This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
The symptoms are divided into four periods. The period of invasion occupies about three days, and is marked by languor, lassitude, restlessness, stretching, gaping, petulance, sullen mood; these are followed by chills and rigors. Towards evening the skin becomes hot and dry, pain attacks the head, loss of appetite, nausea, and frequently lumbago. On the third day, heat, fever, flushed face, headache, and in children sometimes convulsions. The period of eruption commences on the fourth day (often on the third), with the appearance of a series of small red circular points (papulae). They do not rise above the surface then, but can be seen in it, and felt by the finger. They are situated in the substance of the skin, and roll about under the finger, the size that of a small pin's head. These gradually enlarge, the patient in the mean time suffering severely, until the period of suppuration arrives. The fever is now great, the hands, feet, and face swell, and salivation is profuse and constant. There is hoarseness and pain, and the saliva emits a most disagreeable odor. Then comes the period of recovery. The pustules scab, the fever and other unpleasant symptoms gradually disappear, and, if all goes right, the danger is over from the twelfth to the fifteenth day after the eruption.
What is known as confluent small-pox is when the pustules are very numerous and running together; and when all the symptoms are very severe, the disease is known as malignant. Variola patients emit a peculiar fetid odor, which is characteristic, and distinguishes it from Varioloid.
TREATMENT. -- An active purge should be given at the outset. For this purpose a combination like the "Renovating Pills" should be selected, as the catharsis produced is thorough and unattended with subsequent debility or costiveness. Diaphoretics should be given to promote early appearance of the eruption. The patient should be placed in a cool and well-ventilated room, and frequently sponged with tepid water. Not much treatment of a medicinal character is required. The fever should be controlled by aconite or veratrum, as in all active fevers. If complicated with pneumonia, pleurisy, etc., the treatment necessary is such as is advised in those diseases. Pitting to a great extent may be avoided by sweet-oil applied to hands and face.
Varioloid is but modified small-pox. It has all the essential characteristics of the disease except its virulence. The treatment is the same as advised for small pox.
The utility of vaccination is a mooted question. It has unquestionably done great harm, as in many cases scrofulous and syphilitic taints have been implanted. Aside from this, however, it has been the means of almost banishing the dreadful plague from existence, and its practice should be encouraged. Great care, however, should be exercised in the selection of the vaccine virus, so that its purity is unquestionably established before being used as an agent of prevention.