducting spout, which shall carry the steam to the mouth of the patient, or any apparatus which shall answer this same purpose, can be used. The air of the room may be saturated with warm vapor by dropping hot stones in a pail of water or of lime water. Care must be taken in any event to see that the steam is not too hot, and at the same time that the heat is as great as can be well borne. This process may be aided by application of warm poultices to the neck. A long, narrow bag may be filled with any substance which will retain moisture and heat well, and the neck enveloped in it, a dry flannel being put over it, and this changed as often as is necessary in order to maintain the warmth. Thus moist heat on the inside and moist heat on the outside, aids to establish the necessary process of suppuration. This constant inhalation should be kept up until the membranes cease to spread, and those which are formed become well marked in outline, and grow yellowish or a dirty gray in color, and seem to be shriveled or wrinkled, after which, generally about the third day, the inhalations may be decreased in frequency, but still should be kept up as often as every hour in the daytime, the patient being allowed six or eight hours' sleep at night, until the membranes are thrown off and the secretion of pus upon the mucous membrane of the mouth entirely stopped. The constant inhalation of steam through the atomizer, which generates it with some force, furnishes a means of washing the parts pretty thoroughly."
The Vapor-Bath is one of the most efficacious remedies if taken when a cold is first realized. It is given by seating the patient, undressed, in a flag or cane seat chair under which is a saucer of alcohol burning, both chair and patient being perfectly enveloped in a blanket reaching to the floor. In a few minutes profuse perspiration sets in, which should be kept up ten or fifteen minutes. After rubbing dry, the patient, still wrapped in the blanket, gets into bed, and remains there for an hour or two at least. It is better to take the bath just before retiring. This remedy is better than all drugs, nostrums, etc., for a cold, but should be taken at the outset, to do the most good.