Sweating-Sickness, an epidemic which raged in England in 1481, and returned seven times between that period and 1551; in which year it proved so fatal, as to carry off 120 inhabitants of Westminster in one day. It commenced with a most profuse fit of sweating, which attacked the patient, and often terminated his existence in one, two, or three hours ; though its violence continued for the space of 15 hours ; and, if he survived 24, the danger was generally overcome.
The most correct account of this national scourge, is that published by Dr. Caius, who states the symptoms to have been, a sensation of a hot vapour pervading a particular limb, whence it extended over the whole body, being accompanied with intense thirst; extreme internal heat; profuse sweating; anxiety; drowsiness; sickness ; a violent pain in the head, and delirium. - Dr. C. conjectures the immediate cause of this sickness, in 1551, to have proceeded from thick fetid fogs, that arose from putrid matters ; unclean habitations, and the neglect of clearing drains ; all which remarkably contaminated the air. In order to prevent a return, he directs a stri6t attention to cleanliness, abstemious living, and free exposure to the air: in case the contagion be suspected, it will be advisable to kindle large? fires contiguously to the house, and to burn aromatic substances, frequently inhaling them by the nostrils. With respect to the cure; the sweat being critical, he advise9 the patient to lie down, without changing his clothes, to be covered closely, and to avoid the least motion. After the first five hours, he may take a little wine and water through a spout. At the expiration of the fourteenth hour, the bed-clothes should be gradually removed ; the sweating restrained ; and, after 24 hours, some light food may be administered.
Such ought to be the treatment, when the sweat is spontaneous: in the contrary case, it becomes necessary to resort to -warm and dry friction : draughts of generous wine, together with Mithridate or Venice-cle, aromatics, and similar sudorifics, ought to be given. By this management, it judiciously adapted to circumstances, the disease may be removed, even under the most alarming symptoms. - It Is, however, remarkable, that the persons most liable to the contagion, were those in full health, of middle age, and of the higher classes ; while children, the poor, and the aged, were less subject to its influence.