This section is from the book "Smith's Family Physician", by William Henry Smith. See also: Natural Physician's Healing Therapies: Proven Remedies that Medical Doctors Don't Know.
Chicken-Pox is a contagious eruptive disease, which usually commences with a slight fever, frequent headache, and occasional vomiting. Sometimes the fever is so slight as to escape notice, and sometimes altogether wanting. After a short time, usually a day or two, an eruption breaks out, generally first appearing on the breast, shoulders and back, from whence it spreads to the scalp, face and limbs. The face is usually less affected than in Small-Pox. The pustules are sometimes numerous, sometimes few, and, almost always quite distinct. They first appear as small bright-red spots, which soon become vesicular, (that is, rise into pimples); and sometimes they seem to break out in that form. The eruption is not unfre-quently attended with itching or tingling, which causes the child to scratch and rub itself, thus frequently breaking the heads off the pimples. The unbroken Vesicles are generally from the eighth to the sixth of an inch in diameter, rounded at top, transparent, colourless or slightly yellow, and very easily ruptured. Sometimes they appear in successive crops for two or three days. About the fourth or the fifth day they begin to shrink and dry up; about the sixth day small brown crusts appear, which gradually harden, and drop off about the ninth or tenth day, leaving a little discoloration, but no pits. If, however, the pustules are much scratched and irritated, they will occasionally leave pits behind them. Chicken-Pox has, no doubt, occasionally been mistaken for Small-Pox, but it is a much milder disease; in fact, it cannot be said to be ever dangerous.
But little treatment is required; a few doses of cooling physic (Cathartic Powders No. 2 or 3, according to the age of the child), or a dose or two of Castor Oil, will generally be sufficient, with cooling drinks, and a mild diet. The child should be kept in doors during the complaint, and as soon as the scabs fall off a warm bath will be advantageous. Chicken-Pox occasionally attacks grown people, but comparatively seldom.