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.
In a climate like Canada, where the changes of temperature are not only very frequent, but also very great, too much attention cannot be paid to keeping the body properly clothed, particularly in spring and autumn, when the transitions from cold to heat, and from heat back again to cold, are very sudden. Flannel should bo worn next the skin all the year round; and the feet should always be kept warm. Instead of that, half the population in country places allow their children, even grown-up girls, to go about all the summer without shoes and stockings; and sometimes when it is impossible for them to do so without taking cold. The consequences are coughs, colds, headaches, rheumatism, chilblains, inflammation of the bowels and of the lungs, pleurisy, etc. In former days, when women went out of doors, they protected the head and face with a comfortable bonnet or hood; fashions have altered, and for some time past they have been satisfied with a "mere make-believe," which leaves both head and face exposed to the inclemency of the weather, both wind and sun. The consequences naturally are a harsh, dry, brown or yellow skin, eyes burnt out, wrinkled brow, red nose, and constant liability to attacks of neuralgia and headaches. Many people,with no excuse of poverty to plead, expose their children, or allow them to expose themselves (which is just as bad), when at home, to all changes of the weather, with insufficient clothing. An author,after alluding to the manner in which horses, sheep, and other animals change their coats according to the season, continues: "The preceding facts are not devoid of instruction in regard to the dress of human beings, who should learn to cover their nakedness under the guidance of experience and reason, which may be better or worse than instinct, according to whether they are well or ill exercised. It argues little for the boasted superiority of man's reason, if it do not guide him to means more effectual in resisting the hurtful action of external temperature, than those instinctively possessed by the lower animals; and yet, there can be little doubt that none of these suffer from cold, wet, and atmospheric changes, to the degree in which human beings do. In truth, reason and common sense are too frequently set aside by foolish habits originating in vanity, caprice, prejudice, indolence, ignorance, or some such evil influence; and disease and infirmity are the penalties incurred by folly."
In classifying the diseases treated of in this work, it will perhaps be most convenient for the reader to divide them into diseases of childhood, and diseases of grown people. Although to some extent, the one period may gradually glide into the next, still there are; many complaints to which each period of life is more particularly liable than the one preceding or following it. Thus, Measles is a disease of childhood, yet grown poeple are occasionally attacked by it.