Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2026

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The doses of medicine prescribed in these pages are those intended for adults, unless otherwise stated


How to keep Well, Infectious and Contagious Diseases, Non-Infectious Diseases and their Remedies, Common Complaints and their Remedies and What to do in Cases of Accident or Sudden Illness.


Introductory.—Health of body and mind is a blessing of such inestimable value, and is so obviously one of the greatest sources of earthly happiness, that the efforts of all wise persons should be directed towards its attainment. As disease is simply a departure from perfect health, our earliest attention should be given to the chief agents which produce any disturbance of, or departure from, absolute health, so that we may be the more able to combat them successfully. The innumerable external influences which disturb the natural condition of our organs, or the balance of the functions which they perform, as, for example, excess or privation of the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat; variations in the direction of the superabundance or deficiency of the light, heat, and electricity which modify the nutrition of our bodies: all these are among the prime factors in the disturbance of human health, and as such demand our serious consideration.

Heat and Cold as Causes of Disease.—These are two of the most prolific sources of disturbance of perfect health, and they enter very largely into health considerations, chills especially being responsible for a large proportion of our ailments. Unguarded exposure to intense heat, especially from the direct rays of the sun, is liable to produce sunstroke, which often proves rapidly fatal. Ingenious experiments have shown that the faintness, giddiness and insensibility which accompany this seizure are due to the immediate effect of heat upon the brain substance. Every one susceptible to such influence, therefore, should avoid exposure to the sun in very hot weather between the hours of 11 and 3 o'clock; or, if obliged to be out, should wear a large brimmed hat, to which a pugree may be added, so that all parts of the head and the back of the neck are protected from the sun's rays. Failing this a wet handkerchief, arranged to cover the scalp and the back of the neck, is a useful substitute.

When giddiness or weakness with heat about the head come on and an attack of a serious nature is threatened, the patient should be