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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2097

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boiling water, wring it out immediately, and sprinkle one side of it with fresh flour of mustard. The flannel should be laid upon a hot plate while being sprinkled, that no warmth may be lost. Another way of making a mustard poultice is by spreading a large tablespoonful of mustard, made in the ordinary way as if for table, on a piece of soft linen, and warming it before the fire when it is to be applied. A third, and better plan if warmth be needed, is to make a common linseed or bread poultice and stir into it a tablespoonful of mustard, either fresh or mixed. It is generally desirable, with poultices made on either of the last two plans, to place a piece of fine old muslin or gauze between the poultice and the skin.


Mix equal parts of dry mustard and linseed-meal in warm vinegar. When the poultice is wanted weak, warm water may be used instead of the vinegar; and when it is required very strong, only a very little of the linseed-meal must be added to the mustard. Apply in the ordinary way.


A fomentation is an external application of a hot fluid, generally by means of a flannel, to some affected internal organ such as the throat, or to the muscles round a joint, with the object of procuring relief of pain by exciting a greater flow of blood to the skin covering the affected part. What the hot bath is to the whole body, indeed, the fomentation is to a part. The swelling which accompanies inflammation is rendered much less painful by fomentation, owing to the greater readiness with which the skin yields than when it is harsh and dry. As the real agent of relief is the heat, the fomentation should be as hot as it can comfortably be borne, and to insure effect should be repeated every hour. Fomentations are of various kinds: emollient, when an infusion of mallows is required; sedative, when poppy-heads are used; but the most simple and often times the most useful that can be employed is "hot water," applied by a flannel.


The best application of this kind is made by wringing coarse flannel by means of two sticks turned in opposite directions out of boiling water, and, shaking it up, apply it lightly to the part. Or the steeped flannel may be placed in a towel, and the excessive water quickly twisted out. It is advisable to have two pieces of flannel ready each about 3 yards long. While one is being used, the other may be getting ready. When turpentine has to be added, lightly sprinkle it on the side next the skin. Cover the flannel used to foment with wool and oiled silk.