(1) How Cold Packs Promote Heat Radiation

Many people are under the impression that the packs reduce the fever temperature so quickly because they are put on cold. But this is not so, because, unless the reaction be bad, the packs become warm after a few minutes' contact with the body.

The prompt reduction of temperature takes place because of increased heat radiation. The coldness of the pack may lower the surface temperature slightly; but it is the moist warmth forming under the pack on the surface of the body that draws the blood from the congested interior into the skin, relaxes and opens its minute blood vessels and pores, and in that way facilitates the escape of heat from the body.

In febrile conditions the pores and capillary blood vessels of the skin are tense and contracted. Therefore the heat cannot escape, the skin is hot and dry, and the interior of the body remains overheated. When the skin relaxes and the patient begins to perspire freely, we say the fever is broken.

The moist warmth under the wet pack produces this relaxation of the skin in a perfectly natural manner. By means of these simple packs followed by cold ablutions, the temperature of the patient can be kept at any point desired without the use of poisonous antifever medicines, serums and antitoxins which lower the temperature by benumbing and paralyzing heart action, respiration, the red and white blood corpuscles, and thus generally lowering the vital activities of the organism.