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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/824

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subject not only to the inhalation in the car, but also to carrying the infectious material to their homes.

The danger of this condition is not merely speculative. It has been bacteriologically demonstrated that the organisms of various contagious diseases thus find a lodging place in our cars and public places, and experiments on animals, in which the inoculation has developed diseases, have shown that these organisms retain their vitality in these places and may propagate disease under favorable conditions.

A factor in the spread of diseases of the throat and mouth that should not be overlooked is kissing. Unfortunately, this matter has usually been treated with much levity, and where a sanitarian is bold enough to condemn the habit he is frequently made the subject of all forms of ridicule in the public press.

The tender lining of the lips, mouth, and throat, and its large blood supply, make it peculiarly susceptible to contagion, and I have no doubt that the habit of kissing is responsible for many cases of infection. Last year I noticed a lady coming from a house from which a diphtheria flag was flying, who walked to the corner to take the street car, when a nurse with a small child approached. The lady without hesitation stooped down and kissed the little child. As it is well known that a healthy person may transmit a disease without incurring the disease himself, this lady voluntarily risked the danger of inflicting this disease upon the innocent child. It is not an uncommon thing for nurses to kiss the children under their charge, and here in New Orleans even the colored nurses sometimes practice this habit, occasionally with the permission of the parents. In fact, a fashionable lady on one occasion told me, when I remonstrated with her about this, that she feared to hurt the feelings of the old nurse, who had been a valuable servant in the family for many years.

How often this habit is productive of evil results is of course only speculation. I recall, however, an instance in which two small children of one family developed a specific disease which originated in the mouth and affected the whole system. Examination proved this to have been caused by a nurse, a white woman, who had been in the habit of kissing the children. If women will voluntarily incur risks by using kissing as a form of salutation in all stages of acquaintanceship, I would at least request that the innocent children be spared the possible consequences.

The subject of the hygiene of the ear is so intimately connected with conditions influencing the nose and throat, which have already been explained, that but few words are needed to cover this part of my subject. In general, the best care of the ear is to leave it alone. Ear scoops are injurious; the ear should be cleaned simply on the outside, and nothing, as a rule, should be inserted into the external