Small-Pox is a contagious eruption, attended with inflammatory fever. The patient complains ofhead-ach; nausea, and vomiting; heat beat and cold; respiration is difficult, and the breath fluid. Generally, on the third day, small red appear, particularly on the and about the neck, which gradually spread, sometimes over whole body, and rise into pimples, till the fifth day, when t are observed to contain fluid matter : in the course of eight days, they begin to suppurate ; a change which may be ascertained by their opaque, white, and at length yellow colour. A crust is then formed, which generally falls off, after the twelfth day, frequently leaving depressed scare or pits in the skin. Such is the course of the disease, in its milder state.
The small-pox is divided into two species, 1. the distinct, and 2. the confluent: in the former, the pustules are few and separate, with circular margins, being elevated, and the fever ceasing on the appearance of the eruption. In the latter, the pustules are numerous and close, with irregular margin-, flaccid, and low : the fever continuing even after the pustule are visible; and all the symptoms are more violent. - Convulsions', which in many cases occur, before the eruption is discernible, are seldom attended with danger; but, if intervening in the progress of the disease, they often terminate fatally. It may, likewise, be considered as a favourable circumstance, if the eruptive fever cease with the appearance of the pustules, and the patient feel himself more vigorous on the day. Th event, however, greatly depends on the fever ; which generally commences at the period, when real matter is formed in the pustule; but, if it appear before that stage, the worst consequences may be apprehended.
Cure: - If the disorder be mild, and attended with such sympt as have been mentioned in the dis-tinct small-pox, the recovery should be chiefly entrusted to Nature, while every attention must be paid to diet and regimen. Previous to the appearance of the pustules, the patient should be kept in a cool, but dry apartment, well aired, and abstain from all animal food ; though weak broths may be occasionally allowed : on the other hand, he may eat all vegetables of a cooling and mucilaginous kind; boiled and roasted fruit; preparations of pearl-barley, sago, cherries, currant-, mulberries, etc.; but cheese, pastry, and confectionary, are very pernicious. The beverage should consist of barley-water acidulated with vinegar or cream of tartar ; or one part of milk, mixed with three parts of water, either to be taken lukewarm ; but wine, beer, coffee and tea, ought to be prohibited loo great indulgence in sleep is also injurious, particularly on feather-beds, which always increase the heat and fever: it would be more advisable to lie on mattresses, and be lightly covered. - It is a common prejudice of the vulgar, not to shift the linen during the whole complaint; but this change cannot be too strongly inculcated in a disease, where perspiration and eruption render the covering of the skin impure ; though precaution is required, that i new vestment be perfectly aired. If the patient bean adult, and of a plethoric habit, blood-letting may, in this stage, be resorted to, with advantage.
In obstruction of the bowels, none but the mildest laxatives can be given: it would, however, be more advantageous to regulate the body by emollient clysters, each being composed of half a pint of whey, a table-spoonful of honey, two table-spoonfuls of sweet-oil, and a small portion of common salt; such injections to be repeated, till they produce the desired effect. Similar means may be employed with benefit, in cases of convulsions. - Where the throat happens to be affected, the most suitable remedies will be, warm fomentations applied to the neck, and mustard-poultices to the feet; while the throat should be gargled with vinegar and water. - But, if the patient be of a weak constitution, or be reduced in strength, recourse must be had to corroborants, such as Peruvian bark, taken by the mouth, and injected in clysters ; sinapisms, and other stimulants to be devised by the profession. When a looseness threatens to increase this state of debility, small doses of tincture of rhubarb with spearmint water, in which gum-arabic is dissolved; and the use of the bark, will be the remedies here indicated.
After the eruption has taken place, the fever generally subsides; in which case it is advisable to abstain from all medicines, and observe the diet above pointed out, unless the pustules disappear again, when blistering-plasters ought to be applied to the calves of the legs without delay, and small doses of camphor taken internally ; or parsley-root boiled in milk, frequently eaten, with a view to encourage the eruption : a few drops of laudanum, given in the morning and evening, have often produced that effect, especially where convulsive symptoms were obvious.
If, during the suppurative stage, or what is termed the turn of the disorder, the fever be inconsiderable, the same diet will be proper, as was directed at the commencement of the disease; but, should the febrile symptoms re-appear, or the pustules suddenly sink (a circumstance which always denotes great danger), blisters must immediately be applied to the extremities ; the legs be rubbed with flannel; and the feet bathed in tepid water. In this particular situation of the patient, medical advice is indispensably necessary, and ought to be speedily procured.
When the scurf begins to peel off, a gentle laxative, twice, or three times a week, will, in general, prevent many of those secondary complaints which frequently succeed the small-pox: or, if the eyes be swollen and inflamed, the application ofwarm bread and milk with Goulard-water, and leeches to the temples, will, in most cases, remove this local affection. After the inflammatory symptoms have entirely subsided, the patient may gradually resort to his former diet ; observing, however, some precaution and moderation in the use of wine, animal food, and other heating substances.