Contagion, infection, or the communication of a disease from one body to another. In some cases it is conveyed by immediate contact or touch ; in others, by infected clothes, such as cotton, and particularly wool, which of all sub-stances is the most susceptible, be-cause it is extremely porous. Contagious matter is also, though we apprehend erroneously, said to be transmitted through the air, at a considerable distance, by means of effluvia arising from the sick, in which case the atmosphere is said to be infected.
Some authors have asserted, that the gout and consumption are likewise contagious ; but this appears. to be very doubtful. It is, however, highly probable, that those diseases may be communicated by the milk of nurses. In temperate climates, like that of Britain, there is but little danger of contracting them by infection, among adults $ though, in the warmer climates of Europe, it will be prudent to take the necessary precautions against such accidents. - To obviate as fat-as possible all infection, we would recommend to those who are obliged to attend patients, never to ap-proach them fasting; and, while they are in their apartment, to avoid both eating and drinking, and also the swallowing of their own saliva. Nor will it be altogether useless to chew myrrh, cinnamon, and similar drugs, which promote a plentiful discharge from the mouth. As soon as a person has returned from visiting an infected patient, he ought immediately to wash his mouth and hands with vinegar ; to change his clothes, carefully exposing those he has worn to the fresh air; and then to drink a warm infusion of sage, or other aromatic herbs, which tends to open the pores, and expel, by means of a gentle perspiration, the pestilential virus, if any should have incorporated with the mass of his fluids. It will also be of considerable service to those who are employed about sick persons, frequently to smell vinegar and camphor, or to fumigate the apartments with tobacco, the pungency of which accelerates the circulation of the blood, and is believed to prevent infection, by attracting the contagious effluvia.