This section of the book is from the "Household Companion: The Family Doctor" book
This is breathing in vapor of some kind; which is considerably employed in the treatment of diseases, especially of the throat and lungs; as well as (by the use of ether, chloroform, and nitrous oxide), to prevent pain during surgical or dental operations.
Smoking is a simple method of inhalation, acting most powerfully when long pipes (narghileh, chibouk) are used, requiring chest-breathing to draw the smoke through the pipe. Chinese opium-smokers,
however, actually inhale the vapor of the narcotic into their lungs. Pure steam is soothing to an irritated throat. It may be inhaled b y placing a towel, or a paper funnel, over a kettle which is kept boillng, and breathing the vapor which emerges from the spout. A simple inhaler may be made of a wide-mouthed bottle or jar, through whose cork two glass tubes are passed, one straight the other bent in the middle. The liquid to be inhaled from should not more than half fill the bottle. The straight tube should reach down a little below the surface of the liquid the end of the bent one should stop an inch or so above it. Thus, when the patient draws a breath from the latter, the air which he receives has to pass through the medicated liquid. Tar, creosote, iodine, hops, laudanum, etc., may be thus inhaled. A volatile material, like ammonia or nitrite of amyl may be inhaled directly from a bottle, small or large. The former of these is a potent stimulant in cases of fainting; the latter (nitrite of amyl), often gives relief in attacks of angina pectoris.
Instead of vapor, fine powders are sometimes blown into the throat. For sore throat in children, alum powder may be thus blown in with a glass tube or a long quill; or with one of the powder-squirts sold by apothecaries for blowing borax, etc., into cracks to destroy insects.
Atomization is the introduction of a very fine spray of liquid into the throat and air passages. Such a spray is made by the odorators which are used to spread cologne or other perfumes in the air. Instruments are made for atomizing in cases of irritated throat, with which solutions of ipecac, chloride of ammonium, etc., can be applied.
A cigarette for medicinal inhalation may be made by the use of a glass tube, six or eight inches long. Near one end of the tube put in a piece of fine soft sponge. Drop into the tube, from the other end, the material to be inhaled; tar, creosote, tincture of iodine, gum camphor, etc. Then insert a second piece of sponge near the upper end of the tube; through this the patient is to breathe for the inhalation. Cotton or tissue-paper will do instead of sponge for the purpose.