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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2041

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1835
INFECTIOUS AND CONTAGIOUS DISEASES

of the body should be bathed, especially the scalp, as the disease poison is apt to linger about the roots of the hair among the dandruff. The peeling of the feet and palms of the hands may be hastened by the use of pumice stone.

To purify the apartment, wash the furniture, woodwork, floor and walls (scraping off the paper) with the carbolic acid solution and soap. Then shut up the room tightly, pasting up windows and chimney with brown paper, and burn in it 1 Ib. of sulphur for every thousand cubic feet of space it contains. (A room 15 feet long, 12 feet broad, and 9 feet high, for instance, would require 1½ lb.) The action of the sulphur dioxide produced is more certain if the air of the room is moist. Steam should therefore be introduced into the room half an hour before the sulphur is burnt, or the walls of the room should be thoroughly sprayed with water.

The sulphur is best burnt in an iron dish supported upon a basin of water. To start it burning moisten with a little methylated spirit. Allow the fumes to remain in the closed room for 24 hours. Lastly, open doors and windows so as to ventilate freely, for a week, at the end of which time disinfection may generally be considered complete.

A more modern method of disinfecting, which has the great advantage over sulphur of not injuring fabrics and pictures and not bleaching colours, is the use of Formic Aldehyde Gas. The same precautions are taken of pasting up windows, chimneys and doors, and the gas is introduced into the room through the keyhole. Formalin, as it is also called, is best made by passing the vapour of methylated spirit over platinised asbestos. Special apparatus can be procured for this purpose, the use of which can be quickly learnt. The principal disinfecting establishments now use formalin in preference to sulphur.

Small-pox, or Variola.—This is a febrile, eruptive and contagious disorder, which in the past raged with much violence in this country, but in recent periods has been vastly controlled by the discovery of vaccination. About its origin not much is known. The earliest records mention a disease which was probably small-pox, as far back as the sixth century; since this period it has appeared with more or less virulence at various periods. The most common varieties are: the discrete, in which the pustules are distinct; the confluent, in which the pustules run together; the malignant, which is often associated with purpura and an eruption resembling measles—a very dangerous form; and the modified, which comes on in those partially protected by vaccination, and is a kind that runs a very mild course. In cases of small-pox there are: (1) the stage of incubation, which lasts 12 days from the date of receiving the poison ; (2) the stage of eruptive fever, lasting 48 hours; (3) the stage of maturation, wherein the rash is fully developed, lasting about 9 days ; (4) the stage of secondary fever or decline, lasting a variable time, according to the severity of the disease. Discrete small-pox is, next to the modified, the simplest