This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics Inorganic Substances", by Charles D. F. Phillips. Also available from Amazon: Materia medica and therapeutics.
An injection prepared with the chlorine solutions (1 part in 12) is effective in cases of offensive lochia after delivery, during puerperal peritonitis, etc. I have found it act better than Condy's fluid, but it produces some dryness, smarting, and irritation, if used too strong.
As a disinfectant for the hands after dissections or post-mortem examinations, liquor chlori is efficient. This was proved on a large scale some years ago at the Vienna Maternity Hospital, when the students were accustomed to pass from the necropsies to the bedside. At one time the mortality amounted to 30 per month, but after the introduction of a chlorine wash for the hands, to be used before and after every post-mortem examination, the mortality fell to about 7 per month, the ordinary average (Medico - Chirurgical Transactions, vol. xxxii.).
As an aerial disinfectant, the value of chlorine has been variously estimated. When cholera appeared in 1830 and 1831, chlorine-fumigation was officially ordered for clothes, wool, and other imports, but there was no satisfactory proof of its efficacy. The Board of Health reports of that period, with the evidence of Gregory, Tweedie, and others, rather negative its value in limiting the spread of fever; and Bousquet reported that chlorine would not prevent the activity of vaccine virus (Lancet, ii., 1831).1 On the other hand, Schoenlein and Eisenmann report its value in scarlet fever, and more recently, Dr. Peter Hood expresses great confidence in it in this disorder. He uses towels and sheets wrung from a strong solution of chloride of lime, and placed about the room and before the door; he states that he has never known infection spread when this was practised. Internally he gives, at first, a purgative or emetic, and afterward quinine, with the best results (Lancet, i., 1869). Mr. Stone (Manchester) reported the vapor effective in staying the spread of cattle-plague; he disengaged it by dropping a few grains of chlorate of potash into a wine-glass two-thirds full of muriatic acid, every six or eight hours; and invented an arrangement for the continuous and regulated supply of the gas in hospital wards, etc. (Lancet, ii., 1867).
1 Dr. Baxter has shown, however, that chlorine, added in quantity sufficient to render the lymph acid, abolishes its infective power, and in the same series of experiments found that chlorine in the proportion of .078 per cent. or more, is equally antidotal to the virus of infective inflammation (Report of Medical Officer of Privy Council and Local Government Board, new series, No. vi.).
The general opinion of the profession, and the general result of experiment, is rather against the possibility of controlling infection by this means, at least by a chlorinated atmosphere dilute enough to be respira-ble; it must be considered doubtful whether emanations from vessels containing lime chloride, or from sheets saturated with it, really exert a remedial effect, though as a measure of precaution they may be worth using. In an empty, closed chamber, the gas, no doubt, is effective, and may be used as described under manganese, but for general purposes sulphurous acid is better.