Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/736

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

alence of scarlet fever is for New York entirely opposed to that for London. Thus, the lowest death-rate from this disease happens in New York between the end of July and early in October, when the mortality from it in London is greatest. Again, the curve of lowest mortality in London falls in February, March, and April, reaching its lowest point when the mortality is greatest in New York. "We are therefore," Dr. Tripe remarks, "driven to the conclusion either that the same meteorological changes which appear to increase the disease in London decrease it in New York, or, that the mortality per cent of attack is greater at one period of the year than at another. Similar opposing curves are noticeable as regards whooping-cough. These are by no means satisfactory results to have arrived at after so much labor. On the other hand, the curves of mortality from small-pox, measles, diphtheria, typhoid fever, diarrhœa, phthisis, bronchitis, pneumonia, heart-disease, and apoplexy closely correspond in both these great cities."

 

Suggestions about Bathing.—When and under what conditions a bath will be most beneficial is an important question. The important point is to secure a speedy and healthful reaction, or return of the blood to the surface, and all the conditions should be arranged with reference to that end. Obviously, says the "Lancet," it is not right to dare the dangers of a chill either when undressing or by immersion in the cold water. In most cases a sweating surface indicates some measure of exhaustion already set in; and it is unwise to bathe when copious perspiration has continued for an hour or more, unless the heat of the weather be excessive or the sweating has been induced by loading with clothes rather than by exertion. When much perspiration has been produced by muscular exercise, it is unsafe to bathe, because the body is so fatigued and exhausted that the reaction can not be insured, and the effect may be to congest the internal organs, and notably the nerve-centers. The last gives cramp. If the weather be chilly, or there be a cold wind, so that the body may be rapidly cooled at the surface while undressing, it is not safe to bathe. Under such conditions, the further chill of immersion in cold water will take place at the precise moment at which the reaction consequent upon the chill of exposure by undressing ought to take place, and this second chill will not only delay or altogether prevent the reaction, but will convert the bath from a mere stimulant to a depressant, ending in the abstraction of a large amount of animal heat and congestion of the internal organs and nerve-centers. The aim must be to avoid two chills, and to make sure that the body is in such a condition as to secure a quick reaction on emerging from the water, without relying too much on the possible effect of friction by rubbing. The actual temperature of the water does not affect the question so much as its relative temperature in comparison with that of the surrounding air. It ought to be much lower than that of the air. These maxims receive a striking re-enforcement from the case of a young soldier who a few days ago plunged into the river near Manchester, England, after having heated himself by rowing. He was immediately taken with cramps, and was drowned. When taken out, his body was found "twisted," and the vessels of his head showed every evidence of congestion. Quintus Curtius relates that Alexander the Great attempted a bath in the Cydnus on a very hot day, when all sweating. "Hardly had he entered, when his limbs became suddenly stiff, the body pale, and vital heat seemed by degrees to abandon him. His officers received him almost expiring in their arms, and carried him almost senseless to his tent.

 

Satisfying Religious Scruples.—Dr. Francis Day, formerly inspector-general, stated, in a recent lecture on the fisheries of India, that while as Buddhists the Burmans profess a religious horror of taking the lives of the lower animals, they are immoderately fond of fish-diet, and pretend to console their consciences, while indulging in it, that the death of the fish must be laid to the fishermen, and can not be charged against them! The prospects of the fishermen in the next life appear, however, to be most dreadful, for the temples have pictures of terrible and artfully contrived tortures to which they will be condemned. The poon-