This section is from the book "Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics", by W. Hale White. Also available from Amazon: Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics..
Chlorine is one of the most powerful disinfectants and deodorizers. It has a very great affinity for hydrogen, and hence decomposes compounds which contain hydrogen, oxygen generally being set free. Chlorine is a very active and destructive irritant to the skin and respiratory mucous membranes.
When given internally, some of it is converted into chlorides, but not all, for the odor of chlorine has been found in the brain after death from its inhalation (Cameron). The odor of chlorine is noticeable in the faeces after its internal administration.
Chlorine is largely used in the form of chlorinated lime to disinfect privies, drains, urinals, etc. It may be employed also to disinfect rooms after infectious diseases. All metals or articles such as fabrics, likely to be bleached, should be covered up or removed; the windows and chimneys should be pasted up. The gas can be evolved from common salt, 18; manganese dioxide, 15; and sulphuric acid, 45; in iced water, 21 parts by weight. The door is then shut, and the cracks around it are pasted over with paper. To disinfect hands moistened chlorinated lime is spread over the hands, next a large crystal of washing soda is held in the hands, and they are washed with rubbing under water until a cooling sensation is experienced. The best disinfectant for excreta is fresh chlorinated lime, 1; dissolved in water, 16. One quart (960 c.c.) is placed in the receptacle into which the dejecta are received and left one hour. (Sternberg.) Chlorine water is sometimes employed as a wash for foul ulcers and discharges. The preparation known as electrozone owes its antiseptic properties to chlorine. It is sea water, the alkaline chlorides of which have been converted into hypochlorites by electrolysis. Its antiseptic strength is about the same as that of Liquor Sodae Chloratae.
Chlorine is used internally in the form of a wash for the mouth. A wash (strong hydrochloric acid, 5 m. .30 c.c.; potassium chlorate, 9 gr. .60 gm.; water, 1 fl. oz. 30. c.c.) containing free chlorine, is very useful for syringing the fauces and nose in scarlet fever. The vapor gives rise to great irritation of the respiratory tract, and should never be inhaled* Aqua Chlori has been successfully used, well diluted, in the diarrhoea of typhoid fever, particularly in markedly septic patients. After the administration of drachm doses every hour the temperature falls, the intellect brightens, the tongue clears and betterment goes on to recovery in many apparently hopeless cases.