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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/822

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

throat. When these important parts are in an unhealthy condition, where mouth breathing exists and other conditions inimical to normal health, the patient is more predisposed to all forms of maladies of this region, and the attack when developed is more apt to be of a serious character. The more ordinary forms of sore throat, such as tonsilitis, are frequently due to defects in the sanitary conditions and surroundings of the home. While modern sanitary plumbing, when properly constructed, adds much to the convenience of the household, it is a certain menace to all its members if, through improper construction or defective ventilation, decomposing matter collects in the waste pipes and vitiates the atmosphere of the rooms. Many recurrent cases of tonsilitis are due to this cause. Even the ordinary stationary washstands may be a source of danger, especially in the bedroom, unless thoroughly ventilated and care exercised that the traps are not filled with decomposing matter. A physician of large experience in this city is so imbued with the danger of this form of plumbing that he condemns it in toto. When well constructed and well ventilated, however, they can not be the source of danger in the household.

Tuberculosis, which is responsible for so enormous a mortality, frequently also affects the throat as well as the lungs. Although it usually originates within the chest, it sometimes finds its primary origin in the throat, and in a large percentage of cases the throat affection forms a complication of tuberculosis of the lungs. In spite of the numerous remedies which have been advocated for the cure of this disease, it must be admitted that our chief reliance is in proper nourishment and climatic effects, and that hygiene is the sheet-anchor which will eventually rescue us from this terrible foe of the human race.

Recent investigations tend to prove more and more that tuberculosis is inherited in but rare cases; that inheritance is simply a predisposing factor, and that the real cause is infection. As an illustration of this, all have seen instances in which there had been apparently no cases in a family for ten or fifteen years, when from some cause one case develops, and this is soon followed by other cases in the same family. Whatever rĂ´le heredity may play in these cases, this simply shows that the first case produced the infectious material which found a suitable soil in the other members of the family and developed a similar disease. The inheritance theory has been the source of much injury by causing members of the afflicted family to submit to the apparently inevitable instead of instituting measures for its prevention. The infectious product in tuberculosis is not the breath, as is so frequently believed by the laity, but simply the expectoration which comes from the diseased lungs or throat. When this is allowed to come in contact with clothing or other material in the room, it becomes dry and loads the atmosphere with a dust which