Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/665

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REMEDIAL VALUE OF THE CLIMATE OF FLORIDA.

that it is well-nigh impossible for them to give unprejudiced statements concerning the healthfulness of the State, its adaptation to the cure of disease, or any other subject, which even remotely touches their personal interest. A prism is placed before your eyes, and you are caused to see everything covered with the colors of the rainbow.

However, I snatched one fragment from the page of fact. During the last six months of 1881 there were thirteen deaths in Jacksonville (population 8,000[1]) from consumption, these deaths being of residents only, and excluding all non-residents or visiting invalids. This is a mortality of 1·62 per 1,000, being a greater mortality than occurred in Cincinnati during the same time, which was 4·24 in a population of 280,000, or 1·51 per 1,000. These figures do not establish the rate of mortality, from this disease, in the city of Jacksonville, for in so small a place a series extending over a number of years would be necessary. But, when facts are so difficult to find, we must content ourselves even with a straw. It is much more satisfactory to thus have an indication from a populous center, than the rate from sparsely populated country districts, which, as is well known, are comparatively immune everywhere. It may be stated, in this connection, that natives of Florida taken with consumption frequently seek other places and climates as a means of cure.

In endeavoring to show the unfitness of Florida for consumptives, I have spoken of the disease en bloc, and made no reference to the different types, as I believe it better to convey the impression that Florida is not suitable for any type of the disease. Possibly in the rare inflammatory kind, with dry and heated bronchial tubes and beginning laryngeal symptoms, the soothing and relaxing air of Florida may be of temporary advantage. But the forecast of such cases is seen ab initio, and we do not look for a cure, such as may frequently occur in cases of the more chronic sort, when proper medicinal treatment is given and a proper climate is selected.

We do not mean to say that cases of consumption never improve in Florida. Undoubtedly there are cases which get well in Florida, just as there are in every locality, and even at home.

Turning from consumption, we will look on the opposite side of the picture. Are there no diseases of the lungs in which this delightful climate is beneficial? Undoubtedly; and it is the efficacy of the climate in this other group of diseases—the bronchial, often wrongly diagnosed as consumption—that has given reputation to the climate. The "taking of cold" in Florida is a comparatively infrequent event. Even when one does take cold it is only manifested by slight sneezing, and that is the end of it. There is no tendency to acute inflammation of the Schneiderian membranes, the extension by continuity to the fauces, larynx, trachea, and bronchial tubes; in fine, to that compound

  1. The population of Jacksonville, including suburbs, is considerably above this, but the mortality statistics are limited to a district the population of which is as stated.