This section is from the book "Introduction To Materia Medica And Pharmacology", by Oliver T.Osborne. See also: The Principles Of Therapeutics.
This is medication or treatment of the upper air pas^aiivs with substances which are rendered volatile and so inhaled by means of more or less elaborate ap paratus.
One of the simplest forms of apparatus is known as the "respirator or "mask," and consists essentially of a small hood which fits over the mouth and nose in which is placed some absorbent material impregnated with the substance to be inhaled. A more elaborate affair is constructed of aluminum or vulcanized rubber to conform to the inside of the nostril. It is, of course, hollow and filled with cotton or paper medicated with the drug to be used. When inserted into the nostril it causes no discomfort and cannot be seen.
The different varieties of inhalation apparatus which have been put upon the market are almost innumerable, but for all practical purposes a modification of the ordinary wash bottle, or Woulff bottle, answers every purpose. In using the Woulff bottle the central opening should be used for the medicament, one of the other two openings for the inlet of air, and the other connected by a rubber tube with the mouth or nostril. If the preparation to be used is volatile put a little cotton into the bottle and pour the preparation upon it. If the substance is not volatile or requires heat, place the Woulff bottle in a hot water bath.
In emergency a fairly satisfactory apparatus may be extemporized as follows: Make a cornucopia out of an ordinary piece of wrapping paper, clip off the small end, and, having pinned it so as to retain its shape, place the large end over a bowl of boiling water into which has been put the substance to be used for medication. Cover both bowl and cornucopia with a folded towel and inhale directly from the small end of the cornucopia. If it is desired to use steam, a small tin pan placed over an alcohol lamp takes the place of the bowl.
For the continuous use of steam an apparatus can be purchased for a very moderate price. They are known as "steamers," or "steam atomizers," and are also applicable where volatile substances are to be used in conjunction with steam.
Another form known as the "croup kettle," is simply a small kettle mounted over an alcohol lamp. It has an elongated spout, which permits the vapor to become sufficiently cooled before it is inhaled.
An elaborate affair termed the "bronchitis tent" is used to cause young children to inhale vapors. Such a tent can be improvised by stretching sheets over a frame fastened to the bed, causing it to resemble an old-fashioned "four-poster." Into this tent is directed by a pipe or tube the steam from a sterilizer, bronchitis kettle, or an ordinary tea-kettle, which is boiling over an alcohol lamp or a portable gas stove.
Various medicaments are added to the boiling water and vaporized, but those most used are mild antiseptics and aromatic oils.