By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: American Red Cross Text-Book on Home Hygiene and Care of the Sick
Author: Delano, Jane A., Strong, Anne Hervey, Cross, American Red
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "American Red Cross Text-Book on Home Hygiene and Care of the Sick" ***














  Chairman of the National Committee, Red Cross Nursing Service; Director,
  Department of Nursing, American Red Cross; Late Superintendent
  of the Nurse Corps, U. S. A.; of the Training Schools
  for Nurses, Bellevue Hospital, New York City; and of the
  Training School for Nurses, Hospital of the University
  of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia




  Professor of Public Health Nursing, Simmons College, Boston

  _This is the Second Edition of the American Red Cross
  Text-book in Elementary Hygiene and Home Care of
  the Sick by Jane A. Delano and Isabel McIsaac._








To the woman who wishes to protect her family from preventable diseases
and is anxious to fit herself in the absence of a trained nurse to give
intelligent care to those who are sick, this revision of the Red Cross
text-book on Elementary Hygiene and Home Care of the Sick is
particularly directed. It should appeal to men and to women who are
interested in maintaining the health of their neighborhoods and
communities and in affording effective coöperation to the public health
authorities. To teachers wishing to impart protective health information
to high school pupils, the book also should be useful as a class text as
well as a guide.

The war, which has caused the withdrawal from private practice of
thousands of physicians and graduate nurses, makes it peculiarly
important to the nation for every adult to have sound knowledge as to
how to prevent contagion and epidemics, especially by precautionary
attention to home and local sanitation. With nurses becoming more
difficult to secure, the safety of the family demands that some member
in each household know enough about elementary nursing to make a patient
comfortable and to carry out accurately the instructions of the

The work of revision, based upon the latest knowledge of hygiene,
sanitation and methods of home-nursing has been done by Miss Anne Hervey
Strong, Professor of Public Health Nursing, Simmons College, under the
personal direction of the author and the National Committee on Red Cross
Nursing Service. The material has been painstakingly read by Dr. H. W.
Rucker and Dr. Taliaferro Clarke of the United States Public Health
Service, and Lieutenant Colonel Clarence H. Connor, Medical Corps,
United States Army. Indebtedness to Dr. H. M. McCracken, President of
Vassar College and Director of the Red Cross Junior Membership, for his
valuable suggestion as to adapting the book for high school use as well
as for the assistance rendered by his Department, also is gladly

J. A. D.


I wish to express my gratitude to those who have so kindly helped in the
work of preparing the present edition. Thanks are especially due to
Professor Isabel Stewart, Miss Anna C. Jamme, Professor Curtis M.
Hilliard, Professor Maurice Bigelow, Miss Katharine Lord, Miss Josephine
Goldmark, and Miss Evelyn Walker.

A. H. S.


  PREFACE                                                            v

  INTRODUCTION                                                      xi



  CAUSES AND PREVENTION OF SICKNESS                                  1

     Communicable diseases, 1. Micro-organisms and bacteria,
     1. Parasites, 3. Structure and development of parasites,
     4. Bacteria, 4. Shape, 4. Size, 5. Motion, 5.
     Multiplication, 5. Spores, 7. Distribution, 8. Protozoa,
     8. Visible parasites, 8. Transmission of pathogenic
     organisms, 9. Defenses of the body, 12. Immunity, 13.
     Vaccination and inoculation, 15. Carriers, 17.
     Non-communicable diseases, 20. Physical examinations, 22.


  HEALTH AND THE HOME                                               27

     Heredity, 27. Hygiene of environment and person, 28.
     Ventilation, 29. Lighting, 32. Cleanliness of houses, 33.
     Garbage, 37. Insects, 38. Sewage, 39. Personal
     cleanliness, 41. Oral hygiene, 44. Treatment of teeth,
     46. Clothing, 47. Food, 48. Elimination, 52. Rest and
     fatigue, 53. Sleep, 55. Recreation, 55.


  BABIES AND THEIR CARE                                             60

     Growth and development, 64. Average size, 64. Muscular
     development, 65. Development of special senses, of
     speech, of teeth, 66. Normal excretions, 67. Clothing,
     68. Sleep, 70. Fresh air, 72. Diet, 72. Intervals of
     feeding, 73. Water, 75. Weaning, 75. Nursing bottles and
     nipples, 75. Tables of diet, 78. Bathing, 78. Eyes, 80.
     Mouth, 81. Nostrils, 81. Genital organs, 81. Development
     of habits, 82. Exercise, 83. Play and toys, 85.


  INDICATIONS OF SICKNESS                                           88

     Objective symptoms, 92. Temperature, 92. Pulse, 96.
     Respiration, 99. General appearance, 100. Special senses,
     101. Voice, tongue, throat, gums, 102. Cough, 103.
     Appetite, 103. Excretions, 103. Loss of weight, 104.
     Sleep, 104. Mental conditions, 104. Subjective symptoms,
     105. Pain, 105. Records, 107. Tuberculosis, cancer and
     mental illness, 107. Tuberculosis, 109. Cancer, 111.
     Mental illness, 112.


  EQUIPMENT AND CARE OF THE SICK ROOM                              117

     Choice of a sick room, 118. Furnishing, 120. Ventilation,
     123. Heating, 124. Lighting, 124. Cleaning, 126. The
     attendant, 127.


  BEDS AND BEDMAKING                                               132

     Bedsteads, 133. Mattresses, 135. Care of the mattress,
     136. Pillows, 136. Protection of the mattress and
     pillows, 137. Rubber sheets and pillow-cases, 138.
     Sheets, 139. Draw sheets, 139. Pillow covers, 140.
     Blankets, 140. Comforters and quilts, 141. Counterpanes,
     141. Bedmaking, 141. To make an unoccupied bed, 143. To
     change a patient's pillows, 146. Lifting a patient in
     bed, 146. To turn a patient in bed, 147. To change sheets
     while patient is in bed, 147. To move patient from one
     bed to another, 150.


  BATHS AND BATHING                                                154

     Cleansing baths, 154. Bed bath, 156. Care of the mouth
     and teeth, 160. Care of the hair, 163. To wash the hair
     of a bed patient, 164. Hot foot-baths, 165. Cool sponge
     bath, 166.


  APPLIANCES AND METHODS FOR THE SICK-ROOM                         169

     Devices to give support, 172. Bedpans, 176. Daily routine
     in the sick-room, 179. Time for visitors, 182.


  FEEDING THE SICK                                                 187

     The digestive process, 188. Feeding the sick, 191. Liquid
     diet, 192. Semi-solid diet, 192. Light or convalescent
     diet, 193. Full diet, 193. Serving food for the sick,
     195. To feed a helpless patient, 197.


  MEDICINES AND OTHER REMEDIES                                     200

     Action of drugs, 200. Amateur dosing, 202. Patent
     remedies, 205. Administration of medicine, 206.
     Suppositories, 209. Enemata, 210. Sprays and gargles,
     213. Inhalation, 213. Inunction, 214. Household medicine
     cupboard, 215.



     Inflammation, 220. Hot applications, 225. Dry heat, 225.
     Moist heat, 227. Stupes or hot fomentations, 229. Cold
     applications, 231. Dry cold, 231. Moist cold, 232. Cold
     compresses for the eyes, 232. Counter-irritants, 233.
     Mustard paste, 233. Mustard leaves, 234.



     Incubation period, 238. Care of patients with colds or
     other slight infections, 238. Care during more serious
     infections, 242. Children's diseases, 246. Rules for
     isolation and exclusion from school, 247. Disinfection,
     248. Care of nose and throat discharges, 249. Care of
     discharges from the bowels and bladder, 249. Bath water,
     250. Care of the hands, 250. Care of utensils, 251. Care
     of linen, 251. Disinfection of the person, 252.
     Termination of quarantine, 252. Terminal disinfection,
     253. Fumigation, 254.


  COMMON AILMENTS AND EMERGENCIES                                  257

     Conditions in which the nervous system is involved, 257.
     Headache, 257. Sleeplessness, 258. Fainting, 259.
     Convulsions, 260. Shock, 261. Stimulants, 263. Sunstroke
     and heat exhaustion, 264. Conditions in which the
     digestive tract is affected, 265. Nausea and vomiting,
     265. Hiccough, 265. Diarrhœa, 266. Constipation, 266.
     Colic, 266. Conditions in which the eyes or ears are
     affected, 267. Styes, 267. Foreign bodies in the eye,
     267. Disorders affecting the ears, 268. Conditions in
     which the skin is affected, 269. Prickly heat, 269.
     Insect bites and stings, 270. Ivy poisoning, 270. Other
     emergencies, 270. Chills, 270. Croup, 271. Bleeding, 272.
     Treatment of slight wounds, 272. Nose bleed, 274. Profuse
     menstruation, 275. Other injuries, 275. Sprains, 275.
     Bruises, 276. Burns and scalds, 277. Brush burn, 278.


  CHRONICS, AND THE AGED                                           280

     Children, 281. Physical defects, 283. Eye-strain, 284.
     Enlarged tonsils and adenoids, 284. Defective hearing,
     285. Defective teeth, 286. Posture, 286. Predisposition
     to nervousness, 292. Convalescent patients, 294. Chronic
     patients, 299. Care of the aged, 303.


  QUESTIONS FOR REVIEW                                             312

  APPENDIX                                                         319

     Circulars of information issued by Division of Child
     Hygiene, New York Department of Health.

  GLOSSARY                                                         326

  INDEX                                                            331


Health and sickness, at all times momentous factors in the welfare of
our nation, now as never before are matters of vital importance. To win
its victories both in peace and in war, the nation needs all its
citizens with all their powers, and it is a matter of more than passing
interest that, as conservative estimates show, at least three persons
out of every hundred living in the United States are constantly
incapacitated by serious sickness. In 1910 these seriously sick persons
numbered more than 3,000,000. Even more significant, perhaps, is the
fact that at least half of our national sickness could be prevented if
knowledge and resources that we now possess were fully utilized.

The problem of sickness is by no means peculiar to our own day and
generation. It has been a medical, a religious, and a social problem in
every age. From the time of Job its meaning has baffled philosophers;
from his day to ours thoughtful men have devoted their lives to
searching for causes and cures. Yet before the middle of the last
century little progress was made, either in scientific treatment or in
prevention of disease.

The invention of the microscope first made possible a real
understanding of sickness. Through the microscope a new world was
revealed,--a world of the infinitely small, swarming with tiny forms of
animal and vegetable life. No one, however, appreciated the significance
of these hitherto invisible plants and animals until the latter part of
the 19th century, when the great French savant, Pasteur, proved that
little vegetable forms, now called bacteria, cause putrefaction and
fermentation, and also certain diseases of animals and man. Pasteur's
discoveries were carried still further by other scientists, with the
result that bacteriology has revolutionized medicine, agriculture, and
many industries, and has made possible the brilliant achievements of
modern sanitary science. For the first time in history the prevention of
epidemics has become possible, and sickness is no longer regarded as a
punishment for sin.

Actual care of the sick, both in homes and in hospitals, has always been
one of the responsibilities of women. The first general public hospital
was built in Rome in the 4th century after Christ by Fabiola, a
patrician lady. There she nursed the sick with her own hands, and from
her day to ours extends an unbroken line of devoted women, handing down
through the centuries their tradition of compassionate nursing service.
It remained for Florence Nightingale, however, to give to the training
its technical and scientific foundation, and thus to found the
profession of nursing. As a result of her work, effectiveness was added
to the spirit of service, that spirit which inspires the modern nurse no
less than in an earlier day it inspired the Sisters of Charity who died
nursing the wounded on the battlefields of Poland.

But different generations have different needs, and to meet them the
spirit of service must manifest itself in widely varying ways. The sick
need care today no less than they did when St. Elizabeth bathed the feet
of the lepers; but such limited service, however beautiful, is no longer
enough. Today we serve best by preventing sickness. Cure of sickness and
alleviation of suffering must never be neglected; not in cure, however,
but in prevention lies the hope of modern sanitary science, of modern
medicine, and of modern nursing.

Nearly every woman at some time in her life is called upon to assist in
caring for the sick. Indeed, approximately 90% of all sick persons in
the United States are cared for at home, even in cities where hospital
facilities are good. Moreover, every woman is largely responsible for
maintaining her own health, and few escape responsibility at some time
for maintaining the health of others. For such responsibility most women
are poorly prepared. Every year in our own country thousands of persons,
many of them babies and children, die merely because someone, in many
cases a woman, is fatally ignorant of the laws governing sickness and

Only prolonged and careful training, such as good hospital
training-schools afford, can furnish the skill and judgment required in
nursing persons who are seriously ill. Upon the trained nurse the modern
practice of medicine makes great and ever-increasing demands: a nurse
must perform complicated duties, meet critical situations, and carry out
a wide variety of measures based on scientific principles which she must
understand. Good will and sympathy are no longer enough; amateur
nursing, even when performed with the best intentions, may involve grave
dangers for those who are seriously ill.

On the other hand, although it is true that a little knowledge is a
dangerous thing, it is no less true that total ignorance may be more
dangerous still. For instance, in cases of incipient, slight, or chronic
illness, and in certain emergencies a little knowledge may be safer far
than no knowledge at all; and no one, surely, should be ignorant of the
principles of hygiene.

The American Red Cross, recognizing the part that women can and should
play in preventing sickness and in building up the health and vigor of
the nation, has added to its larger patriotic services this elementary
course of instruction in hygiene and home care of the sick. The lessons
are not intended to take the place of a nurse's training, and procedures
requiring technical skill are necessarily omitted. The object of the
book is to supply a little knowledge of sickness, which though limited
may yet be safe. The book is also designed to set forth some general
laws of health; to make possible earlier recognition of symptoms; to
teach greater care in guarding against communicable disease; and to
describe some elementary methods of caring for the sick, which, however
simple, are essential to comfort, and sometimes indeed to ultimate


A History of Nursing--Dock and Nutting, Volume I.

The Life of Florence Nightingale--Cook.

The Life of Pasteur--Vallery-Radot.

The House on Henry Street--Wald.

Public Health Nursing--Gardner, Part I, Chapters I-III.

Origin and Growth of the Healing Art--Berdoe.

Medical History from the Earliest Times--Withington.

Under the Red Cross Flag--Boardman.

Report on National Vitality--Fisher, (Bulletin 30 of the Committee of
One Hundred on National Health. Government Printing Office, Washington).



Diseases of two kinds have long been recognized: first, those
transmitted directly or indirectly from person to person, like smallpox,
measles, and typhoid fever; and second, diseases like heart disease and
apoplexy, which are not so transmitted. These two classes are popularly
called "catching" and "not catching;" the former are the infectious or
communicable diseases, and the latter the non-infectious or
non-communicable. The term contagious, formerly applied to diseases
supposed to be spread only by direct contact, is no longer an accurate
or useful term.


The invention of the microscope, as we have seen, revealed the existence
of innumerable little plants and animals, so small that even many
millions crowded together are invisible to the naked eye. These tiny
living creatures are called micro-organisms or germs. The plant forms
are called bacteria (singular, bacterium), and the animal forms
protozoa (singular, protozoön). The common belief that all or even most
bacteria are harmful is quite unfounded. As a matter of fact, while not
less than 1500 different kinds of micro-organisms or germs are known,
only about 75 varieties are known to produce disease.

Most bacteria belong to the class of micro-organisms called saprophytes,
which find their food in dead organic matter, both animal and vegetable,
and cannot flourish in living tissues. These saprophytes act upon the
tissues of dead animals and vegetables, and resolve them into simpler
substances, which are then ready to serve as nourishment for plants
higher in the vegetable kingdom. Thus the processes which we know as
fermentation and putrefaction are due to the action of saprophytes.
Higher plants in turn furnish food for men and animals, and so the food
supply is used over and over in different forms, making what is known as
the _food cycle_. If it were not for bacterial activities vegetation
would be robbed of its supply of nourishment, and plant life would
speedily end; destruction of plant life would deprive the animal kingdom
of food and thus all life would become extinct. The saprophytes are
consequently essential to the existence of both animals and vegetables.

There are, however, other organisms called _parasites_, which can exist
in living tissues of animals or vegetables. The organisms at whose
expense the parasites live are called their _hosts_. Parasites not only
contribute nothing to their hosts, but generally harm them by producing
poisonous substances or depriving them of food. Some parasites are able
to lead a saprophytic existence also, but as a rule they live at the
expense of animal or plant life. Pathogenic, or disease-producing, germs
belong to the group of parasites. The pathogenic germs which find
favorable soil in the body produce poisons called toxins. These poisons
or toxins interfere with the bodily functions, and thus cause what we
know as communicable disease. Communicable diseases are caused by
specific germs only: that is, a certain disease cannot develop unless
its particular germs are present; the germs of typhoid for instance, can
cause typhoid fever only, and not tuberculosis or other disease.

A number of diseases are caused by micro-organisms that are now well
known. Chief among these diseases are colds, septicæmia (blood
poisoning), influenza, pneumonia, diphtheria, typhoid fever,
tuberculosis, whooping cough, Asiatic cholera, bubonic plague,
meningitis, tetanus ("lock jaw"), leprosy, gonorrhœa, syphilis,
relapsing fever, typhus fever, glanders, and anthrax. Micro-organisms
not yet identified probably cause the communicable diseases whose origin
is not known with certainty. These include infantile paralysis,
smallpox, scarlet fever, measles, mumps, chicken-pox, Rocky Mountain
spotted fever, yellow fever, hydrophobia (rabies), foot-and-mouth
disease. We can hardly doubt that the intensive laboratory research now
in progress will reveal in the near future the specific germs of these
diseases also.


The group of parasites consists of two general classes, the vegetable,
and the animal. In the former class belong the bacteria, and in the
latter the protozoa. The two classes are not sharply differentiated, but
in general the vegetable parasites are less highly organized than the


SHAPE.--Bacteria are composed of single cells and are consequently
called unicellular organisms. Under the microscope individual cells are
seen to differ in size, shape, and structure. In shape bacteria show
three different types; the rod-shaped (bacillus), the spherical
(coccus), and the spiral (spirillum). The organisms causing typhoid
fever for example are a variety of bacilli, those causing pneumonia are
cocci, while those causing Asiatic cholera are spirilla.

[Illustration: FIG. 1.--BACILLI OF VARIOUS FORMS. (_Williams._)]

SIZE.--Bacteria vary greatly in size. Average rod-shaped bacteria are
about 1/25000 of an inch long, but there are undoubtedly organisms so
small that they cannot be seen, even by means of the strongest
microscopes we now possess.

SARCINÆ. FIG. 2.--(_Williams._)]

MOTION.--The power of motion in certain species of bacteria is due to
hair-like appendages called flagella. These flagella by a lashing
movement somewhat resembling the action of oars enable the organisms to
move through fluids.

MULTIPLICATION.--After bacteria have fully developed, each cell divides
into two equal parts; the process of division is called fission. Each
of these two parts rapidly grows into a full-sized organism. Then
fission again takes place, so that four bacteria replace the original
one. In each of the four, fission occurs again, and so the process of
multiplication continues. As bacteria develop they group themselves in
characteristic ways. Some, like the streptococci, arrange themselves in
chains; the diplococci, in pairs; the tetrads, in groups of four; others
in packets called sarcinæ, and still others, the staphylococci, form
masses supposed to resemble bunches of grapes.

[Illustration: FIG. 3.--SPIRILLA OF VARIOUS FORMS. (_Williams._)]

[Illustration: FIG. 4.--BACTERIA SHOWING FLAGELLA. (_Williams._)]

Under favorable conditions fission occurs rapidly; in some types a new
generation may appear as often as every 15 minutes. Enormous
multiplication would result if nothing occurred to check the process.
But in nature such increase never continues unhindered, and bacteria,
acting upon their food substances, produce acids and other materials
injurious to themselves. Furthermore, lack of proper food, moisture, or
favorable temperature, and competition with other organisms tend to
prevent their unrestricted growth and multiplication.

[Illustration: FIG. 5.--BACTERIA WITH SPORES. (_Williams._)]

SPORES.--Most bacteria die if conditions become unfavorable to their
growth, but some enter into a resting stage. This stage is characterized
by the development of round or oval glistening bodies called spores,
which are of dense structure and possess an extraordinary power to
withstand heat, chemicals, and unfavorable surroundings. Except in rare
instances a single cell produces but one spore. As soon as favorable
conditions of temperature, moisture, and food supply are restored, the
spore develops into the active form of the germ; it may, however, remain
dormant for months or years. Spore formation, however, occurs in only a
very few varieties of pathogenic bacteria.

DISTRIBUTION.--Bacteria are very widely distributed in nature; they are
in fact found practically everywhere on the surface of the earth. They
are present in plants and water and food; on fabrics and furniture,
walls and floors; and they are found in great numbers on the skin, hair,
many mucous surfaces, and other tissues of the body.


The protozoa are the lowest group of the animal kingdom. Like bacteria
they are composed of single cells so small as to be visible only under
the microscope. They play an important part in causing certain diseases
of man, especially in the tropics. Among the well-known human diseases
of protozoan origin are malaria, amoebic dysentery, and
sleeping-sickness. Protozoa also cause several wide-spread and serious
plagues of domestic animals.


A few diseases are caused by parasites large enough to be seen with the
naked eye. One of the most important is hookworm disease. This disease
is caused by a tiny worm which penetrates the victim's skin and
ultimately finds its way into the intestine. Other diseases also are
caused by parasitic worms, such as tapeworms, pinworms, and trichinæ.
The latter are acquired as a result of eating infected meat,
particularly infected pork that has not been thoroughly cooked.


Pathogenic or disease producing organisms need for their development
food, moisture, darkness, and warmth, conditions that exist within the
human body. When one or more of these factors is unfavorable,
development of germs is checked; if unfavorable conditions are extreme
or long continued, the organisms begin to die. It is difficult to say at
exactly what moment they will die if deprived of moisture or exposed to
extremes of temperature or other unfavorable conditions, just as it
would be impossible to state at exactly what moment a collection of
house plants would all be dead if water were withheld, or if the room
temperature were greatly reduced.

Most pathogenic organisms, however, do not flourish long outside the
body, and owe their continued existence to a fairly direct transfer
from person to person. They gain access to the body through mucous
surfaces such as the respiratory and digestive tracts, and through
breaks in the skin, such as cuts, abrasions, and the bites of certain
insects. They leave the body chiefly in the nasal and mouth discharges,
as in coughing, sneezing, and spitting, in the urine and bowel
discharges, and in pus or "matter."

[Illustration: FIG. 6. (_L. H. Wilder._)]

The problem of controlling communicable diseases, consequently, lies in
preventing the bodily discharges of one person from travelling directly
into the body of another. If a person is not expelling pathogenic germs,
it is clear that he cannot pass diseases on to others. But both
pathogenic and harmless germs follow the same routes from person to
person, so that safety as well as decency lies in preventing so far as
possible all exchanges of bodily discharges.

There are five routes by which the bodily discharges most frequently
travel from one person to another. Four of these routes of infection are
called public, because in most cases efforts of individuals alone are
not sufficient to control them. The public routes are water, milk, food,
and insects. The fifth, or private route, includes all means by which
fresh discharges of one person are passed to another, as when nose and
mouth discharges are carried in coughing, sneezing, and kissing, or when
bowel and bladder discharges are carried by the hands. These five routes
in a given case differ greatly in relative importance, but the fifth, or
direct route plays an immense part, although its importance in causing
sickness has only lately been recognized. It cannot be too strongly
emphasized that the chief agent in the spread of human diseases is man
himself, and the human hand is the great carrier of disease germs both
to and from the body. If unclean hands could be kept away from the
orifices of the body, particularly the mouth, many diseases would soon
cease to exist.

Defenses of the Body

In view of all the dangers from disease-producing germs it may seem
surprising that the human race has not long ago succumbed to its
invisible enemies. But the body has various defenses by means of which
it may prevent invasion, or successfully combat its enemies in case they
do gain access.

The unbroken skin is usually impassable to bacteria. Virulent organisms
are often found upon the skin of perfectly healthy persons, where they
appear to be harmless unless an abrasion occurs which affords entrance
into the deeper tissues. Most bacteria breathed in with the air cling to
the moist surfaces of the air-passages and never reach the lungs.

Mucous membranes lining the mouth and other cavities of the body would
prove favorable sites for the growth of bacteria if the mucus secreted
by them were not frequently removed. The mouth of a healthy person may
contain bacteria of many kinds, but the saliva has a slight disinfectant
power and serves as a constant wash to the membranes. The normal gastric
(stomach) juice is decidedly unfavorable to the growth of bacteria,
although it does not always kill them; they often pass through the
stomach and are found in large numbers in the intestines. Other bodily
secretions, such as the tears and perspiration, tend to discourage
bacterial growth.

Tissues of the body vary greatly in their power to resist invading
germs, so that the route by which germs enter influences the severity of
their effects. Typhoid bacilli and the spirilla of Asiatic cholera when
taken with food or water produce far more serious disturbances than when
injected under the skin; infections from pus germs through an abrasion
of the skin may result in a slight local disturbance, while the same
amount introduced into a deeper wound might cause a fatal infection.
Certain germs nourish in certain tissues only; even tuberculosis, which
attacks practically all tissues, has its favorite locations.

IMMUNITY.--In addition to its mechanical defenses against disease, the
body shows a varying degree of _immunity_, or the power possessed by
living organisms to resist infections. Immunity or resistance is the
opposite of susceptibility. It is exceedingly variable, being greater or
less in different people and under different conditions, but the exact
ways in which it is brought about are still in many cases far from

Immunity may be _natural_ or _acquired_. By natural immunity is meant
an inherited characteristic by which all individuals of a species are
immune to a certain disease. The natural immunity of certain species of
animals to the diseases of other animals is well known. Man is immune to
many diseases of lower animals, and they in turn are immune to many
diseases of man. Cattle, for instance, are immune to typhoid and yellow
fever, while man shows high resistance to rinderpest and Texas fever;
both, however, are susceptible to tuberculosis, to which goats are
immune. There are all gradations of immunity within the same species.
Moreover, certain individuals have a personal immunity against diseases
to which others of the same race or species are susceptible.

Immunity may be _acquired_ in several ways. It is commonly known that
one attack of certain communicable diseases renders the individual
immune for a varying length of time, and sometimes for life. Among these
diseases are smallpox, measles, whooping-cough, scarlet fever, infantile
paralysis, typhoid fever, chicken-pox, and mumps; erysipelas and
pneumonia on the other hand appear to diminish resistance and to leave a
person more susceptible to later attacks.

Again, in some cases immunity may be artificially acquired by
introducing certain substances into the body to increase its
resistance. Examples of this method include the use of antitoxin as a
protection against diphtheria, of sera in pneumonia and other
infections, and vaccination against smallpox and typhoid fever whereby a
slight form of the disease is artificially induced. Laboratory research
goes on constantly, and doubtless many more substances will eventually
be discovered that will reduce human misery as vaccines and antitoxin
have already reduced it.

Vaccination and inoculation have saved thousands of lives. Smallpox,
once more prevalent than measles, was the scourge of Europe until
vaccination was introduced. During the 18th century it was estimated
that 60,000,000 people died of it, and at the beginning of the 19th
century one-fifth of all children born died of smallpox before they were
10 years old. In countries where vaccination is not practised the
disease is as serious as ever; in Russia during the five years from
1893-97, 275,502 persons died of smallpox, while in Germany where
vaccination is compulsory, only 8 people died of it during the year
1897. Death rates from diphtheria and typhoid fever have been greatly
reduced by the use of antitoxin and antityphoid vaccine. Thus in New
York State in 1894, before antitoxin was generally used, 99 out of every
100,000 of the population died of diphtheria, while only 20 out of
100,000 died of it in 1914. In 1911 a United States Army Division of
more than 12,000 men camped at San Antonio, Texas, for four months. All
of these men were vaccinated against typhoid fever and only a single
case occurred during the summer, although conditions of camp life always
tend to spread the disease.

While many and various factors tend to lower resistance rather than to
increase it, the idea that these factors act equally in all kinds of
infection is erroneous.

      "The principal causes which diminish resistance to
      infection are: wet and cold, fatigue, insufficient or
      unsuitable food, vitiated atmosphere, insufficient sleep
      and rest, worry, and excesses of all kinds. The mechanism
      by which these varying conditions lower our immunity must
      receive our attention, for they are of the greatest
      importance in preventive medicine. It is a matter of common
      observation that exposure to wet and cold or sudden changes
      of temperature, overwork, worry, stale air, poor food,
      etc., make us more liable to contract certain diseases. The
      tuberculosis propaganda that has been spread broadcast with
      such energy and good effect has taught the value of fresh
      air and sunshine, good food, and rest in increasing our
      resistance to this infection.

      "There is, however, a wrong impression abroad that because
      a lowering of the general vitality favors certain diseases,
      such as tuberculosis, common colds, pneumonia, septic and
      other infections, it plays a similar rôle in all
      communicable diseases. Many infections, such as smallpox,
      measles, yellow fever, tetanus, whooping-cough, typhoid
      fever, cholera, plague, scarlet fever, and other diseases,
      have no particular relation whatever to bodily vigor. These
      diseases often strike down the young and vigorous in the
      prime of life. The most robust will succumb quickly to
      tuberculosis if he receives a sufficient dose of the
      virulent micro-organisms. A good physical condition does
      not always temper the virulence of the disease; on the
      contrary, many infections run a particularly severe course
      in strong and healthy subjects, and, contrariwise, may be
      mild and benign in the feeble. Physical weakness,
      therefore, is not necessarily synonymous with increased
      susceptibility to all infections, although true for some of
      them. In other words, 'general debility' lowers resistance
      in a specific, rather than in a general, sense."--(Rosenau:
      Preventive Medicine and Hygiene, pp. 403 and 404.)


Well persons who carry in their bodies pathogenic germs but who
themselves have no symptoms of disease are called carriers. Thus typhoid
carriers have typhoid bacilli in the intestinal tract, while they
themselves show no symptoms of typhoid fever; diphtheria carriers have
bacilli of diphtheria in the throat or nose, but have themselves no
symptoms of diphtheria, and so on. It has now been proved that many
patients harbor bacteria for weeks, months, or even years following an
infection, and are dangerous distributors of disease; also, some
healthy individuals without a history of illness harbor living bacteria
which may infect susceptible persons in the usual ways. Transmission by
healthy carriers goes far to explain the occurrence of diseases among
persons who have apparently not been exposed. This explanation has
greatly clarified the whole problem of the spread of communicable
diseases. Carriers, unfortunately, exist in large numbers, and render
the ultimate control of disease exceedingly difficult. They can usually
be identified by bacteriological tests. To some extent they can be
supervised; food handlers at least should be legally obliged to submit
to physical examinations, and should be licensed only when proved free
from communicable disease.

Diseases are also spread by persons suffering from them in a form so
mild or so unusual that they pass unrecognized. These persons are known
as "missed" cases. Carriers of disease and "missed" cases go freely
about the community, handling food, using common drinking cups,
travelling in crowded street cars, standing in crowded shops; in various
ways coming into close contact with other people, coughing and sneezing
and kissing their friends no less often than normal individuals. It is
consequently clear that the bodily discharges of supposedly normal
persons may be hardly less a menace than those of persons known to be

Diseases that depend for transmission upon milk, water, food, and
insects may be controlled by public action, that is, by specific
measures taken by a large group of people in order to protect the
individual. Such action constitutes _public sanitation_. There is,
however, a large group of diseases, chiefly sputum-borne, that cannot be
controlled except by individual action. Such individual action
constitutes a large part of _personal hygiene_.

The whole problem of controlling infections sounds simple, depending as
it does for the most part upon unpolluted water, milk, and food,
extermination of certain insects, and cleanliness in personal behaviour.
In practice the problem is not so easy. Public sanitation has performed
miracles in the past, and will do much in the future; behaviour,
however, will continue to be influenced by many factors, social and
economic as well as personal. Ignorance of the laws of health is an
obstacle to progress, but in modern conditions even the instructed may
be unable to control their ways of living and working. Indeed, such
control is at present limited to the privileged few. On the ignorant and
the poor, those least able to bear it, society loads the heaviest burden
of sickness. Only when ignorance and poverty are abolished, as one day
they will be, can the final stage be reached in the fight for public


In this group is included a great variety of maladies. Of some the
causes are known, while in the case of others, origin, prevention, and
remedy are still obscure. Here belong defects in structure of the body,
both hereditary and acquired; insanity and other nervous diseases; new
growths, like tumors and cancer; disturbances of bodily processes, as
malnutrition and gout; and the important class of degenerative diseases,
like arteriosclerosis, in which tissues become hardened and fibrous and
hence less able to perform their normal functions.

The degenerative diseases are playing a menacing part in national
health. The average length of life in the United States has shown a
marked increase it is true, during the last 40 years. But this gain
represents chiefly the saving of life through prevention of communicable
diseases, especially among babies and children; among people who have
passed the 30th year on the other hand, death rates are actually
increasing. This increase is most marked after the age of 45, and is
caused chiefly by the increase of cancer, and of degenerative diseases
of the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys. Degeneration of tissues is
normally a condition typical of old age, and in aged persons it may
occur in any tissue. There is no elixir of youth, and for old age there
is no cure. But the important facts in this connection are that
degenerative changes now occur prematurely, and that among a vast number
of people, in various classes of society and various occupations, the
vital organs show a marked tendency to break down after the age of 45.

This condition is not inevitable. Before the beginning of the present
war, death rates at all ages were decreasing in England, Sweden, and
other European countries. In America also degenerative diseases can be
checked or prevented to a large extent, and it is highly important that
their causes should be generally understood.

The two groups following include some of the probable causes:

1. Conditions of life which result in continued overwork, and mental
overwork in particular; worry, excitement, insufficient recreation and
exercise, and other kinds of nervous strain typical of modern life,
especially in cities.

2. Irritating substances in the body, including poisonous substances
resulting from infectious diseases, and from syphilis in particular;
poisons from chronic infections, alcohol, and industrial poisons such
as lead and other metals; overeating and improper eating, especially of
meat and other proteins, and rich or highly seasoned food; faulty
digestion, constipation, and imperfect elimination through the
kidneys.--(See Dr. A. E. Shipley, in bulletin of the N. Y. City Dept. of
Health, Feb., 1915.)

The importance of early recognition cannot be overemphasized. In many of
these troubles the symptoms are not pronounced, and the victims have no
knowledge of their condition until they happen to be examined for life
insurance, or until the disease is far advanced. And even when they
realize that trouble exists, as for example constipation or overwork,
most people absolutely fail to realize how serious the consequences may
be. The first step toward remedy is periodic complete physical
examination by a competent physician, in order to learn in time how to
prevent these degenerative diseases, if present, from growing worse. The
custom of undergoing an annual physical examination is becoming more
common, and "such a course, conservatively estimated, would add 5 years
to the average life of persons between 45 and 50."--(Winslow.)

      "Recently, we have been making examinations of the
      employees of whole institutions, large banks and other
      industrial concerns in New York City, and we find almost
      the same conditions there. Out of 2000 such examinations
      among young men and women of an average age of 33, just in
      the early prime of life, men and women supposedly picked
      because of their especial fitness for work, only 3.14% were
      found free of impairment or of habits of living which are
      obviously leading to impairment. Of the remaining persons,
      96.69% were unaware of impairment; 5.38% of the total
      number examined were affected with chronic heart trouble;
      13.10% with arteriosclerosis; 25.81% with high or low blood
      pressure; 35.65% with sugar, casts or albumen in the urine;
      12.77% with combination of both heart and kidney disease;
      22.22% with decayed teeth or infected gums; 16.03% with
      faulty vision uncorrected.... The fact of greatest import,
      however, was that impairment, sufficiently serious to
      justify the examiner in referring the examinee to his
      family physician for medical treatment, was found in 59% of
      the total number of cases, while 37.86% were on the road to
      impairment because of the use of "too much alcohol," or
      "too much tobacco," constipation, eye-strain, overweight,
      diseased mouths, errors of diet, and so forth....

      "And what is the cause of this appalling increase, in the
      United States, of these and other degenerative diseases? I
      believe it can be shown to the satisfaction of any
      reasonable person that the increase is largely due to the
      neglect of individual hygiene in United States....

      "If a man were suddenly afflicted with smallpox or typhoid
      fever or any other acute malady, he would lose no time in
      getting expert advice and applying every known means to
      save his life. But his life may be threatened just as
      seriously, though possibly not so imminently, by
      arteriosclerosis, heart disease, or Bright's disease, and
      he will do nothing to prevent the encroachment of these
      diseases until it is too late, but will continue to eat as
      he pleases, drink as he pleases, smoke as he pleases, or
      overwork, and worry himself into a premature
      grave."--("Conservation of Life at Middle Age," Prof.
      Irving Fisher, Am. Journal of Public Health, July, 1915.)

Periodic physical examinations are as necessary for children as for
adults, in order to detect physical defects. These defects are known to
have such an immense bearing upon health that routine examinations of
all children have become an integral part of the work of enlightened
public schools.

Prevention of degenerative disease, then, as well as of the enormous
numbers of preventable accidents and injuries, depends in large measure
upon proper living conditions and proper personal habits. The infectious
diseases, according to Dr. Hill, cost us annually at least 10 billion
dollars in addition to the loss of life, and he adds: "The infectious
diseases in general radiate from and are kept going by women."--(Hill--
New Public Health, p. 30.) Women, it is true, can prevent many of the
infections, but they can do still more, for hygienic habits to be
effective must be acquired early, and mothers and teachers, because they
have practically the entire control of children, have the power to
prevent many cases of degenerative as well as of communicable disease.


1. Distinguish between communicable and non-communicable disease.

2. Describe the part played by micro-organisms in causing disease.

3. Describe the structure of bacteria and their method of

4. In what ways are pathogenic germs transmitted from person to person?

5. Upon what preventive measures does the control of communicable
diseases depend?

6. What is meant by immunity?

7. Against what diseases may immunity be acquired artificially? How has
the practice of immunizing affected death rates from communicable

8. What factors tend to lower resistance? Do they act equally in the
case of all diseases?

9. Define a carrier, and explain the importance of carriers in the
spread of disease.

10. Name some of the characteristics and causes of degenerative

11. Whom do the degenerative diseases most commonly affect?

12. Describe methods that should be employed to prevent degenerative


The New Public Health--Hill, Chapters I-IX.

Health and Disease--Roger I. Lee, Chapters XV-XXIV.

Principles of Sanitary Science and the Public Health--Sedgwick, Chapters

Scientific Features of Modern Medicine--Frederic S. Lee, Chapters II,

Disease and Its Causes--Councilman, Chapter I.

Preventive Medicine and Hygiene--Rosenau.

Publications of the Life Extension Institute--25 West 45th Street, New
York City.



Of all the considerations that determine health, heredity is the one
unalterable factor. Although certain characteristics are obviously
hereditary,--complexion, height, and mental and physical traits in great
variety,--yet in the past heredity has been little understood. In
consequence it has served too often as a scape goat for faults and
failings not beyond an individual's control. Our first clear
understanding of the principles underlying heredity resulted from
experiments made by Mendel, an Austrian monk, during the last century,
and it is now possible to predict with a high degree of accuracy the
inheritance of certain characteristics.

Many diseases, formerly considered hereditary because their actual
causes were unknown, are now known to be communicable. Thus, it is now
understood that tuberculosis is not hereditary, although little children
may be infected by tuberculous parents. No germ diseases are inherited
in the strict sense of the word; but a baby may be infected with
syphilis before birth if his father or his mother has the disease.

It is true, however, that certain tissue weaknesses of the body seem to
be hereditary, and in consequence one family is more susceptible to
digestive disorders, another to diseases of the lungs, a third to
deafness, and so on. Moreover, general low vitality may be inherited. It
should be emphasized, however, that hereditary weakness does not
inevitably lead to disease. Many persons have succeeded in preventing
the development of active disease by guarding against strain in
directions where they are weak by inheritance.

Of all tissue weaknesses that may be inherited, defects of the nervous
system are the most serious. Nervous disorders of every degree of
severity, from slight nervous instability even to insanity, may result
when these tissues are defective; but it is now a recognized fact that
nervous disorders in many cases can be prevented from developing.
Feeblemindedness, another condition due to defective tissue, is known to
be inherited in the majority of cases, and in all cases it is incurable.


By environment is meant everything outside the body that affects it;
taken in its complete meaning the word might include everything that is
or ever was in the whole universe. It is possible to consider here a few
only of the many environmental and personal factors affecting the health
of individuals.

The home constitutes the important part of environment for most persons,
and for children in particular, since they spend the greater part of
their time in or about it, and get there the foundation on which their
health in later years depends. For persons employed away from home,
industrial and occupational hygiene is hardly less important; but those
subjects are too extensive to be considered here.

Most people live where they must, and few have any part in planning the
construction of their own houses. In choosing a house, however, one
should remember that rooms where sunshine never enters are unfit for
continued occupation. For children in particular fresh air and sunshine
are essential, and it may be economy in the end to pay a comparatively
high rent for an apartment having sunshine during at least a part of the
day. Ignorance and carelessness, unfortunately, can spoil the best
living conditions, and sometimes even in the country fresh air and
sunshine are excluded from sleeping and living rooms.

VENTILATION.--Ventilation has a direct bearing on health, although,
contrary to former belief, the actual amount of oxygen in the air is not
ordinarily the most important factor; even badly ventilated rooms
contain more than enough oxygen to support life. The factors of prime
importance in ventilation are temperature, humidity, air movement, and
the number of persons in a given space since the greater the distance
from one another the less is the probability that diseases will be

Room temperature should not be above 70° F. and, except for the aged or
sick, it is better to be between 60° and 65°. Some moisture in the air
is desirable; the amount needed is from 50% to 55% of the total moisture
that the air can hold at a given temperature. We have no apparatus to
decrease humidity in the air of houses, and in summer we are obliged to
endure humidity, if excessive, no matter how uncomfortable we may be.
But in winter the air in most houses is too dry, so that the mucous
membranes of the nose and throat often become irritated and susceptible
to infection. Most heating systems, particularly in small buildings,
make no provision for supplying moisture. Keeping water in open dishes
on or near radiators is often recommended, and would greatly improve the
condition of the air, if people remembered to keep the dishes filled.

The following is a simple but effective device to increase humidity:
Roll an ordinary desk blotter into a cone about 8 inches in diameter at
the base, and keep it constantly submerged for about one inch in a dish
of water. The water rises to the top of the blotter and a large surface
for evaporation is thus afforded.

[Illustration: FIG. 7.]

Stagnant air is harmful. Air should be in constant though not
necessarily perceptible motion. Air about the body, if motionless, acts
like a warm moist blanket, preventing the passage of heat from the body.

The three factors, heating, humidity, and air motion, must be considered
together. Every person requires each hour about 3000 cubic feet of air,
and the problem of heating and ventilating is that of providing this
amount in gentle motion, at a temperature of about 65° F., and of
humidity from 50-55%. Higher temperatures and stagnant air cause
disinclination to work, headache, nausea, restlessness, or sleepiness,
and if continued are likely to result in loss of appetite, and anemia.
The tuberculosis movement has clearly shown the benefits both for the
sick and the well of living in the open air, and has caused great and
beneficial changes within a generation. The more time spent in the open
air the better; since however most persons who work must spend the
greater part of the day indoors, ventilation is a matter of great

Although fresh air enthusiasts are still too few, yet some go to the
extreme and think that because cool air in motion is good, the colder
the air and more violent the motion the better. On the contrary,
chilling the whole body or a part of the body lowers resistance.
Draughts of air have no bad effects upon persons in good health,
particularly those accustomed to changes in temperature. But draughts
are likely to be injurious to aged or sick persons and babies, by
diminishing their resistance to such infections as common colds and
pneumonia. It should be remembered that draughts or cold alone cannot
cause colds; the specific germs must be present.

LIGHTING.--Amount and direction of light are physiologically important.
Defects of the eyes, too prolonged use, and insufficient light are the
commonest causes of eye strain. Most eye defects can be relieved by
glasses. Children's eyes should be examined upon entering school, and as
often afterward as the oculist advises. Prolonged use causes fatigue of
the eyes, especially when the illumination is poor; within limits, the
amount of light needed depends on the nature of the work. Light should
come from the left side of right handed people; never from the front.
Light reflected from snow, sand, glazed white paper of books, or other
bright surfaces is fatiguing from its intensity, and from the unusual
angle at which it enters the eyes. Too much light is harmful, and
probably causes some of the effects, such as nausea and headache,
commonly attributed to poor ventilation.

Almost all blindness is preventable, and blindness due to industrial
accidents and processes is no exception to this rule. Surely no
individual precautions or legal measures are too great in order to guard
against this saddest of all physical defects.

CLEANLINESS OF HOUSES.--A clean, well-cared for house is desirable from
every point of view, but certain kinds of cleanliness affect health more
than others.

The most scrupulous care should be exercised wherever food is stored or
prepared. The kitchen is in reality a laboratory; in it either
intelligently or ignorantly are formed chemical compounds which have a
far-reaching effect upon family health. From the standpoint of health no
other room in the house is so important. It should be bright, airy, and
easy to clean. In cleaning kitchen tables and woodwork water should not
be allowed to soak into cracks and dark corners, carrying with it
particles of food for the nourishment of bacteria and insects. Linoleum,
if used to cover the floor, should be well fitted at the edges to
prevent water from running underneath. There should be neither cracks
nor crevices in wall or floor, and no dark corners or out-of-the-way
cupboards in which dust, food particles, and moisture can accumulate.
Such conditions not only attract mice and roaches, but furnish favorable
soil for the development of moulds and fungi which by their growth
affect food deleteriously. Waging a constant warfare against the
development of bacteria constitutes a large part of good housekeeping.

All cooking utensils should be thoroughly washed, scalded, and dried
before they are put away; the use of carelessly washed dishes is bad.
Enameled or agate ware which has begun to chip should be discarded.
Dish-cloths and towels should be washed and boiled after using, and if
possible dried in the sun.

Every place in which food is kept should have constant care. The
refrigerator is particularly important. Its linings should be
water-tight, and the drain freely open at all times; otherwise the
surrounding wood will become foul and saturated with drainings. At least
once a week it should be entirely emptied and cleaned in the following
way: The racks should be thoroughly washed in hot soapsuds to which a
small amount of washing soda has been added, rinsed in boiling water,
dried and placed in the sun and air. All parts of the refrigerator
should be washed in the same manner, especially grooves and projections
where food or dirt may lodge. The drainpipe should be flushed, the whole
interior rinsed again with plain hot water, thoroughly dried with a
clean cloth, and left to air for at least an hour. The drainage pan
should be washed and scalded frequently. Food showing the slightest
evidence of spoiling should be removed from the refrigerator at once.

Even more attention should be paid to the hands of the cook. They should
be washed always before handling food, and always after visiting the
toilet, using the handkerchief, or otherwise coming in contact with
nose, mouth, or other bodily secretions. Theoretically coughing and
sneezing ought not to occur in the neighborhood of food, especially of
food to be eaten raw; and persons with coughs, colds, or other
communicable disease, however slight, ought not to handle food. If this
rule were observed in practice, more persons would go hungry, but fewer
would be sick.

Thorough cleaning of rooms involves soap, water, sunshine, air, and
elbow grease, just as it did before germs were discovered. Cleaning
means actually removing dirt and dust, not merely stirring it up to
settle again; consequently dry sweeping and dusting are ineffectual.
Vacuum cleaning, and sweeping and dusting with damp or "dustless" mops
and dusters are good. Deodorants and disinfectants do not take the place
of ordinary cleanliness.

Dust does not carry living disease germs to an appreciable extent; the
fact is now well established that diseases formerly thought to be
transmitted by dust or even supposed to travel directly through the air,
are carried on tiny particles of moisture and mucus expelled in coughing
and sneezing. This mode of transmission is called droplet or spray
infection; it is one of the most active agents in spreading certain
kinds of communicable diseases.

Nevertheless dust in motion is harmful; it irritates the lining
membranes of the nose, throat, bronchial tubes, and lungs, even causing
tiny wounds through which disease germs enter. Thus tuberculosis is
especially prevalent among stone cutters, felt workers, and others
engaged in dusty trades. Metallic dust is especially harmful, because it
is harder and sharper than dust from organic substances like wool and
cotton. Furthermore, presence of dust indicates a low standard of
cleanliness. People who tolerate it generally tolerate uncleanliness in
other forms, more serious though less apparent.

Cleaning would not be so great a problem if most houses were not
littered with such dust catchers as carpets, so-called ornaments, carved
and upholstered furniture, banners, draperies, and a vast collection of
articles that can only be classified as Christmas presents. In actual
practice things that are difficult or expensive to clean seldom are
cleaned; carpets for example are considered unhygienic, not because they
cannot be cleaned, but because they are not. William Morris' advice to
exclude from houses all articles not known to be useful or believed to
be beautiful would, if followed, add years to the lives of housekeepers.

GARBAGE, has little bearing on health, except in so far as it affords a
breeding place for flies. If it contains disease germs it may be
dangerous, but statistics show that garbage handlers, although they can
hardly be called especially careful, are not more subject to sickness
than other men of their class. Garbage disposal is chiefly a question of
preventing a public nuisance; it is a matter of cleanliness and public

INSECTS.--Flies, cockroaches, and other scavenging insects may carry
disease germs on their feet and thus infect food on which they walk.
Typhoid, cholera, dysentery, and other diseases have been carried by
flies. Flies are always a menace, and should not be tolerated; moreover,
the thought of their coming to food directly from manure piles and privy
vaults is disgusting. Houses should be thoroughly screened in the fly
season, but it is better to destroy the nuisance at its source. The
chief breeding places of flies are garbage cans and manure piles. If
the garbage can is water tight, closely covered, frequently emptied, and
thoroughly cleaned, flies will not develop in it; about ten days must
elapse from the time when the egg is laid until the insect is ready to
fly. Fly traps to fit on the garbage can are useful. Manure should be
screened and removed frequently, or it can be treated chemically.
Methods for treating it are given in "Preventive Medicine and
Hygiene."--Rosenau, p. 255, and in Bulletin No. 118, of the U. S. Dept.
of Agriculture, July 14, 1914.

LEGS. (_U. S. Dept. Agri._)]

Other diseases carried by insects are malaria and yellow fever, each by
a special species of mosquito; typhus fever, by lice; and bubonic
plague, by rat fleas. Various diseases less common in this country are
carried by other insects. Even when mosquitoes are not carrying disease
germs their bites may be harmful since they are often rubbed, especially
by children, until the skin is broken, and various infections may enter
through the wounds. Insects of every kind, rats, mice, and vermin should
be excluded from houses.

SEWAGE.--Discharges from the bowels and bladder contain various germs,
and constitute one of the most important routes by which germs of
typhoid fever, cholera and certain other diseases travel from person to
person. Keeping sewage out of the water supply is consequently of great
importance. Where a system of sewage disposal exists, the responsibility
of making the system adequate and thus safeguarding public health rests
upon the community as a whole. Communities ordinarily get just as much,
or just as little typhoid fever as they are willing to endure.

[Illustration: FIG. 9.--HOW A WELL MAY BE POLLUTED. (_From "The Human
Mechanism."_ Copyright by Theodore Hough and William T. Sedgwick. Ginn
and Company, publishers. Used by permission.)]

In places having no system of drainage privies must be used. They can be
made harmless, as army camps prove, but they require scrupulous care.
Fecal matter must be prevented from draining into wells and other water
supplies, and must be screened from flies. The privy should be located
at a distance from the well. The minimum distance that is safe depends
in each case upon the nature of the soil and the direction of the
natural drainage. Even when the privy is situated below the well on
sloping ground, drainage may still occur from the privy to the well;
however, a well-made, properly located pit privy is safe unless it is
near a limestone formation. The dry earth system is satisfactory in
places having an efficient public scavenger system; in this system pails
or cans are used to receive the discharges, which are then covered with
sand, ashes, earth or, preferably, chloride of lime. The buckets are
frequently emptied and the contents buried at least one foot below the
surface of the ground. The objection to this method for more extended
use is that proper care of the cans is a disagreeable duty of which most
households soon tire.

PERSONAL CLEANLINESS.--The main functions of the skin are three: to
protect underlying tissues, to excrete waste matter, and to regulate
bodily heat by checking or allowing the evaporation of perspiration.
After perspiration has evaporated solid matter is left upon the skin,
and oily matter also is deposited on it by the glands that keep the
skin lubricated. Removing these and other materials at least once a day
is desirable to improve the bodily tone and sense of well-being. Real
cleanliness is impossible without frequent use of warm water and soap.

Cold baths are stimulating, though not very efficacious for cleansing
purposes. They are valuable tonics if properly used, but delicate or
elderly persons should use them only by a physician's advice. Chilly
feelings or depression following should be the signal for any person to
discontinue cold bathing or swimming in cold water.

Warm baths are soothing in their effects, and are appropriate at bed
time, particularly for persons inclined to sleeplessness. Very hot
baths, especially if prolonged, may be harmful, and should not be taken

There is no clear connection between general cleanliness and disease.
Frequent bathing does not protect a person from any particular disease,
except in so far as bathing necessarily includes washing the hands. If
typhoid germs for example have actually been swallowed, a clean bodily
exterior is of no avail in preventing typhoid fever or in diminishing
its severity. The same is true of other diseases.

But it is impossible to emphasize unduly the importance of clean hands.
Hands are prime offenders in distributing fresh bodily secretions, and
germs both innocent and harmful. All health authorities agree on this

      "Perhaps 90% of all infections are taken into the body
      through the mouth. They reach the mouth in water, food,
      fingers, dust, and upon the innumerable objects that are
      sometimes placed in the mouth. The fact that the great
      majority of infections are taken by way of the mouth gives
      scientific direction to personal hygiene. Sanitary habits
      demand that the hands should be washed after defecation and
      again before eating, and fingers should be kept away from
      the mouth and nose, and that no unnecessary objects should
      be mouthed. All food and drink should be clean or
      thoroughly cooked. These simple precautions alone would
      prevent many a case of infection."--(Rosenau: Preventive
      Medicine and Hygiene, p. 366.)

As Dr. Chapin says:

      "Probably the chief vehicle for the conveyance of nasal and
      oral secretion from one to another is the fingers. If one
      takes the trouble to watch for a short time his neighbors,
      or even himself, unless he has been particularly trained in
      such matters, he will be surprised to note the number of
      times that the fingers go to the mouth and the nose. Not
      only is the saliva made use of for a great variety of
      purposes, and numberless articles are for one reason or
      another placed in the mouth, but for no reason whatever,
      and all unconsciously, the fingers are with great frequency
      raised to the lips or the nose. Who can doubt that if the
      salivary glands secreted indigo the fingers would
      continually be stained a deep blue, and who can doubt that
      if the nasal and oral secretions contain the germs of
      disease these germs will be almost as constantly found upon
      the fingers? All successful commerce is reciprocal, and in
      this universal trade in human saliva the fingers not only
      bring foreign secretions to the mouth of their owner, but
      there exchanging them for his own, distribute the latter to
      everything that the hand touches. This happens not once,
      but scores and hundreds of times during the day's round of
      the individual. The cook spreads his saliva on the muffins
      and rolls, the waitress infects the glasses and spoons, the
      moistened fingers of the peddler arrange his fruit, the
      thumb of the milkman is in his measure, the reader moistens
      the pages of his book, the conductor his transfer tickets,
      the "lady" the fingers of her glove. Every one is busily
      engaged in this distribution of saliva, so that the end of
      each day finds this secretion freely distributed on the
      doors, window sills, furniture and playthings in the home,
      the straps of trolley cars, the rails and counter and desks
      of shops and public buildings, and indeed upon everything
      that the hands of man touch. What avails it if the
      pathogens do die quickly? A fresh supply is furnished each
      day."--(Chapin: The Sources and Modes of Infection, p.

ORAL HYGIENE.--Cleanliness and proper care of the mouth and teeth can
hardly be over emphasized. Their bearing upon health is direct. Long ago
it was recognized that persons with decayed or missing teeth frequently
suffered from dyspepsia, a natural result of inability to masticate
properly, but only within recent years has it been realized that decayed
teeth give rise to many other diseased conditions. Bacteria are
constantly present in the mouth. If the mucus of the mouth is not
removed, it forms a sticky coat upon the surfaces of the teeth and gums.
In this bacteria collect, and pus or matter may also be formed, which,
if carried by the blood to other parts of the body, may cause digestive
troubles, rheumatism, and diseases of heart and kidneys. (See Dr. T. B.
Hartzell, Health News, Oct., 1915, "The Importance of Mouth Hygiene and
How to Practise it.")

To keep the mouth and teeth healthy they must have:

1. Proper use.

2. Proper care.

3. Proper treatment.

1. Teeth, like other parts of the body, need exercise. Foods that
require a considerable amount of chewing should be included in the diet.
Such food is needed by children as soon as their first teeth have come,
but care must be exercised to see that the food is actually chewed
before it is swallowed.

2. A good brush should be provided. The stiffness of the bristles should
be regulated according to the individual. The brush should be
thoroughly rinsed after using, and discarded as soon as it is worn.
Dental floss is generally needed to remove particles that have lodged
between the teeth.

Brushing the teeth by passing the bristles across them is not
efficacious. They should be brushed not across but with the cracks, as a
good housewife sweeps a floor.

      "In the light of recent investigation conducted by some of
      the leading students of mouth hygiene, the most effective
      way to use the toothbrush is to place the bristles of the
      brush firmly against the teeth, applying firm pressure, as
      though trying to force the bristles between the teeth,
      using a slight rotary or scrubbing motion.... After a
      little practice the user of this method will be surprised
      at the results obtained. Care should be used to go over all
      the surfaces of the teeth in this manner."--(See Dr. W. G.
      Ebersole. "The Importance of Mouth Hygiene and How to
      Practice it," Health News, Oct., 1915.)

After brushing the teeth, the mouth should be rinsed by forcing lukewarm
water about the teeth, using all the force that can be brought to bear
by the cheeks, lips, and tongue.

3. TREATMENT.--The teeth, including the first teeth of children, should
be inspected by a competent dentist at least twice a year. Periodic
cleansing by a dentist, and early attention to small cavities, may
prevent serious ill health and impairment of the body, as well as the
acute suffering generally accompanying treatment of advanced dental

CLOTHING.--Clothing was originally used for purposes of ornament. Desire
for protection from cold and dampness came later. The amount of clothing
required varies greatly according to individual needs and habits, but it
is increasingly recognized that light clothing is best, provided that
the wearer is really protected from cold. Clothing should be porous in
order to allow ventilation of the body, supported so far as possible
from the shoulders, and clean and well aired. Dampness favors the growth
of germs which may cause irritation of the skin.

Clothing should not constrict the body or hamper its movements. Perhaps
the worst health menace for which clothing is to blame comes from the
high heeled shoes on which many women prefer to limp through life. From
the health standpoint shoes are of great importance. Bad shoes are
responsible for many cases of flat feet, whose muscles have degenerated
through non-use, and for much so-called "rheumatism," which is merely
the protest of abused muscles. Bad shoes also, by distorting the feet,
prevent comfortable walking, which is the only out-of-door exercise
readily available for the vast majority of people; and still worse, the
resulting unnatural position of the body sometimes has serious
consequences by bringing injurious strains on other muscles and organs.

FOOD.--Two distinct problems are encountered here: the problem of
nutrition, and the problem of preventing sickness. Nutrition, or proper
feeding, is a subject beyond the scope of this book; it is nevertheless
one of the most important, if not the most important, factor in
maintaining health. Food preparation and care of children, the two most
important functions of the home, are unfortunately relegated to the
least intelligent and least interested members of most households in
which servants are employed.

Most American families eat too much protein food, such as meat and eggs.
Excess of protein probably leads to degeneration of tissues, and plays a
part in causing the degenerative diseases already mentioned. Habit is
important here as in other ways of living, but cereals and vegetables
should in large measure make up the diet of sedentary persons and indeed
of everyone in warm weather.

The amount of food required in 24 hours depends on many factors: age,
height, weight, occupation, season, and habit. Underweight and
overweight are both abnormal conditions; probably the latter is the more
easily remedied. Both require the advice of a physician. Rapid reduction
of weight involves certain dangers, especially for persons with weak

Food may cause sickness either because it is in itself harmful, or
because it carries disease germs. Meat from diseased animals should be
destroyed before it reaches the market, but bacterial activities in food
originally wholesome may form in it poisonous substances.

The chief diseases known to be carried by food, water, or milk are
typhoid fever, paratyphoid, dysentery and other diarrhœal diseases,
scarlet fever, diphtheria, septic sore throat, and tuberculosis. The
sole problem here is to keep human and animal excretions out of food,
water, and milk. Since thorough cooking kills disease germs, danger
arises chiefly from raw foods. All fruits and vegetables eaten raw
should first be thoroughly washed.

Water is essential to health. At least three pints should be taken
daily, the amount varying somewhat according to diet, exercise,
temperature, and so forth. Most persons drink too little water.

Cities and towns should of course have public supplies of pure water.
Contamination of water, when it occurs, is caused chiefly by sewage
from cesspools, privies, and drains. All well or spring water must be
constantly watched and Boards of Health are always ready to examine
samples of water and to report whether it is safe to drink. At the
present time a porcelain filter is the only satisfactory kind for a
household, but many domestic filters are so badly cared for that in
actual practice they are worse than none. Danger from a filter
containing an accumulation of impurities is greater than the danger from
most ordinary water supplies. Boiling water for ten minutes kills all
pathogenic germs, but this method is inconvenient on a large scale and
is not practical for continued family use.

Every effort should be made to insure a regular supply of pure water in
every house. It is not satisfactory to have two kinds, one for drinking
and one for other purposes, since mistakes are sure to be made,
especially by children. Some families who use only bottled or filtered
water for drinking purposes habitually run the risk involved in using
impure water from the tap for cleaning the teeth.

Freezing destroys most germs, but ice is not necessarily free from
bacterial life, and should be used in drinking water only when known to
be free from impurities. Neither does freezing milk or cream
necessarily kill germs that may be contained in it.

Raw milk plays so important a part in the spread of disease that its
fitness for human consumption is open to serious question. Certified
milk, where obtainable, is safe but expensive. Boiled milk is safe, but
changed in taste and to some extent in quality. If milk is heated to
142°-145° F. and kept at that temperature for 30 minutes all disease
germs in it are killed. This process, called pasteurization, renders
milk safe. The objection is sometimes made that continued use of
pasteurized milk for infants causes scurvy, but in New York City where
over 90 per cent. of the milk is pasteurized no increase in scurvy has
been noticed, while a large diminution in deaths of infants from
diarrhœal diseases has resulted, as in all cities where pasteurization
is required.

The following is a simple method for pasteurizing a quart bottle of
milk. If the directions are exactly followed the milk will be
pasteurized at the end of the process; no thermometer need be used. To
prevent the bottle from breaking, it is first warmed by placing it for a
few minutes in a pail of warm water.

      "From the results of the experiments it was concluded that
      any housewife can pasteurize a one quart bottle of milk by:

      1. Boiling 2½ quarts of water in a large agate saucepan; or

      2. Boiling 2 quarts of water in a 10 pound tin lard pail,
      placing the slightly warmed bottle from the ice chest in
      it, covering with a cloth and setting in a warm place. At
      the end of one hour the bottle of milk should be removed
      and chilled promptly. The water must be boiled in the
      container in which the pasteurization is to be
      done."--(Ruth Vories, in "Health News," Sept., 1916.)

ELIMINATION.--Careful attention should be paid to elimination through
the bowels and kidneys. Constipation is responsible for many common
ailments; among them are headache, disinclination to work, irritable
temper, and lowered resistance. If long continued, constipation becomes
serious both from congestion and displacement of pelvic organs, and from
absorption over a considerable time of even small amounts of the
poisonous substances resulting from decomposition of food in the large
intestine. The bowels can best be regulated by diet, water, exercise,
and habit. The habitual use of cathartic and laxative drugs is most
unwise, because they tend to aggravate the trouble. Moreover the
habitual and continued use of injections and "internal baths" is
harmful, and would not be considered necessary if bran and coarse flour
and vegetables were substituted for concentrated foods. Greed, laziness,
and lack of intelligence lead most persons suffering with constipation
to prefer pills to the restraints demanded by hygienic living. The habit
of evacuating the bowels at a regular time, if established in early
childhood and rigidly adhered to, will prevent constipation among most
healthy people. Any person who thinks drugs necessary should consult a
physician, and be prepared to follow the régime he advises over a
considerable period of time and at the cost of some self-denial.

For healthy people, voiding urine presents no difficulty if a sufficient
amount of water is taken; but some persons reduce the amount of liquid
taken in order to escape the inconvenience of urination. This practice
is harmful, and may involve insufficient cleansing of the entire system.
If frequent urination disturbs sleep, liquids may be withheld during the
evening; but the total amount of water taken in 24 hours should not be

REST AND FATIGUE.--A fatigued person is a poisoned person. Muscular
exertion burns the fuel constituents of the body, as we recognize by the
greater heat generated within us during muscular exertion. Waste
products, resulting from this burning process, accumulate if not
removed, and clog the body in somewhat the same way that ashes and
cinders clog a furnace. The fatigued person remains fatigued,
consequently, until the accumulations of waste matter are removed by the
normal action of the lungs, skin, and kidneys.

Fatigue is caused by both mental and physical work, and when excessive,
affects the nervous system most disastrously. The body can and should
respond to occasional extra drafts on strength and endurance; its
flexibility and power of adjusting to varying conditions may even be
stimulated thereby. But even slight fatigue, if continued and especially
if associated with anxiety or worry, has caused many nervous and mental

Work carried beyond the point of normal fatigue requires a
proportionately longer time for recovery. For example, if the point of
fatigue has been reached by a certain finger muscle after 15
contractions, and if half an hour is required to rest it completely, one
might suppose that one hour would rest it after 30 contractions. This is
not so, however; after 30 contractions 2 hours are required, or 4 times
as much rest for twice the amount of work, if continued beyond the point
of fatigue. Laboratory experiments and experience alike show that this
principle holds true in other forms of fatigue. Thus the output of
factories has been shown in many instances to be greater, other things
being equal, when operatives work 8 hours a day than when they work
longer. Excessive hours in any kind of work are the poorest economy.

Fatigue is increased in direct proportion not only to muscular exertion
but also to the amount of speed, complexity, responsibility, monotony,
noise, and confusion involved in an occupation. Ability to bear fatigue
differs greatly with different people, as ability varies to bear other
kinds of strain. Rest at night and on Sunday, and the annual vacation
should be enough to keep a person in good condition. If not, there is
probably something wrong with the worker's health, the nature of his
work, or his adaptation to his particular kind of work. This statement
is not only true of persons regularly employed, but of those living at
home, including children in school, women in "society," and especially
mothers of families.

SLEEP.--A sufficient amount of sleep is essential to health, but
individual requirements vary widely. Each person should know and regard
his own need, and children and young people should be obliged to go to
bed early. Ability to sleep is largely habit; good habits should be
formed and continued. Sleep-producing drugs should never be taken,
except by a doctor's prescription.

RECREATION.--Owing to the speed, complexity, and worry of modern life
among all classes, and to the monotony of work in industry, recreation
has become a matter of vital importance for everyone. Some muscular
activity, preferably in the open air, is needed by every healthy person.
Recreation should be as unlike the regular occupation as possible: going
to the theatre, for example, is not the best exercise for sedentary
workers employed all day in artificially lighted offices. The element of
pleasure is essential. Hoisting dumb-bells purely from conscientious
motives is seldom beneficial, and is generally soon abandoned.

The part played by habit in matters of health is often overlooked.
Although the body adjusts itself to widely varying conditions and even
to unfavorable ones, the importance of forming desirable habits cannot
be overemphasized. Sudden or radical changes in living, however,
particularly among people no longer young, may play havoc. New and
violent systems of exercise, weight reduction, and food fads forced on
families by enthusiastic discoverers involve considerable risk.

Many elements enter into health; in no single one is found hygienic
salvation. Temptation always exists to emphasize one element at the
expense of others. For instance, people who insist upon overventilating
rooms regardless of others' comfort may themselves be utterly careless
in regard to necessary sleep, and more than one fastidiously clean
person has disregarded the highly unclean condition of constipation. To
maintain sound health only a rational program will suffice: properly
balanced work and play, sleep and food and all other elements must be
included in due proportion. And over-anxious health seekers might well
remember that health is not so much an end in itself, as a means to a
happy and productive life; even in concern over health, it is possible
for him that saveth his life to lose it.


1. Explain the difference between an hereditary disease and hereditary
susceptibility to a disease. How may hereditary susceptibility to a
disease be combatted?

2. What are the essentials of good ventilation?

3. What is the proper temperature for a living room? What are the
effects of higher temperatures? Of lower temperatures?

4. Describe methods for maintaining household cleanliness.

5. Discuss the importance from the point of view of health, of dust; of
insects; of garbage; of sewage.

6. What principles should guide one in deciding whether a certain water
supply is safe to use for drinking purposes? What are the dangers of
impure water? How can impure water be rendered safe?

7. What diseases may be carried by milk? How can milk be rendered safe?

8. Explain the health aspects of personal cleanliness.

9. What care should be given the teeth and mouth? Why?

10. What bad results frequently follow constipation? How should
constipation be remedied?

11. Name seven factors that are important in causing fatigue. Why is it
uneconomical to continue work, either physical or mental, beyond the
point of fatigue?

12. What facilities for recreation, especially in the open air, does
your community provide for little children? For school children? For
working boys and girls? For grown people?


Health and Disease--Roger I. Lee, Introduction and Chapters I, III-V,

How to Live--Fisher and Fisk, Chapters I, III-V.

The Human Mechanism--Hough and Sedgwick, Chapters V, XXII-XXIX.

Disease and Its Causes--Councilman, Chapters X, XII.

Fatigue and Efficiency--Goldmark, Chapters II, III.

Preventive Medicine and Hygiene--Rosenau.

A Manual of Personal Hygiene--6th Edition, Edited by Walter L. Pyle.

Four Epochs of a Woman's Life--Galbraith.

Hygiene and Physical Culture for Women--Galbraith.

The Home and Its Management--Kittredge.

Exercise and Health--F. C. Smith, Supplement 24 to the Public Health
Reports, Government Printing Office, Washington.

The Sanitary Privy--Farmers' Bulletin 463, United States Department of
Agriculture, Government Printing Office, Washington.

Safe Disposal of Human Excreta at Unsewered Homes--Lumsden, Stiles and
Freeman, Bulletin 68, Public Health Reports, Government Printing Office,

The Disposal of Human Excreta and Sewage of the Country Home--New York
State Department of Health, Albany.

Milk and Its Relation to Public Health--Bulletin 56, Hygienic
Laboratory, Government Printing Office, Washington.

Milk and Its Relation to Health--New York State Department of Health,

Other Publications of the United States Public Health Service and of the
Departments of Health of the different states and cities.



The principles of hygiene are fundamentally the same for young and old.
The applications, however, differ at different ages. From the time when
physical growth and development are complete until changes due to old
age appear, an individual commonly has greater resistance than at other
ages, and is able in consequence to endure unfavorable conditions of
life with more success.

Babies, on the other hand, are exceedingly sensitive to their
environment. Surroundings that are even slightly unfavorable are likely
to make babies sick. In order to remain healthy, they must have exactly
the right kind of food, in the right quantities and at the right times;
their sleep, exercise, and clothing must be carefully regulated; they
must be protected from careless handling, from nervous strain, and above
all, from the many kinds of infection to which they are peculiarly
susceptible. The life of a baby fortunately can be controlled almost
completely; when properly regulated it offers, therefore, an unequalled
opportunity to see how hygienic principles work out in actual practice.

The primitive mother's instinct to nourish and protect and succor her
helpless child was the original form of nursing. Instinct alone,
unfortunately, has never accomplished much in preserving health. The
human race has now had an experience in the care of infants that extends
over thousands of years. Yet today we are still, on the whole, less
successful in keeping babies alive than we are in raising domestic
animals; we still allow society to continue, like a modern Herod, in its
ruthless career of slaughtering the innocents.

About 14 babies out of every 100 born in the registration area[1] of the
United States die before reaching the age of one year, while in some of
our industrial cities as many as 25 out of every 100 born die before
they are a year old. Most of these deaths are preventable. Thus, in a
few American cities, the death rates have been so reduced that fewer
than 10 babies out of every 100 die before completing the first year;
while in Dunedin, New Zealand, as a result of the work of the Society
for the Health of Women and Children, the infant death rate has been so
reduced that in 1912 only about 4 out of every 100 babies died before
they were a year old.

While ignorant mothers, who may or may not be uneducated women, and
contaminated milk, are as a matter of fact, chiefly responsible for our
high infant death rates, yet as we have already seen, every factor in
the environment has its effect upon a baby. This fact has led Sir Arthur
Newsholme, an eminent English authority, to say:

      "Infant Mortality is the most sensitive index we possess of
      social welfare. If babies were well born and well cared
      for, their mortality would be negligible. The infant death
      rate measures the intelligence, health, and right living of
      fathers and mothers, the standards of morals and sanitation
      of communities and governments, the efficiency of
      physicians, nurses, health officers, and educators."

Care of the child should begin at the earliest possible moment: that is,
nearly nine months before he is born. Care before birth, for want of a
better name, is called prenatal care of the mother. Every woman who
thinks that she is pregnant should put herself at once under the care of
a competent physician, so that he can make the necessary examinations as
early as possible. If she follows his advice in regard to hygiene and
proper regulation of her life, she may be free from anxiety, and may
justly expect that her delivery will be a safe and normal process.

A demonstration of the value of prenatal care was recently made by the
Boston District Nursing Association. During the year 1915 prenatal care
was given to 751 expectant mothers in 5 wards of the city; each woman
attended a pregnancy clinic, where she was under the care of an
experienced obstetrician, and was visited at intervals by a nurse who
kept careful watch of her general condition and gave necessary advice
and encouragement. In consequence the death rate among the babies whose
mothers had prenatal care was only half as great, through the whole
first year of life, as the death rate of babies in the same wards whose
mothers had not had prenatal care. Moreover, the rate of still-births
was only half as great as the rate among the general population of
Boston. If prenatal care can save so many lives, surely it ought to be
available for every pregnant woman in the land, including even that
generally neglected class of people who are neither very rich nor very

Each baby's birth should be recorded by the registrar of births, and
parents should make sure that registration has been attended to in the
city or town where they live. In some states birth registration is
already obligatory, but in any case it is required by the child's own
interest. For instance, in later life it may be necessary for him to
prove the date and place of birth in order to establish, among other
things, his right to vote and to inherit property, and to settle the
question of his liability to military service. Moreover, complete and
accurate birth registration is needed by every community because it is
essential to such reforms as reducing infant mortality and abolishing
child labor.


Statements in regard to growth and development are based on observations
of many children. It should be remembered that the following figures
represent averages only, and that healthy children may vary from them
considerably without giving cause for alarm.

AVERAGE SIZE.--The average weight of a baby at birth is from 7 to 7½
lbs. and the average length is about 20 inches, but it is not unusual
for a child to weigh anywhere from 5 to 10 pounds at birth and to
measure from 16 to 22 inches in length. During the first week of life a
baby loses slightly in weight. After the first week a healthy baby
should gain from 4 to 8 ounces a week until he is six months old; after
that time the weekly gain is less. The weight at birth will usually
double during the first five months, and treble during the first year.
Consequently, a baby weighing 7 pounds at birth may be expected to weigh
14 pounds when five months old, and 21 pounds when a year old. Weight is
one of the most important indications of a baby's condition. He should
be weighed every week during the first 6 months, once in two weeks
during the second 6 months, and once a month throughout the 2nd year.

MUSCULAR DEVELOPMENT.--A baby at birth is helpless, and during the first
few months he has little muscular control. During the third month he
ordinarily begins to lift his head, and he can usually hold it up
without support by the time he is 3 months old; when 7 to 8 months old
he sits erect and begins to play with toys. From this time a baby makes
rapid progress; he attempts to stand on his feet, begins to creep, and
by the time he is 14 months old he is usually able to stand alone, or
even to walk a few steps. He is usually running about without difficulty
when fifteen or sixteen months old.

Babies should never be urged to walk or to bear their weight on their
feet. If healthy they are generally eager to go about unaided, and like
to investigate their surroundings without assistance. If walking is
unusually delayed, a physician should be consulted.

DEVELOPMENT OF SPECIAL SENSES.--A new-born baby is unable to
distinguish objects, but the eyes are sensitive to light and need
careful protection. Hearing, although undeveloped at birth, soon becomes
acute; consequently the child should stay in a quiet room. When six or
eight weeks old he notices objects, and at three months old he welcomes
his mother when he is hungry. A month or two later he begins to
distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar faces, and to show approval
or disapproval.

DEVELOPMENT OF SPEECH.--A baby six or seven months old begins
consciously to utter sounds, and usually can say a few unconnected words
by the time he is a year old. The average child, however, does not begin
to form sentences of more than two or three words until he is about two
years old.

DEVELOPMENT OF TEETH.--The so-called milk teeth are twenty in number;
they are followed by thirty-two permanent teeth. The two lower front
teeth (central incisors) generally appear when a child is from five to
nine months old, and in from one to three months later the four upper
front teeth (upper incisors) appear. All the first or milk teeth should
have come through by the time a child is two and a half years old, but
wide variations occur both in the time and order of appearance and
should occasion no uneasiness if the child seems well. Unusual
conditions of any sort should be referred to the physician; it is a
great mistake to attribute all illness at this time to teething.

The first of the permanent teeth appear when a child is about six years
old. Mothers sometimes mistake the first permanent molars for temporary
teeth, a mistake that frequently leads to neglect and even extraction of
highly important teeth. All but the last four molars, sometimes called
wisdom teeth, should be through by the time a child is fifteen. The
wisdom teeth may not appear before the 20th or even the 25th year.

NORMAL EXCRETIONS.--A new-born baby should have one or two bowel
movements during the first twenty-four hours; the first bowel movements
are sticky and almost black in color. After the baby begins to nurse,
three to four movements a day are not unusual, and throughout infancy
and childhood as well as adult life there should be one or two
evacuations of the bowels daily. The character of the stools is more
important than the number. While the baby is taking milk only, the
movements should be soft, yellow in color, and nearly odorless. Change
in frequency of the movements, or appearance of undigested food or curds
of milk in the stool, should be carefully noted and if continued,
reported to a physician; they may be the first signs of serious
digestive trouble.

The urine of an infant should be odorless and colorless. It should be
voided at least once during the first twenty-four hours, and much more
frequently after the baby begins to nurse. Marked diminution in the
amount of urine should be reported to a doctor.

Efforts should be made early to develop habits of regularity in the
evacuation of the bladder and bowels. If taken up regularly most
children learn to use a chamber for bowel movements by the time they are
three months old. Normal children, if properly trained, usually have no
bladder discharge during the night after they are 18 months old, and
they learn even earlier to indicate a desire to urinate during the day

CLOTHING.--The amount and weight of a baby's clothing should depend upon
the season; but garments worn next to the skin, except the diaper,
should be wholly or partly of wool, the lightest weight in summer and
heavier weight in winter. During the first few weeks a baby's abdomen
should be supported by a flannel binder about six inches wide, applied
snugly but not tightly enough to restrict either the abdomen or chest
walls. It may be replaced later by a loosely fitting knitted band worn
for warmth only. Such a band is especially necessary if there is
tendency to diarrhœa, but in no case should it be discarded before
the 18th month. All garments except the diaper and first flannel binder
should hang from the shoulders, and should fit loosely but well.

Clothing for babies should be of soft materials and should be simply
made. Even the first clothes should not be very long. The weight of very
long clothing is an unnecessary burden, and prevents free movements of
the legs. At night an entire change of clothing should be made, and a
nightgown of warmer material substituted for the petticoat and slip.
Most children are dressed too warmly indoors, but in low temperatures
they need to be well protected.

Diapers should be soft and absorbent. It may be necessary to wash new
diapers several times before using in order to make them soft enough.
Care should be taken not to apply them too tightly, or in such a way as
to cause pressure on the genitals. They should be changed during the day
whenever wet or soiled, and at night when the baby is taken up to be
fed. Proper care of diapers is highly important, however laborious. They
should be well washed, boiled, and thoroughly dried before they are used
a second time. Diapers that have been wet but not soiled should not be
dried and used again before being washed. Much work can be saved if
pads of loosely woven absorbent material are used inside the diaper to
receive discharges. The pads can be burned, but even if washed the labor
is less than washing full sized diapers. Like all other infant's
garments, diapers should be washed with pure white soap and without
starch. Waterproof material used to cover the diaper is almost sure to
irritate the baby's skin, and is consequently harmful.

SLEEP.--During his first few weeks a normal baby sleeps about
nine-tenths of the time, and should be left undisturbed except for
necessary care. He should sleep in a crib, bassinet or basket protected
from light and drafts; in no circumstances should a baby sleep in the
bed with his mother or any other person. Pillows are unnecessary for
babies, and indeed for older children, but if used they should be thin
and firm.

The amount of sleep necessary gradually diminishes, but during all the
years of growth a child needs more sleep than an adult. The amount of
sleep required daily is approximately as follows:

  First month                  18 to 20 hours
  Second to sixth month        16 to 18 hours
  Sixth month to one year      14 to 15 hours
  One to two years             13 to 14 hours
  Two to four years            11 to 12 hours

After this time a child should sleep at least ten hours out of the
twenty-four. During the first year a nap in the middle of the forenoon
and another in the afternoon are desirable. A child who is inclined to
sleep so long that his nap interferes with his night's sleep, should be
waked from his nap, but at the same hour every day. When a child is a
year old, one nap during the day is often sufficient, if he is doing
well, but the habit of taking a nap at some time during the day should
be continued through the fifth year if possible, or even later.

Babies should not be rocked or otherwise coaxed to go to sleep; they
should be made comfortable and then left alone. They learn to go to
sleep by themselves as soon as they are convinced that sleep is expected
of them, and that no unfounded objections on their part will be
regarded. Continued inability to sleep normally usually indicates
discomfort or poor general condition, and should be taken up with the
doctor. Pacifiers and thumb-sucking should not be allowed, since they
lead to changes in the shape of the jaw with resulting imperfect
adjustment of the teeth. Soothing syrup and like medicines should never
be given to a baby; death or permanent injury has resulted from their
use. It is impossible to emphasize too strongly the danger of giving
them even a single time.

FRESH AIR.--All that has been said about the importance of fresh air
for adults applies with even greater force to infants and children.
During his first month especially a baby is susceptible to draughts;
nevertheless, the room should be well ventilated and its temperature
kept between 68° and 70° F. during the day, and at about 65° F. at
night. Even in cold weather the room should be well aired two or three
times a day; the baby should be removed to another room while the
windows are open. After the baby is three or four months old the windows
may be left open at night provided the outside temperature does not fall
below freezing. A healthy baby two or three weeks old may be taken
out-of-doors for a short time in mild weather; when he is three months
old he may be taken out-of-doors even in winter on bright sunny days.
The time spent out-of-doors should be gradually increased until the baby
stays out the greater part of the day; but he should not be exposed to
storms, wind, flying dust, dampness, extremes of temperature, or
insects. The eyes should not be covered by veils, but they should be
shielded from the direct rays of the sun at all times.

DIET.--A baby, in order to thrive, must have suitable food, given at
regular intervals. During the first few months of life no other food
can take the place of mother's milk. Breast-fed babies are more robust
than bottle-fed babies; more than this, they are less likely to contract
infectious diseases or to suffer from digestive disorders. The number of
bottle-fed babies who die every year is three times as great as the
number of breast-fed babies who die. Many mothers do not understand the
risk involved in weaning small babies; and so every year many little
lives are lost, and lost needlessly. When poverty forces nursing mothers
to wean their babies and seek work outside their homes, one can only say
that a society which tolerates such a waste of infant life is indeed
regardless of its own welfare.

Special conditions, of course, may make it undesirable for a mother to
nurse her baby. No one but the physician is competent to decide this;
not even neighbors, grandmothers, other members of the family, or the
mother herself. Where artificial feeding must be used, it should be
carefully adapted to the individual child, and in consequence it must be
prescribed by the doctor. Patent foods, notwithstanding the claims on
their printed labels, should be used only under his advice.

INTERVALS OF FEEDING.--Little milk is secreted during the first two days
after the birth of a child. The baby should, nevertheless, be put to
the breast as soon as he has had his first bath, if the mother is
sufficiently rested. Always before and after nursing the mother's
nipples should be washed in water that has been boiled. Nursing should
be repeated at intervals of six hours during the first two days.

The following schedule for the feeding of healthy babies is given by
Holt in "Care and Feeding of Infants." (1917.)


                    |        |          |          |           |
                    |Interval|   Night  | No. of   | Quantity  |Quantity
       Age          |between | feedings,| feedings,|  for one  | for 24
                    |meals by|  6 p.m.  | in 24    |  feeding  | hours
                    |  day   |    to    | hours    |           |
                    |        |  6 a.m.  |          |           |
                    |  Hours |          |          |   Ounces  | Ounces
  2d to 7th day     |    3   |     2    |     7    |    1-2    |  1-14
  2d and 3d weeks   |    3   |     2    |     7    |    2-3½   | 14-24
  4th to 6th week   |    3   |     2    |     7    |    3-4    | 21-28
  7th week to 3 mos.|    3   |     2    |     7    |   3½-5    | 25-35
  3 to 5 months     |    3   |     1    |     6    |   4½-6    | 27-36
  5 to 7 months     |    3   |     1    |     6    |   5½-6½   | 33-39
  7 to 12 months    |    4   |     1    |     5    |    7-8½   | 35-43

During the period when seven feedings are given in 24 hours the
following hours will be found convenient: 6 a.m., 9 a.m., 12 m., 3 p.m.,
6 p.m., 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. The 2 a.m. feeding is the one omitted when
the number of feedings is reduced from seven to six. Food should be
given on exact schedule time; the baby if asleep should be waked for
any meal except the one due at 2 a.m.

WATER.--Pure boiled water should be given regularly even to a young
baby. He is often satisfied with a little warm water if he is fretful
between the hours of nursing. Water may be given from a cup, a spoon, or
a bottle; it is desirable, however, for the baby to learn to drink from
a cup before the period of weaning begins.

WEANING.--Ordinarily, a baby should be fed from the breast until he is
seven months old, either exclusively or with the exception after the
second month of one bottle-feeding in twenty-four hours. This exception
will do the baby no harm and may be a great relief to his mother.
Partial breast-feeding should continue if possible through the ninth
month, but every baby should be entirely weaned by the time he is one
year old. It may be necessary, if either the baby or the mother is not
thriving, to change the food before the ninth month; but it is desirable
not to make the change in hot weather. Healthy babies, it should be
remembered, increase in weight constantly, and steady gain in weight is
the best indication that a baby's food is suitable.

NURSING BOTTLES AND NIPPLES.--Nursing bottles should be of heavy glass,
cylindrical in shape, without angles or corners to make cleaning
difficult. The number of bottles provided should be two or three more
than the number of feedings given in 24 hours.

Short black rubber nipples which slip over the neck of the bottles
should be selected. They should be of such a shape that they can easily
be turned inside out; a nipple turner costs little, and is well worth
the price. Nipples should be discarded when they become soft or when the
opening grows so large that the milk runs in a stream rather than drop
by drop.

As soon as the baby has finished his meal, the bottle should be removed
from his mouth, rinsed in clear hot water, and left standing filled with
cold water until a convenient time for boiling all the bottles to be
used during the next 24 hours. Sufficient time must be allowed for the
bottles to cool thoroughly between the time when they are boiled and the
time when they are refilled. When it is time to boil the bottles they
should be placed in an agate or other suitable kettle, covered with
water, and boiled vigorously for three minutes. A cloth placed in the
bottom of the kettle will help to prevent the bottles from breaking.
After the bottles have been removed from the boiling water, they should
be stoppered at once, either with rubber stoppers or plugs of sterile
cotton. The stoppers, if used, should be boiled with the bottles;
sterile cotton may be purchased by the package.

An easy and satisfactory method to care for rubber nipples is the
following: Provide as many nipples as the number of feedings given in 24
hours, and another, if desired, to be used in case of accident; provide
also two cups of ordinary white enamel, each one large enough to hold
all the nipples at once. One cup should have a cover; the other should
not. To avoid mistakes it is well to have the cups different in shape.
As soon as each feeding is finished the nipple should be thoroughly
cleansed under running water by scrubbing it inside and out with a
nipple brush. The nipple thus cleansed is placed in the cup without a
cover. When all the nipples have been used, cleansed, and collected in
the uncovered cup, they are transferred into the other cup; water is
added, the cup is covered and its contents are boiled for three minutes.
The nipples remain covered in the boiled water until needed; they are
removed one by one for the successive feedings. Care must be used in
removing a nipple to take it by the rim, not to touch other nipples
during the process and not to dip the fingers into the water. The best
way is to remove them by means of a glass rod, which is boiled with the
nipples and kept with them in the cup when not in use. There are
several advantages of this method of caring for nipples: it is easy; it
reduces to a minimum the necessary handling of the nipples after
boiling; and it reduces the probability of using the wrong nipple, since
boiled nipples are always in one kind of receptacle and used nipples in
another. It also prevents the too common practice of continuing to keep
nipples in a supposedly antiseptic solution long after the solution has
become badly soiled.

TABLES of diet for children over one year of age may be found in the
Appendix, page 322.

BATHING.--Usually the cord has separated and the navel has entirely
healed by the time a baby is 10 days old. After this time a daily tub
bath should be given; it should be given not less than one hour after
feeding. The temperature of the room should be from 70-72°, measured by
a thermometer placed in the part of the room where the bath is to take
place. In order to avoid chilling or tiring the baby the bath should be
given quickly, without confusion or interruption; success can be
achieved by using even a moderate amount of foresight. Before undressing
the baby everything to be used should be collected and placed within
easy reach,--clean clothing, soft towels, 2 wash cloths, pure white
soap, powder, absorbent cotton, etc. The bath tub should last of all be
filled with water, and its temperature tested by means of a bath
thermometer. The temperature of the water should be from 98° to 100°.
After the baby is three months old slightly cooler water should be
splashed over his chest, back, neck, and arms just after he is removed
from the tub, and as he grows older the temperature of his cool splash
can be reduced. Children who become accustomed to cool water in this way
take kindly to their cold showers later.

The baby's face should be washed first and dried carefully, while his
body is still covered. Next the head should be washed; a little soap
should be used, but it must on no account enter the eyes. Next the
entire body should be soaped with the hand; and then the baby should be
placed gently in the bath, his head and shoulders supported by the
attendant's left hand and forearm. Care should be taken to rinse off all
the soap. The baby should not stay in the tub more than 2 or 3 minutes;
after he has been removed from the tub he should be wrapped at once in a
soft bath towel. He should be dried gently but thoroughly by patting
with soft, warm towels rather than by rubbing. Folds of the skin should
be dried with special care. A little powder may be applied, but a baby
who is kept both clean and dry will not need much powder, if any. The
baby should next be quickly dressed, with as little turning and moving
as possible. Clothing should be drawn on over the feet instead of over
the head, and the petticoat should be placed inside the slip so that the
two garments may go on simultaneously.

EYES.--Secretion accumulating in the corners of a baby's eyes should be
removed by means of a bit of absorbent cotton moistened in boiled water.
The secretion should be wiped away gently; a different piece of cotton
should be used for each eye, and a piece that has been used should not
be put back into the water. Further than this, eyes in a normal
condition do not need cleansing.

Every person who handles a baby should be very sure that her hands are
clean; she should be doubly sure before she touches his eyes, since a
baby's eyes are peculiarly susceptible to infection from any source.
More than a quarter of all totally blind persons in the United States
became blind by infection of the eyes at birth. Blindness of the new
born can be prevented in practically all cases if the doctor uses a
preparation of silver in the baby's eyes immediately after birth. This
treatment is effective and entirely safe.

If at any time the eyelids look red or swollen, or if a drop of matter
appears between the lids, the physician should be summoned at once.
Total blindness may result if treatment is delayed even a few hours.

MOUTH.--The mouth should be rinsed after feeding by giving the baby a
teaspoonful of boiled water. Until the teeth come it does not require
other cleansing, and attempts to clean it may injure the delicate
membranes that line it. Indeed, except in an emergency, fingers should
not be inserted into a baby's mouth. The teeth when they appear should
be cleaned by means of a soft tooth-brush.

NOSTRILS.--The nostrils need no cleaning other than removal of mucus
that can easily be reached by means of a piece of cotton. If a little
vaseline is placed in the nostrils on a small piece of absorbent cotton
in the early morning, collections of mucus will usually be softened so
that they can be removed easily at bath time.

GENITAL ORGANS.--The genital organs of girl babies should be gently
washed twice a day, using absorbent cotton, and tepid water. Treatment
other than cleanliness is ordinarily unnecessary. Vaseline may be
applied if the genitals are slightly reddened; any discharge or abnormal
appearance should be reported to the doctor. In the case of boy babies
the foreskin should be gently drawn back twice a week after immersion in
the tub; after the parts have been gently washed with absorbent cotton,
it should be drawn forward again. No force should be employed in
retracting the foreskin; the physician should be consulted if it cannot
be retracted easily.

THE DEVELOPMENT OF HABITS.--During his first few months crying is a
child's only means of expression, and he quickly learns to make
effective use of his limited opportunities. It is important for the
mother to distinguish between crying caused by pain, illness, or hunger,
and crying caused by temper. These cries are more or less distinctive,
but no one can be sure in every case just what a crying baby is
attempting to express.

A cry caused by hunger is fretful and often interrupted by sucking the
thumb; it ceases when the child is fed. A cry caused by indigestion is
similar; the child is relieved for a short time by feeding, but soon
begins to cry again. If he has acute pain, such as earache, the cry is
sharp, repeated at frequent intervals and accompanied by other symptoms
of distress, such as restlessness, contraction of the features, and
drawing up the legs. In serious illness the cry is usually feeble,
fairly constant except when the child is asleep, and exaggerated by
slight causes.

A limited amount of crying is useful exercise for a baby, and should not
distress his mother unduly. Moreover, crying may be merely the
expression of a wish to be taken up, to be played with, carried about or
otherwise amused, to be given a pacifier, or to be indulged in other bad
habits. If not indulged in these ways he may cry from temper. The cry of
temper is loud and violent, accompanied by vigorous kicking or by
holding the body rigid. Proper treatment of the baby may prevent many
months of discomfort, and spare him the formation of his first bad
habit. All other possible causes for crying should be eliminated. If the
child continues to cry when he is warm and dry and comfortable, "It
should simply be allowed to cry it out. This often requires an hour and
in extreme cases two or three hours. A second struggle will seldom last
more than ten or fifteen minutes and a third will rarely be necessary"
(Holt). Gas may form in the child's stomach during prolonged crying. It
is consequently permissible to take him up after 15 minutes, and hold
him erect; he generally expels gas at once, and immediately experiences
relief. As soon as he is relieved, he should go back to his crib.

EXERCISE.--Exercise is essential to the development of the body, but
during the first few weeks warmth and quiet are so important that a baby
should not be disturbed except for necessary care. His position,
however, should be changed occasionally; if he lies on the same side
constantly the soft bones of the head may become misshapen from
pressure. As the baby grows older he needs more exercise, and he may be
given an opportunity for it by removing his outer clothing and placing
him on a bed in a warm room for a short time each day. Unnecessary
handling is not good for a baby at any age.

After he becomes more active, he may play on a mattress or thick blanket
placed on the floor. The blanket should be covered with a washable pad
or rubber cloth and clean sheet, and the whole should be surrounded by a
fence at least two feet high. In such an enclosure a baby may safely be
left to play if protected from draughts and cold. Elevated pens that can
be folded when not in use are more convenient but more expensive than
the home-made arrangement. As soon as a child begins to run about he
takes ample exercise, and he may even need to be guarded from too great
fatigue, especially toward bedtime. Games and play should be adapted to
the age of the child and sufficiently varied to exercise all portions of
the body; but they should not be too violent nor too prolonged. Some
supervision of children's play is necessary, but they should be given as
much freedom as possible and allowed to develop their own initiative.

PLAY AND TOYS.--The desire for play does not develop until a child is
about six months old. At this age toys that can be washed, such as those
of hard or soft rubber, should be selected. A baby instinctively carries
everything to his mouth,--first his thumb, then playthings, and later
whatever he may find, no matter how unsuitable. For his safety and
protection this habit should be overcome as soon as possible, and he
must learn to put nothing in his mouth except food and drink. Relatives
are nearly always tempted to give too many and too fragile toys; they
merely teach a child to be destructive and constantly to expect
something new. Toys are the first possessions of which a child is
conscious, and through them many desirable qualities may be developed:
neatness and order, gentleness and a feeling of protection toward the
helpless doll or Teddy bear, and unselfishness in sharing special
treasures with playmates. Later the child may be given pets and made
responsible for their care; but animals should not be subjected to
unintentional cruelties from small children.


1. What two factors are chiefly responsible for the deaths of babies
under a year old? What other factors contribute? In your city or town
what is the number of deaths per 1000 births of babies under one year

2. Why is birth registration important to an individual? to a
community? Is it required by law in your city?

3. What is the average weight of babies at birth? Describe the rate at
which they should gain.

4. At what age may a normal child be expected to sit erect? to stand? to
walk? to speak? When should his first teeth appear? his permanent teeth?

5. Describe normal bowel movements of a baby.

6. How should a young baby be dressed?

7. Describe a baby's bath and toilet.

8. Describe the surroundings that are suitable for a baby.

9. What is the best food for a healthy baby? Why?

10. Describe in detail a good daily program for a healthy baby four
months old.

11. What habits are desirable for a baby to form, and how may he be
trained so that he will form them?

12. Name all the indications that would tell you when a baby was not
thriving, and in each case tell what you would do about it.


The Care and Feeding of Children--Holt.

The Care and Feeding of the Baby--Truby King.

The Baby's First Two Years--R. M. Smith.

The Care and Feeding of Children--J. L. Morse.

Preventive Medicine and Hygiene--Rosenau, Section III, Chapter II.


  Prenatal Care, Mrs. Max West.

  Infant Care, Mrs. Max West.

  Child Care, Mrs. Max West. Published by the Children's Bureau,
  United States Department of Labor, Washington, D. C. (Free on

The Care of the Baby--Supplement No. 10 to the Public Health Reports,
1913, Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C.

Your Baby: How to Keep It Well--New York State Department of Health,

Publications of the American Association for the Study and Prevention of
Infant Mortality--1211 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, Md. (Free on

Publications of the National Committee for the Prevention of
Blindness--130 East 22d Street, New York City. (Free on request.)


  [1] An area including about two-thirds of the population of the United



By indications of sickness we mean all evidences of deviation from a
normal physical condition. They may be apparent only to the person in
whom they occur, or to a second person only, or to both. These
deviations, commonly called the symptoms of sickness, are always
important to notice, whether the conditions they indicate are serious or

Early symptoms of sickness are often slight; hence they easily pass
unnoticed. Yet a slight trouble, easily checked in its early stages,
may, if neglected, grow into a serious or even fatal disorder: just as a
burning match, which anyone could extinguish instantly, may kindle a
fire beyond the power of an entire city to control.

It is important, then, to notice even slight symptoms of sickness,
first, in order to determine the nature of the trouble, and second, in
order to institute treatment as early as possible. It is, however,
hardly less important to observe symptoms accurately during the entire
course of an illness. A patient's progress can be determined only by
careful comparison between present and past conditions.

Many symptoms can be detected only by methods requiring scientific
apparatus as well as the knowledge and skill of a physician, but very
pronounced symptoms are generally evident to anyone. The neighbors do
not need to be told when a person has advanced tuberculosis; neither is
an expert required to see that something ails a man with a broken leg.
Furthermore less pronounced symptoms may often be clearly seen by any
observant person, even by those not specially trained. Accordingly it is
important for every woman who has charge of others, sick or well, to
form the habit of noticing unusual appearances of any kind. This habit
is one that most people must take pains to acquire, because people
generally see only the things that their own experience in life has
taught them to see. An added difficulty is the fact that when illness
begins it is not a trained observer, but the untrained sufferer or
untrained member of his family who decides whether to send for the
doctor and thus to set in motion the machinery for treatment and cure.

All the training and experience of a physician are required in order to
decide what symptoms indicate, and to prescribe proper remedies.
Diagnosis, or the process of determining the nature of illness from the
symptoms observed, is often exceedingly difficult; it must take into
consideration not one symptom only but the presence or absence of a
number of symptoms. Untrained persons who attempt to make diagnoses are
frequently led astray by the fact that actual causes of trouble may be
situated far from the places where symptoms are felt or observed. For
instance, the real cause of headache may lie in a region far removed
from the head; and so-called heart-burn, which is caused by disordered
digestion, has nothing to do with the heart. Again, an early symptom of
tuberculosis of the hip joint is pain under the knee; a mother is
clearly not doing the best thing when she assumes that any pain in a
joint means rheumatism, and therefore doses her suffering child with the
medicine that "helped" his rheumatic grandfather. No untrained person is
equipped to make a diagnosis, and still less to prescribe medicine or

Symptoms, like all other forms of discomfort, tend to trouble a patient
in proportion to the amount of attention that he gives them. Hence, in
order to avoid calling his attention to them unnecessarily they should
be observed so far as possible without his knowledge; when it is
unavoidable for him to realize what is going on, observation should be
made a matter of routine, so that his interest may not be especially
excited. For instance, everyone who has seen the routine medical
inspection of school children realizes how little attention the children
themselves give to the process, apparently regarding it merely as one of
the many inexplicable proceedings of grown people. On the other hand,
children who know their symptoms are over-anxiously watched soon learn
to watch themselves and to exaggerate every little ache and pain.

Symptoms may be divided into two classes: first, objective symptoms, or
those that can be noted by an observer, like cough, pulse rate, or color
of the skin; and second, the subjective symptoms, which are apparent
only to the person affected, like pain and fatigue. The success of any
woman who cares for the sick depends to a large extent upon her
quickness and accuracy in noticing and reporting these symptoms and
their variations. It should be remembered that pronounced symptoms are
not the only ones of importance: even slight symptoms that continue over
an appreciable length of time may be of very great importance. A brief
description of some important symptoms follows, in order to help persons
without technical training to describe the symptoms as well as to
observe them.


TEMPERATURE.--Bodily heat is produced by slow burning of food materials,
which goes on for the most part in actively working muscles and glands.
Heat thus generated is distributed by the blood to all parts of the
body, but the surface of the body is generally cooler than the interior.
In health the body temperature varies only a few degrees, no matter how
much the temperature of its surroundings varies; consequently a
temperature is abnormal if it is higher or lower than the usual
temperature of a healthy person.

The temperature is taken by means of a clinical thermometer placed
either in the mouth, the rectum, or the armpit (axilla).

[Illustration: FIG. 10.--CLINICAL THERMOMETER.]

To take the mouth temperature, first wash the thermometer, using cold
water and absorbent cotton or clean soft cloth. Next shake it until the
mercury thread registers 96° or below. It is well before purchasing a
thermometer to see whether it can be shaken down easily. Next place the
thermometer in the patient's mouth, with its bulb under his tongue; he
must then keep his lips closed until it is removed. Leave the
thermometer in his mouth for two minutes. Then remove the thermometer,
read the temperature and record the result. Clean the thermometer at
once, using first cold water and soap, and then alcohol, 70%.

The mouth temperature of a healthy person is about 98.6° F. This
statement holds true if the person has been sitting with his mouth shut
for a little while before his temperature is taken; but a hot bath,
breathing through the mouth, eating or drinking, and so forth may cause
marked temporary changes.

The temperature in the rectum generally varies less than the temperature
in the mouth unless it is taken when the rectum contains fecal matter.
The temperature should be taken by rectum in babies and young children,
restless, drowsy, or delirious patients, patients who cannot be trusted
to keep the thermometer under the tongue, mouth breathers, and in any
patients who have difficulty in keeping the mouth shut. The temperature
is normally about half a degree higher in the rectum than in the mouth.

In order to take a temperature by rectum, adults generally find it more
convenient to lie on the side and prefer, if they are able, to insert
and hold the thermometer themselves; but the attendant should be
certain that they can do so without breaking the thermometer. Rectal
thermometers should be lubricated with oil or vaseline before using;
they should be inserted about two inches, left in three minutes, and
cleansed in the same way as the mouth thermometer. A thermometer used to
take rectal temperatures should never be used in the mouth.

In taking the temperature of a baby place him on his back, hold him
firmly with his legs elevated, and carefully insert the bulb of the
thermometer, well oiled, for about one inch. Keep the child quiet, and
hold the thermometer in place three minutes. Great importance should not
be attached to a slight fever of short duration. The temperature of a
child is much more easily affected by slight causes than that of an
adult, and rectal temperatures between 97.5° and 100.5° should not cause
anxiety unless continued.

Temperatures taken in the axilla are less accurate than those taken by
mouth or rectum. Consequently the method is less often used. The axilla
should first be wiped; then the thermometer should be inserted and held
for 5 minutes by pressing the arm tightly against the chest wall. The
temperature in the axilla is normally about half a degree lower than in
the mouth.

The temperature varies somewhat according to the time of day. It is not
unusual for the mouth temperature of persons who are entirely healthy to
be as low as 97° in the early morning, or as high as 99° in the late
afternoon, and probably most people's temperatures vary as much as a
degree during the twenty-four hours. Even greater variations that are
not long continued have little if any significance in people who feel

Decided variations either above or below normal are highly important
symptoms. A temperature below 98° is called subnormal, and one above
99.5° is called fever. The number of degrees of fever does not
necessarily bear a direct relation to the severity of an illness. Thus,
it does not follow that one person is twice as sick as another, because
his temperature is twice as many degrees above normal. All symptoms,
including variations in temperature, must be considered in connection
with one another, and it is generally impossible to state the
significance of any one symptom taken by itself.

The temperature should be taken once or twice a day as a matter of
routine in almost every form of illness, and oftener when the patient's
condition requires it. Also it should be taken as a matter of routine
whenever there is indication of beginning sickness; especially when
there is headache, pain, sore throat, coated tongue, cough or cold,
chill, vomiting, diarrhœa, or rash. It is not a good plan to take
one's own temperature oftener than necessary, or indeed anyone's;
certainly not a baby's, since frequent use of the thermometer may
irritate the rectum.

PULSE.--Each time the heart beats, blood is forced out from the heart
into the arteries, thus causing an expansion of the arterial walls. This
expansion, called the pulse, can be felt in some places where arteries
lie close to the surface of the body. The character of the pulse beat
and its rate, or the number of times the beat occurs each minute, give
information about the heart and blood vessels; taken together they are
perhaps more important than any other one symptom.

POSITION OF ARM. (_From "Elementary Nursing Procedures," California
State Board of Health._)]

The pulse rate varies much more than the temperature. It differs in
different individuals and at different ages, and it often shows great
temporary changes, especially during exercise or eating, or as a result
of excitement, fear, or other emotion. Definite statements in regard to
normal pulse rates are hard to make, because different individuals
though in perfect health show marked variations; we generally say,
however, that the pulse rate of a normal man at rest is about 72 a
minute, and that of a normal woman is about 80 a minute. At birth the
pulse is quickest; it may then be from 124 to 144. From the 6th to the
12th month it may be from 105 to 115 a minute, and from 90 to 105
between the 2d and 6th years. About the time of puberty it reaches the
adult rate, and during old age it may be decidedly slower than the adult

What we chiefly want to know about the pulse is

1. Its rate, or number of beats per minute,

2. Its force,--whether weak or strong,

3. Its rhythm,--whether regular or irregular.

Much practice is necessary before the pulse rate can be counted with any
degree of accuracy, and wide experience with both normal and abnormal
pulses is required in order to judge its strength, rhythm, or other

The pulse may be felt most conveniently on the thumb side of the front
of the wrist. The pulse should be counted while the patient is lying
down, and the watch used must have a second hand. To count the pulse,
one should place two or three fingers (not the thumb) on the patient's
wrist, and after the pulse has been felt distinctly for a few beats, the
exact time by the second hand of the watch should be noticed and the
counting begun immediately. It is generally best to count for half a
minute, multiply the result by two to get the rate for a whole minute,
and then to repeat for another half minute. The two results should agree
within two beats, if the patient is quiet. A greater variation than two
beats may mean that the pulse rate is varying, but when it is counted
by inexperienced persons the apparent difference is generally the result
of inaccurate counting, and it may be necessary to count two or three
times more. The force of the pulse varies also in different individuals;
it is, however, important to notice when it grows stronger or weaker in
the same person. Normally the pulse-beat is regular like the ticking of
a clock; it is called irregular if a few rapid or slow beats are
followed by others of a different rate. During sickness the pulse should
be counted whenever the temperature is taken, or oftener; and the result
should be written down at once. The pulse of a sick person often shows
changes both in rate and character; these changes are generally
important and should be noticed.

RESPIRATION.--Variations in the rate and character of respiration or
breathing should be noticed. The normal rate of respiration for an adult
at rest is 16 to 20 each minute, but it may be much faster, especially
during muscular exercise. In babies the rate is about 30 to 35 a minute,
and 20 to 25 in little children. The respirations, especially of babies,
can best be counted during sleep by placing the hand lightly on the
chest or abdomen. Since the respiration rate is partly under a person's
control, it is almost sure to alter if the patient knows it is being
counted; hence when the patient is awake it is better to keep one's
fingers on his wrist, to place his hand upon his chest, and then to
count the rise and fall of the chest while apparently counting the
pulse. Sometimes it is possible to count the respirations merely by
watching the rise and fall of the nightgown or bed clothes. The
respiration is usually counted for a full minute. A watch with a second
hand must be used, and the result should be recorded immediately.

In certain forms of sickness breathing may become rapid, especially if
the lungs or air passages are affected. In addition to the rate anything
unusual about the breathing should be noticed whether it seems difficult
or painful; if noisy, whether the sound is like snoring, or wheezing, or
sighing, and so on.

GENERAL APPEARANCE.--Any unusual expression of the face should be noted;
whether it is drawn, pinched, anxious, excited, or dull and stupid; and
also, whether the face is thin, swollen, or puffy under the eyes. The
condition and appearance of the skin are significant: the skin may be
dry, moist and clammy, hot or cold; its color, and the color of the face
especially, may be flushed or pale or slightly yellow or blue. A bluish
tinge about the nose, tips of the fingers, or the feet should be
specially noticed. Reddened or discolored areas on any part of the body
may be important, and also eruptions, rashes, swellings, or sores. It
should be noticed whether the abdomen is normal or whether it is
distended and hard.

Strength or weakness is indicated to some extent by the way the patient
moves, and by his ability to walk, stand, sit, hold up his head, feed
himself, or turn in bed without assistance. The position he habitually
takes is sometimes significant; in heart affections, for instance, he
may be unable to lie down, in pleurisy he ordinarily lies on the
affected side, and during abdominal pain he generally draws the knees

SPECIAL SENSES.--The special senses are frequently disturbed in
sickness. The eyes may be blood-shot; the patient may be over-sensitive
to light, or see spots floating before the eyes, or he may be unable to
see at all. The pupils of the eyes may be unusually large or small, or
one may be large while the other is small. Swelling, redness, or
discharge from the eyes should be noticed. Hearing and touch and smell
may be impaired; or they may be abnormally acute, and cause real
suffering. Taste may be impaired, especially when the nose is affected
or when the mouth is not clean. Discharge from the nose or ears should
be reported. Not only discharge, but also trouble of any kind, such as
pain, tenderness, or swelling, is important if situated in or near the

THE VOICE is often much altered in sickness. It may be weak, hoarse, or
whispered. Speech may be clear or thick, or the ability to speak may be
entirely lost; in extreme weakness speaking is generally difficult, and
may be impossible. Moaning, groaning, and other unusual sounds should be
noted. A loud, sharp cry at night with or without waking, if a repeated
occurrence, may be an early symptom of some diseases of children.

THE TONGUE in health is red and moist; when extended it is somewhat
pointed and can be held steadily. In sickness it may be cracked, dry and
parched, or if the patient is not properly cared for, it may be covered
with white, yellow, or brown coating; in many exhausting illnesses it is
flabby and trembling. In scarlet fever the tongue is often a vivid red
color, and is then called strawberry tongue. The odor of the breath may
be foul from decay or neglect of the teeth, from indigestion,
constipation, nasal catarrh, or special diseases.

THE THROAT and tonsils are sometimes red and swollen as in simple sore
throat; or they may be covered by white patches.

THE GUMS may be swollen, tender, or bleeding. A collection of sticky
brownish material may appear on the teeth and gums of neglected

COUGH when present may be: dry, or accompanied by expectoration;
painful, frequent, loud, or whooping; and worse by day or by night. The
sputum may be yellow, white, gray, rusty, blood-streaked, dark, or
frothy. The amount of sputum should be noticed as well as its

APPETITE or absence of appetite should be noted, and also the amount of
food actually eaten by a patient; the amount eaten is frequently not the
same as the amount carried to him on a tray.

If VOMITING occurs, the color, consistency, amount, and general
appearance of the vomitus should be noted; if its appearance is unusual
the vomitus should be saved for the doctor's inspection.

EXCRETIONS.--The number of bowel movements is important, and also their
character. The consistency of the feces may be hard, soft or fluid;
their color may be any shade of brown, yellow or green, from black to
clay color. They should be saved for the doctor to see if appearance or
odor is unusual.

THE URINE in health is clear, amber colored, and slightly acid. From 30
to 50 ounces should be excreted in 24 hours; the amount varies, however,
especially according to the amount of fluid taken. It is important to
notice whether the urine is scanty or greatly increased in amount, dark
or pale, clear or cloudy, and whether sediment is deposited after
standing. It is essential that urine should be voided in sufficient
amount; the necessity for watching its quantity is frequently overlooked
in the home care of the sick. Frequency of urination should also be
noted. Inability to urinate, particularly where the urine has previously
been scanty, is serious if continued; it should be reported to the
doctor without delay. Inability to control the bladder and bowels are
also symptoms to be reported.

LOSS OF WEIGHT is significant in both adults and children, and failure
of babies and children to gain in weight is a danger signal.

SLEEP.--The number of hours a patient sleeps should be noticed and
recorded as accurately as possible. The word of the patient on this
subject is not sufficient evidence. Character of sleep should also be
noted, whether it is quiet or restless, and whether the patient sleeps
lightly or is difficult to arouse.

MENTAL CONDITIONS.--It is important to watch carefully the mental
condition of a patient; whether, for example, he is normal, or
depressed, irritable, restless, apathetic, dull, excited, wandering,
delirious, or unconscious. Hasty judgment of mental conditions should
be avoided, but close attention to them is necessary.


PAIN is the most important subjective symptom and should never be
disregarded. Bodily pain does not occur in persons who are in all
regards physically and mentally well; hence pain is a sign that
something, small or great, is out of order.

      "Of all symptoms pain is the one which interests patients
      the most. We here emphasize the truth, too little
      understood, that pain is an unpleasant sensation, nothing
      more, and is _never_ imagined. Imagination may be its
      cause, but the pain thus produced hurts just as truly as
      pain produced by a real disease. Pain is only a phenomenon
      of consciousness; it is always real, even that felt in a
      dream. If the patient is too unconscious to feel it, there
      simply is no pain, no matter how badly the person's body is
      injured." (Emerson: Essentials of Medicine, p. 356.)

One should remember that no possible method exists to measure the
intensity of pain exactly, or to describe its quality accurately.
Therefore in describing pain, it is best to use the patient's own
language. Four points should especially be observed, (1) its location;
(2) its character, which may be dull or sharp, stabbing, throbbing or
continuous, slight or severe; (3) the time at which it is worst; certain
diseases, for instance, are characterized by more severe pain at night;
(4) it should be noticed whether the pain is relieved or increased by
change of position, eating or drinking, heat or cold, or the like. Pain
may be felt in a part far from the place where the trouble really lies;
thus a dislocated shoulder causes pain in the elbow.

Pain is always a danger signal, although the significance is not always
so great as the sufferer thinks. The more attention a patient gives to
his pain, the more severe it always becomes, therefore his attention
should not be called to it unnecessarily. A good observer, however, can
get much information by noticing the patient's expression, position,
motions, etc., without constantly asking him how he feels. Although many
persons overestimate pain, others persistently disregard it, either
because they are unwilling to take the necessary measures to remedy it,
or because they wish to appear heroic. Both courses of action are
mistaken; everyone should realize the folly and danger of bearing pain
if it is possible to remove the cause.

Nausea, fatigue and malaise are other subjective symptoms; malaise is
the name given to a general feeling of physical discomfort not
restricted to any one part of the body. All three are abnormal when
there is not apparent or sufficient cause.

RECORDS.--An accurate record should be kept of the patient's symptoms,
medicine, diet, treatment, etc., so that the doctor may have a
continuous record, and so that another person taking charge temporarily
may know just what has been done for the patient. The record must be
written; otherwise details cannot be remembered exactly. It should be as
simple and concise as possible; it is the place for facts, not for
opinions, and if inaccurate it is worse than none. It is better not to
keep the record in the patient's room, for the patient should not see
his own record, nor hear its contents discussed. The doctor usually
writes his orders on the record sheet itself, or on a separate sheet to
be attached to the record for reference. Blank record forms can be
purchased, but a form that is made at home is entirely satisfactory. An
example of a daily record sheet follows.


   Date |  Hour    |Tem.|Pulse|Resp.|   Diet and     |B.M.|Urine|Remarks
        |          |    |     |     |   medicine     |    |     |
  1916  |          |    |     |     |                |    |     |
  Jan. 1|4 p.m.    |100°| 76  | 24  |Medicine        |    |     |
        |5 p.m.    |    |     |     |                | 1  |℥ vii|
        |6 p.m.    |    |     |     |Supper:         |    |     |
        |          |    |     |     | Baked potato,  |    |     |
        |          |    |     |     | toast, fruit,  |    |     |
        |          |    |     |     | tea.           |    |     |
        |8 p.m.    |    |     |     |Medicine        |    |     |Sponge
        |          |    |     |     |                |    |     |bath.
        |9:30 p.m. |    |     |     |                |    |     |Asleep.
  Jan. 2|3 a.m.    |    |     |     |                |    |℥ ix |
        |8 a.m.    |99° | 74  | 22  |Medicine        |    |     |Patient
        |          |    |     |     |                |    |     |slept
        |          |    |     |     |                |    |     |most
        |          |    |     |     |                |    |     |of the
        |          |    |     |     |                |    |     |night.
        |8:30 a.m. |    |     |     |Breakfast:      |    |     |
        |          |    |     |     | Cereal, orange,|    |     |
        |          |    |     |     | toast, coffee. |    |     |
        |9:30 a.m. |    |     |     |Bath.           |    |     |
        |11:30 a.m.|    |     |     |                |    |     |Sat up
        |          |    |     |     |                |    |     |1 hour.

symptoms of sickness are always important; yet it seems worth while to
mention particularly the early symptoms of tuberculosis, cancer, and
mental disorders, because each of these diseases, though curable in
many cases when taken in the early stages, is serious and often fatal
if neglected. Certain facts relating to their cause and prevention
should be known to everyone. Tuberculosis, long our greatest cause of
death, is gradually growing less; but cancer and mental disease are now
on the increase.

TUBERCULOSIS.--Every year tuberculosis causes the death of about 150,000
people in the United States. It is caused by the bacillus tuberculosis,
a germ which may attack any tissue of the body, although it most
frequently affects the lungs of grown people, and the bones and glands
of children. The disease is not inherited, but susceptibility to it
appears to be; it is readily communicated from person to person. The
germ of tuberculosis is so widely distributed that probably few persons
over 30 years of age have not been infected with it at some time,
although the infection may have been too slight to be noticed. Indeed,
most people have probably been infected many times, though without
serious results.

Tuberculosis is spread chiefly in two ways: (1) through any bodily
discharges from infected persons, especially through the nose and mouth
discharges; (2) through milk from infected cows. The ways by which the
disease is spread indicate methods of prevention. Milk, especially for
children, should either be pasteurized or should come from cows that
have been tested and proved to be free from the disease. Other methods
of prevention include avoiding any and all bodily discharges of infected
persons, and increasing bodily resistance as far as possible. Good food,
sufficient rest and fresh air are not only important preventives, but
also the most efficacious means of cure. Persons who suffer from
insufficient food, exposure, bad housing, long hours, and bad conditions
of work are especially susceptible to tuberculosis, and thus it is
rightly called a disease of poverty.

Early symptoms of tuberculosis include cough, hoarseness, loss of
appetite, pain in the side, loss of weight, getting tired easily,
feeling run down, rise in temperature in the afternoon, night sweats,
expectoration, and spitting blood. No one, nor even several, of these
symptoms necessarily indicates the presence of tuberculosis; on the
other hand, even the cough is not necessarily present when tuberculosis
actually exists. When one or more of these symptoms appears and
continues, a thorough examination should be made by a doctor;
examination can do no harm, certainly, if tuberculosis is not found, and
if it is, immediate treatment is of the greatest importance. No known
drug or medicine is a cure for tuberculosis. Successful treatment
depends on taking the disease in time and in following the doctor's
advice unremittingly.

CANCER.--The cause of cancer is not known. All the evidence, however,
goes to show that it is neither communicable nor hereditary. Cancer may
occur on the skin, stomach, or other organs; in women it most commonly
occurs in the breast or uterus (womb). In both sexes it occurs most
frequently after 40 years of age. No known medicine will cure cancer;
salves and ointments have no effect. Radium and _x_-ray should not be
relied upon if the cancer can be removed by operation. Safety consists
in removing the growth entirely, and complete removal is possible only
in the early stages.

Early diagnosis is consequently of the greatest possible importance, and
an examination can do no harm in any case. Warts and moles on the skin
may develop into cancer, and should be removed if they show signs of
irritation. Loss of appetite and weight, any disturbance of the stomach
or intestines, and sores that refuse to heal should lead a person to
consult a physician; the same is true of any lump in the breast, and of
irregular or persistent bleeding from the uterus in women over forty.
The fact that pain is not present in cancer until the late stages leads
many persons to neglect the trouble until it is too far advanced for
operation. Time is all-important; hope depends on operation in the early
stages when there is a very great probability of permanent cure.

MENTAL ILLNESS.--Insanity, like cancer, is increasing. Like both cancer
and tuberculosis, hope lies in prevention and early treatment; and like
them both, in its early symptoms it is too often unrecognized or

Many people are surprised to learn that known, avoidable causes are
responsible for the condition of about 50% of the insane patients now
under treatment. Chief among these known causes is a communicable germ
disease called syphilis, to which is due the disease called paresis, or
"softening of the brain." About 25% of patients admitted to hospitals
for the insane are there from the effects of habitual use of alcohol,
even in "moderate" quantities. Other cases of insanity result from
diseases of the heart, arteries, and kidneys, and still others have been
traced to the poisons of tuberculosis, typhoid, diphtheria, and other
communicable diseases. Prevention of insanity caused by these diseases
depends upon prevention or complete cure of the diseases themselves.

Still other causes of insanity are known. Hereditary nervous weakness
may predispose to insanity, and for such persons, those whose nervous
resistance is naturally not very great, the stress of living may prove
too much. Mental breakdowns are rarely caused by overwork unless
accompanied by worry or bad hygienic conditions, but they result not
infrequently from bad mental habits.

      "The average person, little realizes the danger of brooding
      over slights, injuries, disappointments, or misfortunes, or
      of an unnatural attitude towards his fellowmen, shown by
      unusual sensitiveness or marked suspicion. Yet all these
      unwholesome and painful trains of thought, may if persisted
      in and unrelieved by healthy interests and activities, tend
      towards insanity. Wholesome work relieved by periods of
      rest and simple pleasures and an interest in the affairs of
      others, are important preventives of unwholesome ways of
      thinking. We should train ourselves not to brood, but to
      honestly face personal difficulties."--(Why Should Anyone
      Go Insane?, by Folks and Ellwood.)

Prevention of insanity consequently depends chiefly upon avoiding
alcohol and communicable diseases, especially syphilis; upon good
hygiene, self-control, and avoidance of bad mental habits; and upon
adopting a program of living and working that will not overtax one's
nervous strength. Sleeplessness, unusual nervous fatigue following
slight exertion, and diminished power to control the emotions, are among
the danger signals. And when a person becomes unusually depressed or
morose, excited or irritable, suspicious, unreasonable, or "queer," it
is probable that expert medical advice should be obtained as quickly as


1. What is a symptom? Why are early symptoms especially important?

2. Distinguish between objective and subjective symptoms.

3. Tell all you can about normal and abnormal variations in the body
temperature. What symptoms would lead you to take a person's

4. Describe the method of taking temperatures.

5. How should you cleanse a clinical thermometer? What are the dangers
of neglecting to cleanse it properly?

6. Describe both normal and abnormal pulse and respiration.

7. Discuss the significance and importance of pain.

8. Describe early symptoms of tuberculosis, cancer, and mental illness.
What is the first step to be taken when any one of these symptoms

9. What symptoms of all those mentioned in this chapter did you notice
in the last sick person with whom you had anything to do?

10. What are the essentials of a good daily record? The following is an
account that a mother gave of the first twenty-four hours of a child's
illness. Make a chart for the patient, and include in it all the
information the mother gave. Which do you consider more useful, your
chart or the narrative?

"Yesterday, October 10th, Johnny came home from school about half past
three, and said he was too cold to play outdoors. He lay down and slept
till about five, when he vomited a large amount of undigested food. I
took his temperature and found that it was 103.8°, pulse 126, and
respiration 28. At 10 that night his temperature was 102.5°, pulse 116,
and respiration the same as before. The next morning at 8 he had a
temperature of 100.6°, pulse 114, respiration 24. At noon his
temperature was 101°, pulse 118, respiration 24; and at 4 o'clock his
temperature was 100.6°, pulse 122, respiration 22. The doctor came at 6
o'clock yesterday afternoon; according to his orders I put Johnny to
bed, gave him half a tablespoonful of castor oil at 6.30, and a special
gargle. His throat was red and sore and he seemed to feel very
miserable. The doctor took a culture from the child's throat. At 8.15
and again at 8.50 he had fluid bowel movements. At 9.30 he had a glass
of milk, after which he slept until 6 a.m. when his bowels moved again
and urine was passed. He passed eight ounces of urine at noon and four
ounces at 3.30. He drank a glass of water at 6 this morning, and at 6.30
I gave him a cup of hot broth. At 8 he had a glass of milk, but at 10 he
refused everything but a glass of water. At 1.30 he had a large dish of
ice cream. He had a cool sponge bath last night at 9, and a cleansing
bath this morning at 8.45. This morning his throat was still sore but
not so red, and I saw that he gargled every half hour when he was awake.
This afternoon he seems brighter and asked for his harmonica, so his
throat is probably more comfortable."


Essentials of Medicine--Emerson, Chapters XVI, XVII.

The Human Mechanism--Hough and Sedgwick, Chapter XII.

Notes on Nursing--Florence Nightingale, Pages 105-136.

Why Worry?--Walton.

Those Nerves--Walton.

Tuberculosis: Its Cause, Cure, and Prevention--Otis.

Publications of the National Association for the Study and Prevention of
Tuberculosis--105 East 22d Street, New York City. (Pamphlets free on

Publications of the National Committee for Mental Hygiene--50 Union
Square, New York City. (Pamphlets free on request.)

Publications of the Mental Hygiene Committee of the State Charities Aid
Association--105 East 22d Street, New York City. (Pamphlets free on

Publications of The American Society for the Control of Cancer--25 West
45th Street, New York City. (Pamphlets free on request.)



Adequate care of the sick consists to a large extent in rendering their
physical and mental surroundings as favorable as possible. Obviously, a
sick person, since his strength is already depleted, needs not only to
have his resistance increased in all possible ways, but also to have all
his remaining strength conserved by eliminating every unnecessary tax
upon it. In sickness even slight fatigue, chill, or nervous strain,
insufficient ventilation, or improper feeding, may become factors of
immense importance. Nothing is trivial if it affects the welfare and
comfort of a patient.

Even when perfect provision for the care of the sick is out of the
question, every effort should be made to insure as satisfactory
arrangements as possible. Ideal conditions are seldom found except in
buildings originally planned for the sick; yet in many houses a few
simple changes will produce excellent results. Of course, it is not
necessary in every case to adopt all the following suggestions. Common
sense must be the guide. For instance, in illness that is slight and
likely to be of short duration, a patient may be more distressed than
benefited by radical changes in his surroundings. Except when certain
essentials are concerned, great consideration should be given to a
patient's preferences; yet on the other hand it is not reasonable to
make an entire family miserable in order to gratify some slight whim.

CHOICE OF A SICK ROOM.--A south or east exposure is generally best for a
sick room. A south room may be undesirable in very hot weather, but
sunshine during a part of the day is essential. The room should be
quiet, near the bath room, and well removed from odors from the kitchen.
It should be situated so that good ventilation is possible. It is
desirable though not necessary for it to have more than one window; in
summer the windows must be thoroughly screened. It should be possible to
open the window without exposing the patient to a direct current of air,
and to open the door without placing him in full view of all who pass
through the hall.

It is essential for the patient to have a room to himself. Unless he
needs care or help or watching at night, not even the person caring for
him should sleep in the room. Neither should the rest of the family
keep their possessions in the sick room. Closets opening into the room,
bureaus, and chiffoniers should be emptied of the belongings of other
members of the family, to prevent people from tiptoeing into the sick
room at all hours to remove garments. The sick room should for the time
belong exclusively to the patient, and resulting inconvenience should be
borne by well members of the family.

Every possible precaution should be taken to exclude from a sick room
unnecessary noises of all kinds; flapping curtains, squeaky doors and
rocking chairs, heels without rubber, creaking corsets, noisy
petticoats, ticking clocks, refractory bureau drawers, and rustling
newspapers are among the everyday sounds that irritate the nerves of
sick and well alike. Ordinary out-of-door noises do not usually disturb
the sick, except when the country patient is brought to the city, or the
reverse; but nearby and generally avoidable noise is the kind that
distracts and harasses nervous patients.

Whispering is an annoying sound and should not be allowed, either in the
patient's room or just outside the door. Whatever the subject of
conversation may be, the patient thinks that he is under discussion.
Anything undesirable for him to hear should be settled well out of his
hearing, and in speaking to him there is no possible objection to an
ordinary well modulated voice.

Usually a person's own room is more restful and less disturbing than a
strange place, but if it serves as a work room as well as a bed room, it
may easily be the worst place during sickness. The sight of a desk piled
high with papers or a basket overflowing with accumulations of family
mending may actually delay recovery; even the room itself may constantly
suggest work, and work necessarily left undone. The essential thing to
remember is that mental rest is no less important than physical, and
every effort should be made to secure them both.

FURNISHING.--Superfluous articles add to the care of a sick room, and in
consequence they should be removed at the outset. All the furnishings
that remain should be easy to clean, but it is not necessary for a sick
room to look bare and desolate.

The woodwork as in any other room should have a hard finish, and angles
and corners that harbor dust should be as few as possible. Hard wood
floors without cracks are best from the point of view of cleanliness and
convenience. A few light, washable rugs make the best floor covering,
but very small rugs on highly polished floors slide easily and are
decidedly dangerous. Carpets diminish noise, but are objectionable from
every other point of view.

In furnishing houses people ought to realize more frequently than they
do how greatly nervous fatigue may be increased by ill chosen wall
coverings. Plain papers or tinted walls are best for bed rooms and the
color should not be harsh or striking; soft gray, green, or buff is
good. The design is no less important than the color; a design that on
casual inspection appears quite harmless may become an instrument of
torture to a person unable to escape from it for a single hour. Weak or
nervous patients sometimes become quite exhausted from attempting to
follow an intricate pattern, or from counting over and over a design
that is frequently repeated on the wall. If the patient sees grotesque
faces and figures in the design the paper is more objectionable still.

Necessary furniture includes the bed, which will be discussed in detail
later, a small table to stand by the head of the bed, a dresser, two
chairs, and a wall thermometer. If the patient is able to sit up three
chairs are needed, of which one should be an armchair with a high back.
No rocking chair should be allowed in the room unless the patient
himself prefers to sit in one; no one else should be allowed to rock in
the room, since the motion is almost always annoying to patients.
Elaborate, carved, or upholstered furniture is unsuitable in a sick
room, but if it must be used it should have washable covers.

Other desirable articles of furniture are a couch, screen, foot-stool
and a second, larger table. In few cases, if any, is anything further
really necessary, although patients frequently desire special articles
to which there can be no objection.

Most ornaments add much work and little beauty, and have no place in a
sick-room. No heavy unwashable curtains or hangings should be allowed,
but simple washable curtains and clean white covers for the tables and
dresser are desirable. Pictures, if suitable, give much pleasure, but
must be used with discretion. It goes without saying that the subjects
should be pleasant, but not everyone realizes that complicated subjects
are undesirable and that pictures of people or things in motion should
be avoided; patients are sometimes worried to see motion that is forever

Flowers give great pleasure to the sick by adding color and variety and
interest to their surroundings. They should be carefully tended and
given fresh water daily. Fading flowers and forlorn plants should be
removed from the sick room, and those having strong, heavy odors should
not even be admitted. They do not need to be very many or very
expensive; indeed, a potted plant or a few cut flowers are often more
acceptable than the great masses of costly flowers that are daily
brought to the private wards of hospitals.

VENTILATION.--A patient needs fresh air certainly as much as a well
person, and probably even more. His room should be thoroughly ventilated
night and day. A fireplace makes the problem easier, but in most cases
an open window is the main dependence. It should be possible to open
windows at the top as well as at the bottom, and the patient may be
protected from a direct draught by a screen, or by a sheet stretched
along the side of the bed and fastened at the head and foot by tying it
around the posts.

Ventilating a room without subjecting the patient to draughts is not
always easy. One method is to insert a board three or four inches high
under the lower sash so that air is admitted between the two sashes.
Another way to ventilate without causing a draught is to remove one or
two panes of glass and tack cheese cloth over the opening; or to tack
cheese cloth to the lower edge of the upper window casing and to the
upper edge of the upper sash, after the sash has been lowered about a
foot. Once or twice a day the room should be thoroughly aired by opening
windows and doors until the air has been completely changed. The
patient, including his head, must be well-covered during the process.
An electric fan is useful in summer, but it should not be close enough
to the bed for the patient to feel air blowing upon him.

HEATING.--Great care should be taken to maintain a suitable temperature
in the sick-room, and for this purpose a thermometer in the room is a
necessity. Between 65° and 68° is generally the best temperature, and
hot water bags and extra covers may be given if the patient is chilly.
During a bath or other treatment in which the patient is more or less
exposed the temperature should be 70°. The temperature at night may be
lower; how low will depend largely on the patient's condition and on
what must be done for him during the night. Hot water, steam heat, or
electricity is best for the sick room. Gas or oil stoves should never be
used except in emergencies, and then for a short time only.

LIGHTING.--Sunlight is one of the most powerful disinfectants, and for
this reason if for no other it is needed in every sick room. Sunless
rooms, moreover, even if they were wholesome, are too depressing to a
patient's spirits for use except perhaps in hot summer days. Ordinary
well-regulated light is best in a sick room, and except in a few
diseases, especially those in which the eyes are affected, it is
undesirable to darken the room or to encourage in any way an appearance
of gloom. The patient's eyes, however, should be protected from bright
lights shining directly upon them; in this connection it is well to
remember that lights and their reflections strike differently upon the
eyes of a person lying down from the way in which they strike the eyes
of persons sitting or standing, and a light that seems agreeable to the
attendant may therefore be painful to the patient.

Almost all persons sleep best in dark rooms, and in most cases it is
undesirable for a sick room to be lighted at night. The attendant,
however, must be able to see what she is doing and generally needs a
shaded candle, small night light, or electric flash. It should be
possible to see the patient clearly in case of need, otherwise serious
changes in his condition occurring in the night may pass unnoticed.

A reading lamp on the bedside table is desirable for patients allowed to
read, but reading in bed even with a well-regulated light is fatiguing,
and should not be continued for long uninterrupted periods. A pocket
flash light is safer than matches and a candle for patients who wish to
consult their watches in the night; indeed, matches in the hands of
patients always involve risk. Some patients find twilight a time of
great depression. In such a case it had best be shortened by drawing
the shades early, turning on the lights, and remembering not to leave
him alone.

CLEANING.--The sick-room should be kept thoroughly clean at all times,
and the less dust stirred up in doing so the better. Dry sweeping or
dusting should not be allowed. Ordinary brooms should be dampened or
covered with damp cloths, and dust cloths should be dampened also; but
dustless mops and dusters are still better. Vacuum cleaning is very
desirable; the noise, which is its only disadvantage, is not a serious
objection in most cases. The cleaning of rooms after a communicable
disease will be considered later.

A sick room must be kept tidy as well as clean. The effect of order is
quieting, but it should be maintained whether the effect upon the
patient is apparent or not. Food and medicine should not be kept in the
sick-room, and all used dishes, tumblers, soiled linen, etc., should be
removed at once. Unnecessary articles should not be found in the room at
any time; every necessary article should be kept in its place, and its
place should be a good one.

Maintaining order in the room does not mean that patients should be made
uncomfortable. All patients, especially old people, want certain
possessions within reach, and their wishes should be considered in spite
of the fact that the æsthetic effect is generally far from good. For
instance, a perfectly smooth bed is undesirable if in order to make it
smooth the patient must be tucked in so tightly that he is
uncomfortable. And it would be a mistake to remove an old man's
newspapers before he has read them, even if he persists in strewing them
all over the floor.

THE ATTENDANT.--One person and one person only should carry the entire
responsibility for the patient. She should plan for him as well as care
for him, should see the doctor and take the doctor's orders. Confusion
and innumerable mistakes result when several members of the family
attempt to do the talking and directing.

The attendant should wear washable dresses with sleeves that can be
rolled up, washable aprons, and shoes with rubber heels. All her
clothing should be comfortable. She should be neat in appearance,
scrupulously clean in person, and should keep her finger nails short and
smooth. Jewelry, especially rings and chains that rattle, and finery of
any sort are all out of place in a sick-room.

The attendant must learn that her own sleep, her diet, and her
out-of-door exercise are essential to the patient's well-being hardly
less than to her own. An amateur nurse often considers that going
without food and sleep is a proof of her devotion. In a passion of
self-sacrifice she neglects herself utterly for the first few days, and
as a consequence is quite useless at a later period when her services
may be most needed. An exhausted, sleepy nurse, trained or untrained, is
wholly unfit to be trusted with medicines and doctor's orders, to note
changes in the patient's condition, or to give him kindly attention.
Efficiency and fatigue have never pulled together since the world began,
and no one can do good work when suffering from lack of sleep and rest.

The person, then, who genuinely wishes to give her patient the best
possible care should not make a martyr of herself. She should go out of
doors daily; both fresh air and occasional absence from the patient are
essential to her physical and mental well-being. Moreover, she will be
showing her patient the greatest kindness in the long run if during her
recreation time she thinks of him as little as possible. Indeed, she
need not consider herself inhuman if she has a thoroughly good time.

On the other hand, a person who is responsible for the care of a patient
must be made to realize that she and she only is ultimately responsible
during the entire 24 hours of every day. Being responsible for a patient
does not mean that she should be with him every minute, or do everything
herself: it does mean that she should plan so effectively that
everything necessary is done, either by herself or by another competent
person. When she goes away for even half an hour, she should appoint
someone else to be responsible in her place and to her when she comes
back. She must consequently make very clear just what she wants done. If
there is medicine, nourishment, or treatment to be given, she can easily
make a list, with the time for each, and ask that each item be crossed
off the list as soon as the work has been done. She should not forget to
ask for the list when she returns.

What is really needed is a little executive ability. As Florence
Nightingale said:

      "It is impossible in a book to teach a person in charge of
      the sick how to _manage_, as it is to teach her how to
      nurse. Circumstances must vary with each different case.
      But it is possible to press upon her to think for herself.
      Now what does happen during my absence? I am obliged to be
      away on Tuesday. But fresh air, or punctuality is not less
      important to my patient on Tuesday than it was on Monday.
      Or: At 10 p.m. I am never with my patient; but quiet is of
      no less consequence to him at 10 than it was at 5 minutes
      to 10. Curious as it may seem, this very obvious
      consideration occurs comparatively to few, or, if it does
      occur, it is only to cause the devoted friend or nurse to
      be absent fewer hours, or even fewer minutes from her
      patient--not to arrange so as that no minute and no hour
      shall be for her patient without the essentials of her
      nursing."--(Notes on Nursing.)

It is exceedingly difficult to care for members of one's own family or
to be cared for by them. Too much or too little is almost invariably
expected by one person or the other, and where great affection is
involved not only is the strain increased on both sides, but often harm
results from too great unselfishness on either side or both. But
sometimes the reverse is true, and then one should remember that normal
behavior may be impossible for the sick. During weakness and pain,
irritability and unreasonableness are as characteristic as other
symptoms, and it is as foolish to demand a normal mental state from a
sick person as it would be to demand a normal temperature. For a
cheerful, reasonable, and unselfish patient--and there are surprisingly
many--one should be devoutly thankful, but patience and pity should be
given no less to those whose tortured nerves cause suffering to others
as well as to themselves.

Every woman who cares for the sick should remember that she is the
patient's chief if not his only link with the normal world, and that his
plight is pitiful indeed if she is complaining or irritable or
unwilling. Anyone who cares for the sick should remember also that she
is necessarily in a most intimate relation with the patient, and that
such enforced intimacy calls for extra consideration on her part, and
for the most scrupulous respect for confidential matters. It is
inexcusable even for members of the patient's family to discuss with one
another the patient's private concerns, or his queer or unreasonable or
annoying ways. During sickness the skeletons in most people's mental
closets walk forth, and anyone who misuses special opportunities to know
intimate affairs can only be classed with eavesdroppers and village


1. What are the essentials of a good sick room as to:

  (_a_) Situation and exposure.
  (_b_) Lighting and heating.
  (_c_) Furnishing.
  (_d_) Ventilation.

2. How may a sick room be ventilated without exposing the patient to

3. How should the bed be placed in relation to doors, windows, and

4. How should a sick room be cleaned?

5. What in general are the duties of the attendant?

6. Make a plan of your own bedroom, and show what changes, if any, would
be desirable if it were to be used as a sick room.


Notes on Nursing--Florence Nightingale, Pages 1-63, 84-105.



The common saying that the best bed for an invalid is his own bed
contains an element of truth. Taking from a patient his own accustomed
bed, even when a better is substituted, sometimes disturbs him greatly
and makes him feel that he is indeed very ill. Nevertheless, a suitable
bed is essential to the proper care of a helpless person, and no patient
should continue to use an unsuitable one, unless his illness is slight
and also likely to be of very short duration.

Besides being comfortable, a bed suitable for the sick must be clean and
easy to keep in a sanitary condition. The springs should be firm, and
the mattress should be elastic and should give an even support without
lumps and hollows. The bed covers should be clean, light, and warm; the
pillows should be sufficient in number not only to make the head and
shoulders comfortable, but also any other part of the body in need of
support. Moreover, the bed should be so placed and of such a kind that
the work of caring for the patient may be rendered as easy for the
attendant as possible. In every household at least one bed suitable for
a sick person should be available in case of need.

BEDSTEADS.--Beds of white enameled iron, brass, or brass and iron
combined are most easily kept clean, and are the best in every way. The
frame should be strong enough to stand firmly, yet not so heavy that it
is hard to move. It should have as few angles as possible, and all its
joints should be smooth and well finished. The springs should be made of
wire stretched tightly on a metal frame that fits smoothly into the head
and foot pieces. Large castors should be used; they may be removed from
the foot if the bed moves too easily.

A bed to be used in sickness should have the following
dimensions--length, 6 ft. 6 in., height 24 to 26 inches, width, 36
inches. If a bed is either too high or too low the labor of lifting and
moving the patient is greatly increased. If the bed is too narrow the
patient is insecure. If the bed is too wide, its center is difficult or
impossible to reach without leaning or kneeling upon it; and if too
short, it will prove uncomfortable for a tall person. A bed that is too
low may be raised on four heavy boxes of the same height; or still
better, upon heavy wooden blocks which any carpenter can easily make,
and which are well worth a little trouble to obtain. In the top of each
block a hollow should be made into which the leg of the bed will fit
after the castor has been removed. A broad firm stool or a low chair may
be provided for a patient who has difficulty in getting in and out of a
high bed.

Beds with complicated attachments for moving patients are not
recommended for family use. They are expensive, likely to get out of
order, seldom needed, and generally unsatisfactory. In some surgical
cases a bed with a firm, flat surface is necessary. Such a surface may
be secured by placing between the mattress and springs two boards
slightly separated, or one wide board with holes bored in it to afford

Wooden beds are undesirable: they are difficult to keep clean, they
readily absorb moisture and odors, they cannot well be disinfected, and
their solid frames prevent a free circulation of air. Moreover, it is
almost impossible to render fit for use again a wooden bed into which
vermin have once made their way. Folding beds and lounges even of the
best type are unhygienic, usually too low for the patient's comfort, and
often insecure.

A bedstead should be wiped frequently with a damp cloth; if it is of
enameled iron it may be washed with soap and water. The springs may be
cleansed with a stiff brush dipped in kerosene oil. Excessive use of
water upon the springs is likely to make them rust.

MATTRESSES.--Various substances are used in the manufacture of
mattresses, but nothing has yet been found that is as satisfactory as
curled hair. It is light and clean and elastic, it does not readily
absorb odors, and it is easily renovated. Although hair is more costly
than other materials, a hair mattress may be used almost indefinitely if
it is occasionally made over.

Felt or cotton mattresses are firm, but heavy, difficult to keep clean,
and likely to absorb odors. A useful mattress made from straw is
sometimes found in country districts. Such a bed is thoroughly hygienic,
for the worn straw may be burned and the tick washed and refilled with
clean straw; but straw beds are generally hard and lumpy. The least
desirable of all mattresses is the old fashioned feather bed, and it
should never be used if a better can by any possibility be obtained; but
a feather bed should not be arbitrarily taken away from an old person
accustomed to its use, unless his welfare is really at stake.

A mattress made in two sections is unnecessary for a single bed; indeed,
a mattress made in one piece is more easily kept in place if the
patient is restless. A good quality of blue and white ticking makes a
serviceable cover for both mattress and pillows since its color is not
likely to run.

CARE OF THE MATTRESS.--A mattress should be brushed frequently with a
whisk broom, especially around the tufts and edges. If a patient is long
confined to bed, a fresh one should occasionally be substituted so that
the regular mattress may be removed, well brushed, beaten with a carpet
beater, and left exposed to the sun and air for a day or two. A mattress
that is badly soiled should be sent to a cleaner and made over; it
cannot be cleaned properly at home. It is generally possible to remove
blood stains, if they have not soaked through the ticking, by applying a
thick cream made from raw starch and cold water. When the starch becomes
dry it should be brushed away, and the application should be repeated
until the stain has disappeared. For the best results the starch should
be applied before the stain is dry.

PILLOWS.--One patient can use an almost unlimited number of feather
pillows. Some should be soft and others firm, some large and some small;
but pillows that are very large and thick are less useful than a greater
number of smaller ones. It is well to have several small pillows of
varying size and thickness to support different parts of the body.

Hair pillows are often acceptable in warm weather, and they are also
desirable for patients with high fever or excessive perspiration. Rubber
air pillows are a convenience in traveling and add much to the comfort
of a patient when he first goes out in a carriage or motor car, but air
pillows are not sufficiently durable for general use.

If a pillow tick becomes soiled, the feathers may be transferred to a
clean tick by making an opening about six inches long in the end of each
pillow, sewing the ticks together, and then shaking the feathers from
one tick to the other. The soiled tick can then be washed. If the
feathers themselves have become soiled they should be renovated by a
cleaner. Pillows, like mattresses, should be frequently brushed, sunned,
and aired. They should not be held in the mouth while a clean
pillow-case is adjusted.

PROTECTION OF THE MATTRESS AND PILLOWS.--In all cases of sickness the
mattress must be adequately protected. Neglect is inexcusable and may
cause expense and trouble as well as discomfort to the patient.

The following may be used to protect the mattress or pillows: large
quilted pads, small pads of cotton batting covered with old muslin or
cheese cloth, slip covers for the mattress, rubber sheets and
pillow-cases, old blankets and quilts that may be washed easily. Heavy
wrapping paper, builders' paper, and newspapers serve well in
emergencies, or for a short time.

RUBBER SHEETS AND PILLOW-CASES.--Soft rubber cloth, single or double
faced, is most frequently used when it is necessary to protect the bed
from discharges. It may be purchased by the yard. Rubber sheets should
not be used unless they are really necessary. They are hot and
uncomfortable, and increase the tendency to perspire. When used, a
rubber sheet should be 1 yard wide or wide enough to reach from the
lower edge of the pillows down to the patient's knees, and long enough
so that it can be tucked in securely on both sides of the bed. Rubber
sheets may be cleaned by laying them on a flat surface and washing on
both sides with soap and water, using a small brush if necessary. After
rinsing they should be wiped, and when thoroughly dry they should be
rolled rather than folded, to prevent the rubber from breaking.

Rubber pillow-cases are used for a patient who perspires profusely, or
who has a discharge of any kind from the head or neck, and also when
substances which may wet or stain the pillow are applied to the head.
They should be put on next to the pillow, securely fastened with tapes,
snap hooks, or buttons, and covered with the regular pillow slip.

Rubber sheets and pillow-cases are not durable. They should be used
carefully, and frequently examined for holes or worn places by holding
them up to the light. Even a pin hole near the center may render a
rubber sheet or pillow-case as useless as a sieve.

SHEETS.--Sheets of ample proportions are necessary for comfort, and
important for sanitary reasons as well. For a bed of the dimensions
mentioned in this lesson sheets should be three yards long, and two
yards wide. A safe rule for any bed is to have the sheets one yard
longer and one yard wider than the mattress. A sheet of these dimensions
is large enough to be tucked under the sides and foot of the mattress,
while at least twelve inches are left to fold over the blankets at the
top. Cotton sheets are as good as linen for general use, or even better,
and are far less expensive.

DRAW SHEETS are used to cover rubber sheets, and to protect beds when
the rubbers are not used. In hospitals special draw sheets are usually
provided, but an ordinary sheet folded answers every purpose. New and
expensive sheets should not be used for draw sheets, since they are
more likely than other sheets to become stained. Draw sheets should be
wide enough to extend about four inches beyond the rubber sheet at the
top and bottom.

PILLOW COVERS.--Pillow covers are generally made of cotton, but persons
who can afford the cost frequently prefer linen, especially in hot
weather. Unless fastened with buttons or tapes, a pillow case should be
several inches longer than its pillow. It should be wide enough to slip
on easily, but not so wide that it wrinkles or allows the pillow to
turn. If it is too small the pillow will become hard and uncomfortable.
These small things, unimportant as they are to the well, may cause much
discomfort to a restless or nervous patient.

BLANKETS.--All wool blankets are both light and warm, and are
consequently the most comfortable bed covering. But unless they can be
dry cleaned frequently, it is better to select blankets made from one
part wool and two parts cotton. Blankets containing equal parts of wool
and cotton are warmer, but are more injured by washing. Very light
blankets of wool or outing flannel are useful in summer. Double blankets
should always be cut in two and bound at the ends, since single blankets
are easier than double blankets to handle and wash. Patients are
frequently too warmly covered by day. Too much warmth is enervating, it
causes the patient to perspire, and makes him restless and more
susceptible to draughts and to changes of temperature. Two light
blankets are warmer and more comfortable than one heavy blanket.

COMFORTERS AND QUILTS.--Heavy cotton comforters are burdensome without
being correspondingly warm. Eiderdown quilts or those padded with wool
are good for a patient who sleeps out of doors, or whose room is kept at
a low temperature. Bed covers that cannot be laundered readily should be
protected by basting on both sides of the top a wide piece of muslin or
linen, which can be removed and washed.

COUNTERPANES.--White dimity counterpanes are desirable, since they are
light in weight, easily laundered, and inexpensive. A heavy counterpane
is uncomfortable at any time, and still more uncomfortable in sickness.
If a light spread is not available, a sheet makes a good substitute. A
counterpane should be wide enough to cover the sheets and blankets at
the sides when the bed is open, and long enough to protect the bedding
at the top and bottom.


All methods of making beds for the sick are based upon a few underlying
principles. The aim in every case is to obtain the following results
with the least expenditure of time and labor: first, to secure comfort
for the patient, and to eliminate all causes of friction, irritation, or
pressure upon his skin; next to keep the covers firmly in place, so
that the bed will not easily become disarranged; then to protect the
mattress, and last, to secure as good an appearance as possible.

[Illustration: FIG. 12.--THE DRAW SHEET IN PLACE. (_From "Elementary
Nursing Procedures," California State Board of Health._)]

TO MAKE AN UNOCCUPIED BED, proceed as follows: remove the pillows and
covers one at a time, and place them on chairs, near an open window if
possible. Brush the mattress and then set it up on its ends to air, or
turn it back over the foot board. Wipe the bedstead with a damp cloth.
Replace the mattress after it has aired, turning it from side to side
and from end to end on alternate days. Cover the mattress, unless it is
enclosed in a slip cover, with a white quilted pad or an old blanket,
and then spread the lower sheet over the mattress, so that the middle
fold of the sheet lies upon the center of the mattress in a straight
line from the head of the bed to the foot. Tuck the sheet under, first
at the top and then at the bottom, drawing it so that it is firm and
tight. If the sheet is of proper length tuck fourteen or sixteen inches
under at the top, but take care to cover the mattress at the foot also.
Next tuck the sheet under at the side, folding its corners to make a
neat finish like an envelope. Place the rubber sheet, if it must be
used, across the bed, with its upper edge where the lower edge of the
pillows will come. A draw sheet somewhat wider than the rubber sheet is
needed next; an ordinary sheet, folded once the long way of the sheet,
may be used, with the fold toward the head of the bed. Tuck both rubber
and draw sheet securely under the mattress at the side. In some cases
the rubber sheet may be placed next to the mattress, and covered by the
mattress pad and lower sheet. Place the draw sheet as directed, whether
the rubber is used or not. After the lower, rubber, and draw sheets have
been adjusted on one side of the bed, go to the opposite side, draw them
over smoothly, and tuck them under the mattress as tightly as possible.

Next spread the upper sheet over the bed so that its upper edge reaches
to the upper edge of the mattress, and its middle crease lies over the
middle line of the mattress, and place it right side down, so that the
smooth side of the hem will be uppermost when the sheet is turned over
the blankets. Place the blankets so that their upper edges lie a little
higher than the place where the lower edge of the pillow will come, and
tuck them in firmly at the bottom and sides. If the blankets are not
long enough to tuck in at the foot, place the lower blanket as directed
and the upper blanket five or six inches lower than the first. When
tucked in, the upper blanket holds the lower one in place fairly well.
Place the counterpane evenly and smoothly, tuck it under at the foot,
turn its corners neatly, turn its upper edge under the upper edge of the
blankets and fold the upper sheet down over the whole. Last of all,
shake the pillows and place them neatly on the bed.

[Illustration: FIG. 13.--THE CLOSED BED. (_From "Elementary Nursing
Procedures," California State Board of Health._)]

Practice is necessary before it is possible to make a bed quickly and
well, and a certain amount of proficiency in making an unoccupied bed
should be acquired before undertaking to make a bed with a patient in
it. One should learn to work in an orderly way, without confusion,
unnecessary motion, or jarring of the bed.

TO CHANGE A PATIENT'S PILLOWS.--Stand preferably on the right side of
the bed and slip the left arm under the patient's shoulders, supporting
his head in the hollow of the arm. Raise him slightly and remove the
pillows one at a time with the right hand, drawing them outward on the
left side of the bed. Place a small pillow under his head. Shake the
pillows, change the cases if necessary, and replace them on the left
side of the bed, ready to be drawn back into position. Raise the patient
as before, remove the small pillow and draw the others into place. It is
sometimes better to hold the patient on the upper pillow while removing
and replacing the under one.

LIFTING A PATIENT IN BED.--Patients tend to slip down toward the foot of
the bed, and they should be raised if unable to help themselves. To
raise the patient, instruct him to flex his knees and to press his feet
firmly upon the bed; place one arm under his shoulders, as when
changing pillows, the other arm under the thighs, and lift him upward
without jerking. The lifting can be done more easily by two people, and
with less discomfort to the patient: if he is entirely helpless two
people are necessary. Two people should proceed as follows: Let _A_
place her left arm under the patient's head and shoulders as before, her
right arm under the small of his back; let _B_ place her right arm also
under the small of his back and her left arm under his thighs, and at a
signal let them lift together. In this way the weight is so evenly
distributed that a heavy person can be lifted without great difficulty.

TO TURN A PATIENT IN BED.--A patient may be turned toward or away from
you. In turning a patient toward you, place one hand over his farther
shoulder and the other over his hip, and turn him toward you. Then flex
his knees slightly. To turn a patient from you, pass one hand as far as
possible under the shoulders, and the other as far as possible under the
thighs. Then raising the patient slightly, draw him back toward you,
turning him at the same time, and then flex the knees. Lastly place a
pillow firmly against his back to support it.

First collect the fresh linen and place it conveniently near the bed.
Then draw the bedclothes from beneath the mattress, raising the mattress
meanwhile with one hand to prevent jarring the bed. Remove first the
spread and then the upper blanket if there are two, fold each once and
place it on a chair. Hold the remaining blanket in place with one hand,
while with the other you draw the upper sheet out from under it; then
fold the edges of the blanket up over the patient to keep them out of
the way. The upper sheet, unless soiled, may be folded once and used
again as a draw sheet. Next remove all the pillows, unless the patient
prefers to keep one. Then move the patient toward one side of the bed
and turn him on his side so that he faces the edge nearest him. Roll the
draw sheet and rubber sheet together if both are to be removed, or
separately if the rubber sheet is to remain on the bed; then roll the
bottom sheet throughout its entire length, and bring the three sheets,
all rolled as flat and as tightly as possible, close to the patient's
back. Pleat about half of the fresh lower sheet lengthwise and place the
pleated portion as close as possible to the rolled soiled sheets. Tuck
in the other half of the fresh sheet at the top, bottom and side, draw
the rubber sheet if it is to be replaced back over the fresh lower
sheet, arrange the fresh draw sheet in place, tuck it in at the side,
and roll its free portion close to the patient's back. The fresh side of
the bed is then ready for the patient. Lift his feet back over the
rolled sheets keeping his knees flexed, then turn him back over the
rolled sheets on to the fresh smooth part, remove the soiled sheets and
arrange the fresh ones in place on the side where the patient has just
been lying. Be careful to keep him well covered with the blanket. After
the lower sheets are in place and firmly tucked in, spread above the
blanket the fresh upper sheet, and over the sheet spread the second
blanket. Hold the sheet and blanket in place with one hand while using
the other hand to draw out the first blanket from beneath the sheet. In
this way the patient is constantly covered by a blanket. Place the
blanket just removed above the other and finish the bed according to the
directions given for an unoccupied bed, using special care, however not
to draw the covers too tightly over the patient's feet.

[Illustration: FIG. 14.--CHANGING THE DRAW SHEET. (_From Pope "Home Care
of the Sick," American School of Home Economics, Chicago._)]

TO MOVE A PATIENT FROM ONE BED TO ANOTHER.--On the fresh bed have the
lower sheets in place but not the upper covers. Place the two beds close
together side by side, and draw one mattress a little over the place
where the two sides meet. Loosen the draw sheet under the patient, roll
it on both sides close to the body and draw him gently over by means of
this sheet, moving his shoulders at the same time. If the beds are
unequal in height, use firm pillows or folded blankets to make an
inclined plane.

(_From Pope "Home Care of the Sick," American School of Home Economics,

If the beds differ greatly in height and indeed in most cases, it is
better to carry the patient from one bed to the other. At least two
people are needed; one alone should never attempt to carry anyone
heavier than a small child. One method for lifting is as follows: Let
two bearers, _A_ and _B_ stand on the same side of the bed. If the
patient is to be moved into the right side of the fresh bed let both
bearers stand on the right side of the occupied bed; if he is to go into
the left side of the fresh bed, let them both stand on the left side of
the occupied bed. Let _A_ place one arm under the patient's shoulders
and her other under the small of his back, while _B_ places one arm
under his hips and the other just below his knees. Draw the patient to
the edge of the bed, instruct him to place his arms about the shoulders
of _A_ and to hold the body rigid, and then lift together at a given
signal, keeping his weight well up on the chests of the bearers.

Whenever a patient must be turned, lifted, carried, or moved in any way,
let him know beforehand just what you intend to do so that he may not be
startled, and also that he may coöperate if possible. Grasp him firmly
but gently, avoid pinching the skin, and move him steadily and
smoothly, avoiding jerks and false starts. Do not attempt alone more
than your strength is amply sufficient to accomplish, and endeavor at
all times to handle the sick with the utmost gentleness and


1. Describe a bedstead and mattress suitable for a sick person's use,
and tell why they are to be preferred.

2. How should the bedstead be cared for? the mattress? the pillows?

3. How should a mattress and pillows be protected?

4. Describe in detail the bed covers that are desirable for use in

5. Name the results that a good method of bedmaking aims to secure.

6. Describe the method of making an unoccupied bed.

7. How should one change the pillows of a helpless patient?

8. Describe the way in which you would lift and turn a patient in bed.

9. Describe the method of changing sheets and remaking a bed while the
patient is in it.

10. Why are beds and bedmaking considered so important in the care of
the sick?


Notes on Nursing--Florence Nightingale, Pages 79-84.



Bathing is necessary in sickness no less than in health. It stimulates
and equalizes the circulation, is soothing in feverish conditions, is
refreshing to most people, and by affording a certain amount of exercise
it lessens the fatigue of lying in bed. Moreover, without frequent
bathing it is impossible to keep the skin in good condition, since
scales of dead skin, oily matter, and solid substances left by
perspiration collect on the surface of the body when a person is lying
still in bed as well as when he is leading an active life. The common
belief that sick people are likely to catch cold from bathing is quite
unfounded; every patient, unless his condition is such that the doctor
orders otherwise, should have one complete cleansing bath each day. In
addition to the regular cleansing bath other kinds are often prescribed
as medical treatment.


A _tub bath_ if allowed by a patient's condition, is the most
satisfactory kind, but special precautions must be taken to guard her
from fatigue and chill. The bath room and everything to be used should
be made ready before she leaves her bed. Necessary clothing and toilet
articles should be collected and arranged conveniently, a chair covered
with a blanket and also a bath mat should be placed beside the tub, and
the temperature of the bath room should be regulated so that it is about
70° F., or a little lower if the room is likely to become overheated as
the bath proceeds. The bath water should be drawn last. Its temperature,
tested by a thermometer, should be between 96° and 100° at the
beginning, and may be increased if desirable.

If the patient is weak, wash and dry her face, neck, and ears, and if
necessary cut the finger and toe nails before she leaves the bed, in any
case before she enters the tub. As soon as the patient has left the bed,
strip it and leave it to air; then assist her into the bath room and
help her carefully into the tub. Do not allow her to stay in the water
more than ten minutes at most, and stop the bath at once if she shows
the slightest sign of faintness, dizziness, exhaustion, difficult
breathing, marked change of color, or other unusual symptom. Indeed, if
the patient is weak or her reaction to the bath uncertain, as when she
takes her first tub bath after an illness, someone should always be
within call to help the attendant in case of need. A faint, heavy
patient in a bath tub is an impossible load for one person to handle.

While the patient is in the tub, soap her well, brush her finger and toe
nails, rinse, and rub her to stimulate the circulation. Then help her
from the tub, seat her in the chair, draw the blanket closely about her
from neck to feet, dry her with warm towels, exposing the body as little
as possible, and, if she is to return to bed, put on a fresh night gown,
and wrapper and slippers. Next place the lower sheet, the draw sheet,
and one pillow on the bed as quickly as possible, help the patient into
bed, keeping her well covered with a blanket, and finish making the bed.
If she seems chilly, give a hot water bag and hot drink and leave the
blanket next her in place. After the patient has been made comfortable,
clean the tub and put the bath room in order.

Even patients supposedly able to take tub baths without assistance
should not lock the bath room door nor be left alone a long time.

BED BATH.--Practice is essential in order to give a bed bath skillfully.
The aim is to make the patient thoroughly clean and thoroughly dry,
without chilling, fatiguing, or exposing her, without making the bed
damp, and without unnecessary haste or delay. One method of giving a
bed bath follows, but any method that accomplishes these aims is likely
to be satisfactory.

First see that the room is about 70° F. and likely to remain so, and
exclude draughts. Collect everything to be used, including a blanket to
cover the patient, an old blanket or large bath towel to protect the
bed, at least two other towels, one a bath towel and the other a face
towel, two wash cloths, soap, nail brush, powder, alcohol, comb and
brush, nail file, scissors, etc.; fresh bed and personal linen; a large
basin containing water at 105°, a jug of hotter water, and a slop jar.
Remove the upper bed clothes except one blanket, which should cover the
patient constantly during the bath, and spread them where they will air;
remove all the pillows but one, and place the bath blanket under the
patient as the under sheet is placed in bed making. If a bath blanket is
not used, keep the bath towel under the part that is being bathed by
moving the towel from place to place.

Next remove the night gown in the following way: Let the patient lie on
her back, with her knees flexed; draw the gown up as far as possible,
then raise or get her to raise her hips so that the gown may be drawn up
above the waist. Next raise her head and shoulders with one arm and draw
the night gown up to the neck with the other; remove one sleeve, draw
the gown over the head and then off the other arm.

[Illustration: FIG. 16.--WASHING A PATIENT WITHOUT EXPOSURE. (_Sanders
"Modern Methods in Nursing."_)]

The patient is now ready for the bath. Wet the wash cloth thoroughly,
but hold it gathered in the hand so that it will not drip. Wash the
face, neck, and ears first, dry them thoroughly, and next, using the
second wash cloth, wash the arms and hands, chest and abdomen, giving
particular attention to the armpits and navel. Raise the blanket
slightly with one hand to keep it from becoming damp, but expose the
patient as little as possible; the arms and legs need not remain covered
while being washed. Dry each part thoroughly before washing the next.
Next turn the patient on her side and wash the back, the buttocks, and
upper part of the thighs; give special attention to the fold between the
buttocks. Then turn the patient on her back, and wash the thighs, legs,
and feet. If it is important to move the patient as little as possible,
leave the back until last so that the under sheet may be changed without
turning her again. Cut the toe nails if necessary before washing, and
clean them carefully afterward. Unless there is a reason to the
contrary, wash the hands and the feet in the basin, first protecting the
bed with a towel, newspaper, or clean wrapping paper. Be sure to clean
well between the toes, and to dry the feet thoroughly; they may need
some friction. Throughout the bath empty and refill the basin as

Wash the genital region last. Let the patient lie upon her back with
knees flexed and separated, or upon one side with the knees flexed and
one slightly raised. Patients who are able may take this part of the
bath themselves with whatever assistance may be necessary. The
attendant, however, must either do it herself or make sure that the
patient does it thoroughly. To neglect a helpless patient is always
unkind, and no less unkind when the motive is a mistaken sense of
modesty. If discharge from the genitals is present use absorbent cotton,
or clean, soft old cloth to wash the parts, and burn it afterward. It is
sometimes desirable to place the patient on a bedpan and rinse the parts
by a gentle stream of warm water poured from a jug. After the attendant
has completed this part of the bath she should wash her own hands

After the bath rub the patient with alcohol. If a complete alcohol rub
is impossible, at least rub the points where pressure comes, especially
the back. After the rub apply a little toilet powder if the patient
desires it. When the toilet is complete remove the bath blanket, remake
the bed and put the room in order.

CARE OF THE MOUTH AND TEETH.--In sickness the mouth and teeth require
more than ordinary attention; indeed, the condition of a patient's mouth
is a fair index to the quality of the care she is receiving. If the
patient can brush her own teeth she should do so in the morning, at
night, and after meals. At those times the attendant, without waiting to
be asked, should bring her a towel, tooth-brush, cup of tepid water,
tooth paste or powder, and a small basin or dish to receive the used
water. The process is generally more thorough when the patient does it
herself, and even a patient unable to sit up can brush her teeth
successfully if the nurse holds the powder and cup of water, and
provides a basin shallow enough for the patient to use by turning her
head to one side.

TEETH. (_From "Elementary Nursing Procedures," California State Board of

The attendant must cleanse the mouth of a patient who is unable to do it
herself. If this cleansing is neglected, a dark tenacious substance
collects upon the teeth and gums, composed chiefly of food particles,
bacteria, mouth secretions, and worn out cells of the mucous membrane.
Once formed it is difficult to remove, hence the mouths of all patients
and especially those who have fever, must receive proper care from the
very beginning of illness. Cotton swabs are convenient for cleansing the
mouth; they are made by winding a small piece of absorbent cotton upon a
match or wooden tooth-pick.

To cleanse the mouth of a helpless patient, take to the bedside the
mouth wash prescribed by the doctor, a towel to protect the bedclothes,
several swabs, and a receptacle for used swabs; the latter should be a
strong paper bag or several thicknesses of newspaper. Clean the tongue,
gums, teeth, and spaces between the teeth gently but thoroughly, using
especial care if the gums are tender. Dip only clean swabs in the
solution, discard each one after using it once, and burn it afterward.
Let the patient rinse her mouth after cleansing it if she is strong
enough. If the mouth is very dry, encourage her to drink more water.
Notify the doctor if the gums and tongue crack or bleed since he may
wish to order a special mouth wash. Cold cream or boracic ointment may
be used if the lips are dry and cracked.

False teeth should be thoroughly brushed and cleansed, and kept in cold
water if taken out during the night.

CARE OF THE HAIR.--Long hair, if neglected, becomes tangled and matted
in a surprisingly short time. Unless the patient is actually in a dying
condition she is not too sick to have it properly attended to at least
once a day. Before combing the hair protect the pillow with a towel;
then part the hair in the middle from the forehead to the nape of the
neck, and draw it to either side. Begin to comb at the ends, holding the
strand of hair firmly in one hand placed between the head and the comb;
in this way tangles can be removed without hurting. After combing and
brushing the hair, braid it in two braids, beginning near the ears; draw
it as tightly or loosely near the head as the patient prefers, but
remember that tight braids mean fewer tangles. If the hair is heavy or
badly tangled the patient may be too much fatigued to have it all combed
at one time; in this case braid the part that has been finished and
complete the work later.

TO WASH THE HAIR OF A BED PATIENT.--The hair of a patient can be
successfully washed in bed if sufficient care is taken not to chill or
tire the patient, or to wet the bed. The following articles are needed:
one small jug of strong soap suds made by dissolving a pure soap in hot
water, one large jug of hot water at about 112° F., one jug of cold
water, a slop jar or foot tub, one long rubber sheet or piece of enamel
cloth, and several towels including at least one bath towel. Let the
patient lie as near the edge of the bed as possible. Roll one small
towel lengthwise, place it below the hair at the back of the neck, bring
it up above the ears to the forehead and pin tightly, in order to catch
water that might wet the face and neck. Next make a kind of trough of
the large rubber by rolling its long edges inward for a few inches.
Place this across the bed under the patient's head so that her neck
rests on the lower roll. Raise by means of pillows the end of the rubber
trough that lies toward the middle of the bed, in order to prevent water
from running into the bed or collecting under the patient's head. Let
the other end of the rubber extend over the edge of the bed down into
the slop jar or foot tub, which may be placed on a chair or stool. Then
wash the hair and scalp with the soap solution, and rinse them
thoroughly with water from the large jug. Squeeze as much water as
possible from the hair, remove the rubber and substitute a heavy bath
towel, and rub and fan the hair until dry. A shampoo in bed is tiring.
Do not attempt it unless the patient is strong enough to stand not only
the shampoo itself, but also a complete change of bed clothing, which
will almost certainly be necessary if the attendant has been careless or
clumsy in the slightest degree.

HOT FOOT BATHS properly speaking are medical treatment, but they are
taken by many persons to relieve colds, headache, or insomnia. Let the
patient sit, well wrapped, with her feet in water at about 105°, and
then increase the temperature gradually by adding hotter water. Take
care to add hot water slowly and not to pour it directly upon the
patient's feet or ankles; otherwise she may be scalded. Mustard may be
added to the bath water in the proportion of one tablespoonful of
mustard to each gallon of water. If mustard is to be used make it into a
smooth paste with cold water, thin the paste with warm water, and when
thin enough to pour easily add it to the bath water and stir well. The
bath may continue for 10 to 20 minutes, and the feet should be dried
afterward without friction. The patient should go to bed at once; she
should not wander about, clearing away her foot bath, doing forgotten
things, getting herself chilled, and losing all the good effects.

A foot bath may be given easily to a patient in bed. Bring to the
bedside a blanket, a towel, the tub filled with water, and something
with which to protect the bed; this may be a rubber sheet, bath towel,
old blanket folded, or several thick clean newspapers. Loosen the upper
covers at the foot of the bed, fold them back above the patient's knees,
and cover her legs and feet with the extra blanket making it overlap the
bed clothing so that it will not slip. Flex the patient's knees, put the
bed protector under her feet, place the tub on the side of the bed,
raise the legs and feet with one hand and arm, and slide the tub into
place with the other, raising the elbow in such a way that it keeps the
blanket out of the water. Lower the feet slowly into the water, fold the
towel, and place it over the edge of the tub in order to protect the
patient's knees from the cold rim; then tuck the blanket closely about
the tub and legs and proceed as before. After the bath use the towel,
unless it is wet, to receive the feet when they are withdrawn from the
tub. Remove the tub, dry the feet thoroughly, cover them warmly, and
remake the bed.

COOL SPONGE BATH.--For feverish patients doctors often order cool sponge
baths. In order to give a cool sponge bath, first protect the bed
thoroughly, but leave the patient uncovered except for a towel laid over
the hips. Use cool water, or cool water and alcohol, and have the wash
cloth as wet as it can be without dripping. Bathe the body without
friction, using long, light strokes, and leave each part wet until the
bath has been completed. Do not use soap. Sponge in this way the arms,
legs, chest, and back, but not the abdomen, for ten to twenty minutes,
giving special attention to the neck and inner side of the arms and
legs, because in those places large blood vessels lie nearer the surface
of the body. After finishing the bath dry the body by patting it gently
with towels.

Take the patient's pulse occasionally during the bath, and stop the bath
at once if the patient's pulse grows weaker, if she shivers violently,
or if her face, fingers, or toes turn a bluish color. Babies react
rapidly to cool sponging; for a baby use tepid water, sponge for five
minutes only, and watch the child closely during the bath.


1. What may a bath be expected to accomplish in addition to cleansing?

2. In giving a tub bath, what precautions should be taken to avoid
chilling the patient? to avoid tiring the patient?

3. What symptoms would lead you to think that a tub bath was not
agreeing with a patient? What should you do in such a case?

4. Name six essentials of a skillfully given bed bath.

5. What preparations should be made and what articles assembled before
beginning a bed bath?

6. Describe the method of bathing a patient in bed.

7. What care should the mouth and teeth of every sick person receive?
How should such care be given to a patient who is helpless?

8. Describe the daily care of a patient's hair, and tell how a shampoo
may be given to a patient in bed.

9. How should you give a mustard foot bath to a patient in bed?

10. When and how should you give a cool sponge bath?


The Human Mechanism--Hough and Sedgwick, Chapter XI.



Patients who are confined to bed even for a few days often suffer
acutely from muscular tension, from pressure, and from fatigue due to
lack of exercise. Indeed, many a sick person is surprised to find that
the bed which had seemed so infinitely desirable can change into a place
of torment after a few short days of illness. "Bed-weariness" is hard to
bear in any case of illness, but it is doubly hard for persons who are
really helpless.

Unless the patient is an experienced sufferer he often has no idea what
should be done to make him comfortable; while an equally inexperienced
helper, though full of good will, is often discouraged to find that the
arrangement she had thought perfect soon fails to satisfy her restless
patient. But if she is willing to devote thought and ingenuity to
removing small annoyances, she can do many things to alleviate his

BED SORES, or pressure sores, are caused by continued pressure upon the
skin. The weight of the body, or of a part of the body, if it comes for
a long time upon one place finally interferes with the circulation in
the tissues on which the part rests, and consequently interferes with
the nutrition of the affected part. Any tissue to which the blood is not
bringing all its necessary food supply tends to lose its tone, to become
weak, and if the condition persists, to break down altogether.

The direct cause of bed sores then is pressure, and pressure is
aggravated by moisture, wrinkles in the bed clothes, crumbs or other
hard particles, lack of cleanliness, friction of any kind, or by rough,
careless handling. Bed sores occur most often over bony prominences,
such as the end of the spine, elbows, heels, shoulders, hips, ankles,
and knees, but they may form anywhere, even on the ears or back of the
head. They are more likely to appear on thin, aged, or depleted
patients. These painful and serious sores can be prevented almost always
by faithful care. When they occur, they result in the great majority of
cases purely from negligence, and a person who knows the danger and yet
through carelessness allows one to develop upon a patient may justly
feel herself disgraced.

Prevention of bed sores depends upon keeping the skin dry and clean and
upon relieving pressure by special devices and by turning the patient
frequently. The parts where pressure comes should be washed at least
twice daily with warm water and soap, rubbed frequently with alcohol to
improve the circulation and to keep up the tone of the skin, and
powdered with a little good toilet powder. Much powder is likely to do
harm by collecting in hard, irritating particles. The bed should be kept
constantly dry and smooth, and free from crumbs, lumps, wrinkles, or
other inequalities. Prolonged pressure should be relieved by turning the
patient often,--once every waking hour is not too often if the body is
emaciated,--and by pillows, pads, and rings.

Small pillows or thick pads of cotton should be placed under the
patient's back and shoulders, between the knees and ankles when he lies
on his side, and in other places where sores are likely to develop.
Rubber rings are useful, but few patients like them for a long time.
They should not be inflated more than necessary to raise the affected
part from the bed; if much inflated, they are uncomfortable and may do
harm. The ring may be covered with a muslin pillow case, or it may be
wound smoothly with long strips of bandage or old muslin. Ordinary
cotton batting wound with strips of muslin may be made into rings and
used to remove pressure from heels, elbows, or other parts. These cotton
rings are less heating than pads, and give better support.

The first sign of a bed sore is either redness of the skin or a dark
discoloration like a bruise. Every point where a bed sore may form
should be inspected daily. If the slightest symptom of a sore appears,
the patient must not lie on the affected part, and every effort should
be made to keep the skin from breaking; vigorous rubbing at this stage
is dangerous, and will by no means make up for previous neglect. The
condition should be reported to the doctor at once. If in spite of all
efforts the skin does break, a peculiarly difficult kind of open wound
results which must be treated and dressed according to the doctor's

DEVICES TO GIVE SUPPORT.--The variety and number of pillows one patient
can use is almost unlimited. A weak patient when lying on his side
should have his back supported by a pillow. When he lies on his back a
pillow should be placed under his knees to lessen muscular tension, and
if he may be raised in bed, several pillows are needed to support him
comfortably. A back rest is useful for a patient who can sit up in bed.
Satisfactory back rests of several types can be purchased, or one may be
improvised from a straight chair placed on the bed bottom side up, so
that its legs lie against the head of the bed and its back forms an
inclined plane. Back rest and chair alike should be covered by several
pillows to make them comfortable, and other pillows should be used to
support the patient's arms.

A person who is sitting up in bed always tends to slip down toward the
foot. This tendency may be corrected by using a foot rest, knee pad, or
pillow. A hard pillow may be placed in the bed at the foot for the
patient to brace his feet against; or a short board, well padded, may be
arranged as follows for the feet to rest against: Fasten ropes to the
board, as the ropes of a swing are fastened to the seat; set the padded
board on edge at a convenient point below the patient's feet, and hold
it in place by tying the ropes of the "swing" to the head of the bed. A
pillow may be used in the same way, either at the feet or under the
knees, by folding it over a long strip of muslin, the ends of which are
then tied to the sides of the bed, brought up to the head, and there
tied to prevent slipping. A cylindrical cushion six or eight inches in
diameter and as long as an ordinary pillow, stuffed with firm material,
may also be used for this purpose. It should be held in place by strips
of strong muslin or ticking sewed to the ends of the cushion and tied to
the head of the bed. The cushion should have a washable cover.

THE UPRIGHT POSITION. (_Sanders "Modern Methods in Nursing."_)]

Supports called _bed cradles_ are used to keep the weight of the bed
covers from sensitive parts of the body, generally the feet or abdomen.
They are semi-circular pieces of wood or iron fastened together so that
they will stand up. A satisfactory cradle may be improvised as follows:
Cut a barrel hoop in two, cross the halves at right angles and tie them
together firmly; place the cradle over the affected part under the bed
clothes. A smaller cradle may be made by taking sections that are less
than half of the barrel hoop. If used for one foot only, the cradle
should be small enough not to interfere with the motion of the other
foot; if used for both feet, it should be large enough to allow some
freedom of motion. Since the cradle leaves an air space, the feet should
be wrapped in a piece of soft flannel. A cradle used for the protection
of the abdomen should extend a little beyond the body on each side.

[Illustration: FIG. 19.--ADJUSTABLE BED REST.]

Adjustable tables are convenient for patients who are able to sit up in
bed. These tables are supported on one side only so that they may extend
over the bed. Another kind of bedside table has short legs and stands
directly on the bed. Such a table can easily be made at home from a wide
board with supports six or eight inches high nailed to each end. A lap
board supported by heavy books may serve for temporary use. Indeed,
home-made substitutes are often as good as expensive apparatus or even
better. If sick-room appliances must be bought, it is well to remember
that simple standard designs are best. Complicated apparatus is soon out
of order, and is generally a trial both to the patient and to those who
must adjust it. Persons taking care of chronic patients may often obtain
valuable suggestions in regard to appliances by consulting a visiting
nurse or the superintendent of the local hospital.

[Illustration: FIG. 20.--ADJUSTABLE TABLE.]

BEDPANS are utensils to receive bowel and bladder discharges of patients
lying in bed. Enamel bedpans are better than porcelain, although more
expensive. The shape known as the "Perfection" is best for general use.
A "slipper" bedpan, although harder to clean and ordinarily less
comfortable, may be preferable if it is especially difficult or
undesirable to raise the patient. The square or douche pan is preferred
by some people, and is especially useful when the quantity of discharge
is large, as after an injection.

When a patient asks for the bedpan it should be brought if possible
without a moment's delay, not only because no other form of neglect
makes a patient realize her helplessness more acutely, but also because
the desire to use it often passes quickly and delay may encourage the
habit of constipation. If the patient does not ask for the bedpan, the
attendant should offer it at suitable times. Bedpans should be warmed
before use. An easy way to warm one is to let hot water run over it; the
outside should afterward be dried.

To place the bedpan, first flex the patient's knees and push the night
gown up; place one hand under the patient's hips, raise them slightly,
and with the other hand slip the pan into place. If the patient is
entirely helpless two persons are needed to lift her. Place a pad or
folded cloth between the patient's back and the pan; then lower the
patient gently. Before removing the pan, bring toilet paper, water and
two pieces of soft old muslin or gauze. A patient, if able, prefers to
use the toilet paper without assistance; her hands should afterward be
thoroughly washed. If she is unable, the attendant must do everything
needed. After the patient has been cleaned as thoroughly as possible
with paper raise her hips with one hand and then remove the pan; it is
important to raise her first because the skin often adheres and may be
injured if the pan is suddenly pulled away; carelessness in managing the
bedpan has caused more than one bed sore. Then remove the pan with one
hand and cover at once. Turn the patient, if helpless, on her side, wash
the parts with one piece of old muslin, thoroughly dry them with the
other, and either burn or thoroughly wash both pieces afterward.

Empty the bedpan and clean it at once; ordinarily one can clean it
without wetting or soiling the hands. Use cold water first, removing all
adhering solid particles with a tightly rolled piece of toilet paper. Do
not use a brush for this purpose. After using cold water, rinse the pan
thoroughly in hot water, and at least once a day wash it well in hot
soapsuds. Directions for disinfecting the pan will be given later, but
remember that a properly kept pan needs no deodorant solution. Glass
urinals should be provided for men, and kept clean in the same way.
Contents of both bedpan and urinal should always be carefully inspected;
neither should be emptied in the dark.


Obviously the routine of a patient's day must vary according to her
condition, her preferences, and the amount of time the attendant has to
give her. The temperature, pulse, and respiration must be taken and all
medicine, nourishment, and treatment given at the exact times ordered,
but the attendant should learn whether or not the doctor wishes her to
wake the patient for food or treatment. Good management in the sick-room
depends upon foresight and planning, and therefore it is well to keep in
mind the following suggestions:

Vitality is lowest in the early morning, hence baths and treatments,
especially if they are fatiguing or painful, should if possible be left
until after breakfast. Patients often wake early and wait, weak and
miserable, for the day to begin. A hot drink at this time may give
relief and enable the patient to sleep again. Even though breakfast time
is near, nourishment should be given as soon as the patient wakes. She
may not admit that she is hungry, but her nourishment should not be
delayed until the family breakfast is ready, or still worse, finished.

Before breakfast the bedpan should be offered, the patient's face and
hands should be washed, her teeth brushed, her hair tidied, the bed
straightened, and the room put in order. These services should require a
few minutes only. The room if properly arranged at bed time needs only a
little attention now unless untidy work has gone on during the night;
disorder in a sick-room is as unnecessary in the early morning as at any
other time.

After the patient has finished her breakfast she may rest, or if
allowed, read her mail or the newspaper while the attendant prepares for
her day's work; about an hour after breakfast the patient should be
bathed, unless she prefers her bath in the evening. After the bath some
form of light nourishment should be given, even to a patient who has
regular meals. If a patient is able to sit up in a chair, the best time
for her to do so is generally just after the bath and toilet have been
completed; but if she feels tired she had better wait until afternoon.
The bed room can be better aired and cleaned if it is possible to take
her into another room; and she herself generally profits by a change of

The doctor should definitely state when and for how long a patient may
sit up for the first time after an illness, and an amateur who may be
ignorant of the dangers involved should not assume the responsibility of
deciding. When a patient is to sit up for the first time, put on her
stockings, slippers, and wrapper before she leaves the bed. Arrange an
arm chair with pillows in the seat and at the back, bring it close to
the bedside and cover it with a large blanket unfolded. The chair may
face either the head or the foot of the bed. Help the patient to a
sitting position on the extreme edge of the bed, with her feet hanging
down. Next, standing in front of her and supporting her well, let her
slip down until she stands upon her feet, then let her turn, and gently
lower her into the chair. See that the patient while sitting up is
warmly covered, and that her foot-stool, pillows, etc., are adjusted
comfortably. Move her chair so that the outlook may be as interesting as
possible, and at least a little different from the view from the bed.
Most patients like to look out of the window; children and old people
enjoy it particularly.

If the patient shows signs of fatigue, she should go back to bed even
before the appointed time. To help her back to bed, reverse the process
of helping her out. A footstool may be needed if the bed is high, or
two people to lift her if she is weak or heavy. When a patient is in bed
no one should ever sit on the bed, lean against it, use it as a table
for folding linen, making pads, etc., take hold of the bed posts in
passing, or touch the bed unnecessarily in any way.

The best time for visitors is the last of the morning or the early
afternoon. A judicious visitor may do an immense amount of good,
especially to a chronic patient; indeed, she may be the only ray of
light in a dark day. Subjects of conversation should be pleasant, but
not too stimulating or exciting. The visitor should be prepared to carry
the burden of the conversation, to drop topics skillfully that seem to
involve fatigue or excitement, and either to go or to stop talking if
the patient seems tired. Visitors should remember to talk naturally and
cheerfully on ordinary topics, and to avoid excessive sympathy and
labored attempts to cheer the patient. They should also remember that
few patients bear well even the mildest forms of teasing. The patient's
room is not the place to discuss personal or family troubles; yet it is
only too often chosen for such purposes, probably because the complainer
knows that in it an audience is always to be found.

Visitors not belonging to the family should not be present in the
sick-room during treatment of any kind, unless their help is required;
neither, as a rule, should they stay during the patient's meals. A
member of the family may stay with advantage if the patient tires of
eating alone, but casual visitors almost invariably offend by undue
urging if the patient's appetite is poor, or by facetious remarks if it
is good.

Ordinarily only one visitor should be admitted at a time, since a weak
patient may be tired merely by looking from one to another. If it is
desirable to limit the call, the attendant should tell the visitor
beforehand how long to stay, or arrange a signal for the visit to end.
To announce baldly in the sick-room that the patient is tired and the
visitor must go, will only elicit aggrieved protests from both. In
illness lasting only a day or two all visitors should be discouraged;
during colds, because they are communicable; during general fatigue,
headaches, digestive upsets, and painful menstruation, because rest and
quiet are highly desirable. Visitors at such times too frequently give
injudicious sympathy, and may actually delay the recovery of patients
who enjoy playing the rôle of interesting invalid.

The time when a trustworthy visitor is present may be the best time for
the attendant to rest. The patient should be told when the attendant is
going, and approximately when she will return. It is a mistake to slip
away while the patient sleeps; she seldom fails to wake before the time
scheduled and to resent the desertion. Surprises of any kind, pleasant
or unpleasant, are seldom good for patients.

Toward the end of the afternoon the patient is probably tired,
especially if she has not slept during the day. When fever is present
her headache and restlessness increase as the day goes on, but it should
be remembered that uncomfortable beds and too heavy covers cause much of
the restlessness attributed to fever. Rubbing the back and legs with
alcohol, giving a tepid sponge bath, remaking the bed or changing her
position may help to soothe her.

The evening should be kept free from excitement, and every possible
effort should be made to encourage sleep. It is a mistake to think that
a better night results from keeping a sleepy patient awake all the
evening; sick people should sleep when they can. Just before bedtime the
attendant should prepare her own cot, and then make the following
preparations for the patient to sleep: wash the patient's face and hands
or give a sponge bath if it is desired, brush the hair, change the night
gown, brush crumbs from the bed, tighten the sheets or remake the bed if
necessary, rub the back and other pressure points with alcohol, shake
the pillows, give liquid nourishment, preferably hot, cleanse the mouth,
and give the bedpan. See that the patient's feet are warm, the bed
covers right, the room ventilated properly and in good order, and the
light extinguished or arranged for the night. If the patient is inclined
to be wakeful a hot foot bath may help her, or sponging the entire
length of the spine for fifteen minutes, using very hot water and long
downward quiet strokes. No conversation should be encouraged during
preparations for the night. Patients in bed all day often lose the habit
of sleeping at the regular time, and lie awake far into the night from a
vague feeling that someone else is coming or something further is to be
done for them. Consequently last of all ask the patient if she wants
anything more; if not, say good-night, go out and stay out, at least
until she has had a chance to go to sleep. She is thus helped to realize
that nothing further is likely to happen, and that it is time to go to

Toward morning the patient grows weaker. More bed covers will probably
be needed, and they may often be added without waking her. Night at the
best is a dreary time for the sick. Pain and weariness and
discouragement are less bearable in the darkness; nervous fears and
morbid fancies defy control. Never is kindness more needed or more
appreciated than it is by those who lie awake and watch for the morning.


1. Name all the causes, direct and indirect, of pressure sores.

2. Why are pressure sores generally more serious than injuries of equal
extent to the skin of a well person?

3. Where are pressure sores most likely to occur and what are their

4. What measures should be employed to prevent pressure sores?

5. Describe ways to support a person lying down in bed.

6. Describe ways to support a person sitting up in bed.

7. How may the weight of the bedclothes be removed from any particular
part of the body?

8. How should a bedpan be cared for?

9. Describe in detail a day's routine either of yourself the last time
you were ill in bed, or of another patient personally known to you.
Could the plan of the day have been improved, and if so, in what ways?



Substances used for food are generally grouped into three classes,
called the three nutrients. The nutrients are: first, the proteids or
nitrogenous substances, which are found in meat, fish, eggs, milk,
cheese, peas, beans, etc.; second, the carbohydrates, which include
sugars and starch; and third, the fats, which are found in butter, oil,
the fat of meat, etc. In addition to the nutrients, water and certain
mineral salts are essential to life, while some indigestible material
like the fibre of vegetables is needed to give bulk and to stimulate the
action of the intestines.

The nutrients furnish the body with materials for growth, and for repair
of tissues worn out by use; they also furnish fuel substances from which
the body obtains its heat and its energy. All three nutrients can serve
as fuel, but the proteids alone can furnish materials for growth and
repair of tissues. In order to be used by the body for any purpose,
nutrients must first go through a series of complicated changes known as
digestion, which renders them soluble so that they can soak through the
walls of the intestine.


Digestion begins in the mouth. There the food is crushed and its fibres
separated by the teeth, it is moistened by the saliva, and substances in
the saliva begin a chemical action upon the starch. Chewing should be
sufficient to reduce the food to a soft mass well moistened with saliva.
Slow eating is desirable, but the emphasis should be placed on thorough
chewing. For instance, long intervals between bites are of no special
benefit if mouthfuls of food are washed down by swallows of water.

After it has been swallowed, the food passes into the stomach and
remains there for a variable length of time, while it undergoes further
preparation for absorption. It is moved about by the contraction of the
muscular walls of the stomach, so that it becomes mixed with the stomach
juices and more thoroughly softened. Some digestion of proteids goes on
in the stomach, and a little absorption through the walls.

Little by little the food is discharged from the stomach into the small
intestine, and the most important part of digestion then begins. It is
acted upon chemically by a fluid flowing into the intestine from an
organ called the pancreas; this pancreatic juice acts upon all three
nutrients and is of great importance in the digestive process. The bile
and other juices that flow into the intestine perform important
functions also.

The food masses are moved along by rhythmic contractions of the
intestine, and absorption goes on when the food has been so changed that
it can soak through the intestinal walls into the blood and lymph
vessels. The small intestine is about 20 feet long, and consequently
affords a large surface for absorption, as does also the large
intestine, into which the small intestine opens. The blood and lymph
carry the digested food substances to all parts of the body, and thus
the different tissues are provided with the materials they need for
growth, repair, and energy. Excess of food substances may be stored as
fat or expelled from the body.

As the blood and lymph go through the tissues they take from the tissues
the refuse, or the part that remains after the fuel substances have been
consumed. This refuse from the tissues may be likened to the ashes from
a furnace; it is finally eliminated from the body through the kidneys
and lungs, and to some extent through the skin and bowels. The part of
the food that is not digested of course never soaks through the
intestinal walls; it merely passes through the small and large
intestines and is finally expelled as feces or bowel movements. The
characteristic odor of fecal matter results from the action of bacteria
upon it while in the large intestine.

It must be remembered that the body is not nourished merely by
swallowing food: in order to nourish the body food must also be
digested, absorbed, and made use of by the tissues. Many factors may
operate both in health and in sickness to render food indigestible. It
may be originally unsuited to the human digestive apparatus, or spoiled,
or poor in quality, or badly cooked. But even when wholesome in itself
it may be ill-adapted to a particular person at a particular time; thus
it may be too great in amount, or eaten at improper hours. Moreover a
person's own idiosyncrasy or manner of living or fatigue or illness may
render it especially indigestible for him.

Experiments have shown that pain, fear, worry, and other unpleasant
emotions actually stop the action of the digestive juices and check
muscular contractions of the small intestine. Furthermore, even the
absence of pleasant anticipation of food has been shown to delay
digestion for hours. Thus scientific knowledge confirms our common
experience that such mental states seriously interfere with digestion.
The converse is also true. Agreeable taste and odor of food, or even
pleasurable thought of it, start the secretion of digestive fluids. It
is a common saying that the mouth waters at the prospect of inviting
food, but it is less well known that appetizing food does actually start
the stomach juices also. A person who understands the physiological
effect that the emotions have upon digestion is in a far better frame of
mind to cope successfully with the difficulties of feeding the sick than
one who considers sick persons' likes and dislikes entirely irrational.


Nourishing the sick is not always an easy problem, but its importance
can hardly be overestimated. Indeed, proper feeding in many illnesses
makes the difference between life and death. The actual amount of
nourishment needed in sickness is often less than in health, but it may
be just as great, or even greater if the illness causes increased tissue
waste. Yet the digestive process of a sick person must be rendered as
little laborious as possible, all foods ordinarily difficult to digest
must be eliminated, certain others must be withheld or restricted
according to the nature of the sickness, and in addition one may have to
deal with an appetite that is capricious, diminished, or totally absent.

Diet for the sick is often a part of medical treatment; in such cases
the doctor will prescribe special diets and his orders must be carefully
carried out. Except for special diets, food for the sick is generally
divided into four classes: first, liquid or fluid diet; second,
semi-solid diet; third, light or convalescent diet; and lastly, full
diet. These diets are not very sharply distinguished.

LIQUID DIET generally includes milk, eggnog, albumen water, broths,
soup, beef juice, thin gruel, and beverages. Liquid diet makes least
demand upon the digestive powers, because it consists of food already
dissolved and therefore nearer the condition in which it can be
absorbed. Moreover, it is less likely than other foods to contain excess
of fat, improperly cooked starches, and other indigestible material.
Liquids must be given at regular intervals and at shorter intervals than
solid foods; 6 to 8 ounces every two or three hours is not too much if
the patient can take it. The doctor usually specifies the amount and the
interval. Some patients will take more nourishment at one time if the
interval is slightly increased.

SEMI-SOLID DIET includes all fluids and in addition soft milk toast,
soft cooked eggs, well cooked cereal, custards, ice cream and ices,
junket, and gelatine jellies. Liquid or semi-solid diet is commonly
given in acute fevers because digestive juices and other fluids of the
body are then diminished, and also because their digestion places a
minimum of work upon a system already burdened with bacterial poisons.

LIGHT OR CONVALESCENT DIET generally means a simple mixed diet. In
addition to the articles in the two preceding diets it includes oysters,
chicken, baked potatoes, most fruits except bananas, simple desserts,
white fish, and other meats and vegetables added judiciously until full
diet is reached. Fried foods should not be included.

FULL DIET means an unrestricted menu, but even from full diets
especially indigestible foods should be excluded. The principles of
feeding sedentary persons as described in manuals of dietetics apply to
patients who are obliged to be inactive although not really ill, as for
example, a patient suffering from a broken leg. Ordinarily in such
cases, as in other kinds of illness, the appetite is greatly diminished,
but a word of warning should be given against overfeeding patients whose
meals are their chief interest. Such patients are only too likely to
interpret full diet as anything they desire in any quantity at any time
of day or night, and then to attribute their discomfort and irritability
to their illness rather than to overeating.

Constipation is especially stubborn in sickness, since the patient is
deprived of his usual exercise and variety of food. So far as possible
the bowels should be regulated by diet. Laxative foods include most
vegetables with a large amount of fibre, coarse cereals and flour, oils
and fats, and most fruits and fruit juices. Unfortunately many laxative
foods are difficult for sick persons to digest and must therefore be
used with caution. A glass of hot or cold water or orange juice an hour
before breakfast may be helpful, and at bed time hot lemonade, oranges,
prunes, figs, or other fruit if allowed.

It is essential for patients to drink water freely, and it should be
given between meals and also between liquid nourishments. Persons
inexperienced in the care of the sick frequently make the mistake of
bringing water only when a patient asks for it.

Many acute illnesses begin with fever, headache, sore throat, and
especially among children with vomiting, diarrhœa, and other digestive
disturbances. In such cases all food should be withheld until the doctor
comes, but boiled water, hot or cold, should be given freely. Efforts to
tempt the appetite are then mistaken; few people are injured and many
are benefited by omitting food even for 24 hours at the beginning of an
acute illness, and with few exceptions a doctor can be found in a
shorter time.

SERVING FOOD FOR THE SICK.--Food for the sick should always be most
carefully prepared and of the best quality, and in addition it should be
as inviting, as varied, and as well served as possible. Neglect in these
respects is inexcusable. Even slight carelessness in preparing or
serving food may arouse disgust and thus banish permanently some
valuable article from the dietary.

Trays, dishes, tray cloths, and napkins for the patient must be
absolutely clean and as attractive as possible. Cracked or chipped
dishes should not be used. Individual sets of dishes for the sick may be
purchased, and their convenience makes them well worth their price.
Paper napkins may be used in many cases to save laundry work; clean
white paper is always superior to soiled linen.

Before the tray is brought to the bedside, everything should be arranged
so that the patient can eat in comfort. It is bad management to let the
soup cool while the patient's pillows and table are being adjusted. In
setting the tray great care should be devoted to placing the articles
conveniently, and to the appearance and garnishing of the food. Careful
serving requires more thought, but little if any more actual time than
slovenly serving. Dishes should not be so full that food is spilled in
transit; hot dishes should be covered; hot dishes should reach the
patient hot, and cold dishes cold. Liquid nourishment in a glass or cup
should be served on a small tray or plate covered with a doily. Neither
glass nor cup should be held by the rim.

It is not uncommon to overload trays and to serve everything at once in
order to save steps, but a patient is ordinarily more interested in a
meal that is served in courses unless very long intervals elapse
between. Moreover, if the meal is served in courses he is not tempted to
eat dessert first and then to refuse the rest of the meal. If food is
given sufficiently often it is safer to err on the side of serving too
little at a time rather than too much, since the sight of large amounts
of food is often disgusting.

The patient's likes and dislikes should be considered as far as
possible, but most patients should not be consulted about their menus
beforehand. Great variety in one meal is not necessary; it should be
introduced by varying successive meals. An article that has been
especially disliked should not be served a second time, unless it can be
disguised beyond a possibility of detection. An article of food to which
a patient objects should be removed at once; one may appear disappointed
if it seems wise, but should never argue. When patients persistently
refuse necessary nourishment a difficult situation is presented;
persuasion and every form of ingenuity must be used, and the doctor's
coöperation enlisted. When, for example, a strict milk diet is ordered
for a patient who announces that he never takes milk in any
circumstances the situation may seem hopeless but it is not necessarily

TO FEED A HELPLESS PATIENT.--Helpless and weak patients must be assisted
to eat or drink. A napkin should first be placed under the patient's
chin. The attendant should place her hand under the pillow, raise the
head slightly, and hold the glass to his lips with her other hand. An
ordinary tumbler can be used by a patient lying down if it is not more
than a quarter full, or a special feeding cup may be purchased. Bent
glass tubes may be used for cool liquids; they should be washed
immediately after use. A child who can sit up sometimes takes more
nourishment if it is given through a soda water straw.

If the patient must be fed with a spoon care should be taken that the
liquid is not too hot, but the attendant should not blow upon it to cool
it. It should be given from the point of a spoon placed at right angles
to the lips, and plenty of time between mouthfuls should be allowed. A
swallow should not be given at the moment when the patient is drawing
the breath in. Great patience is required if a helpless person is to be
fed acceptably. The attendant should sit by the bedside rather than
stand, should present at least the appearance of having unlimited time,
and should endeavor not to deprive the patient in any way of the
satisfaction he may derive from his nourishment.


1. What needs of the body do food substances supply?

2. Give an outline of the digestive process.

3. Describe the effect of different mental states upon digestion, and
give examples of the ways by which a knowledge of these effects may be
utilized in feeding patients.

4. Why is the problem of nourishing the body of especial importance in

5. Name the four ordinary classes of diet for the sick, and mention all
the articles you can belonging to each class.

6. Why is constipation a common ailment among patients confined to bed,
and what attempts should be made to overcome it by the diet?

7. Why is it necessary for sick persons to drink water freely, and what
efforts should the attendant make to encourage them to do so?

8. Describe the proper serving of a patient's tray.

9. How should helpless patients be assisted to eat?


Health and Disease--Roger I. Lee, Chapter II.

The Human Mechanism--Hough and Sedgwick, Chapters VIII, XIII, XIX.

Notes on Nursing--Florence Nightingale, Pages 63-79.

How to Live--Fisher and Fisk, Chapter II.

Bodily Changes in Pain, Hunger, Fear and Rage--Cannon, Chapter I.

Food for the Invalid and the Convalescent--Winifred S. Gibbs.

Practical Dietetics--Pattee, Chapters IV, V.

Feeding the Family--Rose.

Diet in Health and Disease--Friedenwald and Ruhrah.

Feeding Children from Two to Seven Years Old--New York City Department
of Health.

American Red Cross Text Book on Home Dietetics--Ada Z. Fish.

Emergency Cooking--Pamphlet 708, American Red Cross.

War Diet in the Home--Pamphlet 706, American Red Cross.

Red Cross Conservation Food Course for Children and Special
Classes--Pamphlet 705, American Red Cross.



ACTION OF DRUGS.--Modern medical practice increasingly emphasizes diet,
baths, exercises, and other hygienic measures in the treatment of
sickness. Drugs are given far less than they were a generation ago; yet
medicines are still the most familiar of all remedies, and the most
abused by those who persist in treating themselves. Misuse of medicine
even by intelligent people is astonishingly common.

Problems of sickness and health would be enormously clarified if the
uses and limitations of drugs were more generally understood. Many
people still believe that every disease can be cured by a drug if only
the doctor is clever or lucky enough to think of the right one to give.
Such beliefs result naturally enough from centuries of faith in charms
and magic, and occasionally are confirmed by remarkable cures apparently
brought about by drugs, but really pure coincidence or the result of

It is a fact that a few medicines are known which if rightly used
actually do cure certain diseases. An example of their action is the
curative effect of quinine in malaria. Such medicines, unfortunately,
are few. In the great majority of cases medicines do not cure disease;
their beneficial action is ordinarily indirect and is due to their power
either to increase or to check certain processes within the body.

It is here that the abuse of drugs comes in. Disordered bodily processes
give rise to symptoms of disease; and it is the symptoms of disease, not
the disease itself, that trouble the patient. A patient with typhoid,
for example, is not conscious of the toxins in his blood, but of
headache, weakness, and fever; the man with eyestrain is not aware of an
imperfectly shaped lens, but of headache and indigestion. What the
patient wants is to have his symptoms relieved; in some cases they can
be controlled by drugs, and the sufferer then considers himself cured.
But the original condition persists: it may in the meantime be
improving, but it may on the other hand be growing worse.

Not infrequently it is best to check symptoms, and to check them by
means of drugs. When they should be checked, only a thoroughly trained
physician is qualified to decide. The question is not one for amateurs,
since the whole practice of medicine, including the prescription of
drugs, constantly becomes more nearly an exact science. People should
obtain and follow expert advice in regard to health as they would in
regard to other affairs of life. The constant self-dosing practised by
thousands of people is harmful and unintelligent; it is, however, no
less irrational to go to the other extreme and refuse to take medicine
prescribed by a competent doctor.

AMATEUR DOSING.--Amateur dosing either of oneself or of others is
dangerous in more ways than one. In the first place, time is lost.
Moreover, symptoms are characteristic; checking or altering them
increases the difficulty of finding the real trouble. The man with
eyestrain who takes one drug to stop his headache and another to "cure"
his stomach, is simply delaying the time when properly adjusted glasses
will relieve both. In this case the result may not be serious; but such
a loss of time in finding the trouble and beginning proper treatment
might prove fatal in the case of tuberculosis.

Another objection to amateur prescription of medicine is the fact that
most drugs have more than one effect. In addition to their main action
they have others, subordinate or ordinarily less marked. These minor
effects may be serious in some cases. Many headache remedies, for
example, affect the heart; a dose that is harmless for a normal person
may be strong enough to injure seriously a person with a weak heart. A
doctor, and a doctor only, is competent to decide when and in what
quantity medicines will be beneficial, because he alone understands both
the condition of the patient and all the possible effects of the drug.

In no circumstances should medicine prescribed for one person be taken
by another. This rule seems obvious enough; yet every day people pass on
their pet remedies to friends. Some medicines deteriorate after
standing, and others grow stronger; nevertheless, medicine supposed to
have cured a cough or a tonic supposed to have strengthened some member
of the family after an attack of grippe is cheerfully administered
months later to another member of the family, who, to make matters
worse, may differ in age, strength, and probably in the nature of his
sickness. Drugs are expensive, and it is considered economical to use
them up; measured by lost time and impaired health such practices may be
anything but thrifty.

Cathartics, tonics, and various drugs to relieve pain and sleeplessness
are among the remedies most commonly taken without medical advice.
Enough has already been said about constipation to indicate proper
hygienic treatment, but another warning should be given against
habitual use of cathartics. Many of these drugs are irritating; even
when not irritating, they are harmful, since the body depends more and
more upon the drug to do for it what it should be enabled to do for
itself, by remedying the original cause of the trouble. Licorice powder,
cascara, saline cathartics such as Seidlitz powders and Rochelle Salts
and some others are harmless for occasional use, if occasional is not
too liberally interpreted.

Tonics are poor substitutes for proper diet, rest, and fresh air. Using
them may be likened to beating a tired horse; the horse goes faster, but
he is not really stronger. In some emergencies the horse must go faster
and there is nothing to do but beat him, and in some cases the tonic
should be given; these, however, are cases for a doctor to decide.
People persist in taking tonics because they are unwilling or unable to
rest, or otherwise to change their ways of living.

Medicines to stop pain or to induce sleep are probably the most
pernicious of all self-prescribed remedies, for they add to other
dangers the possibility of forming drug habits. These habits are so
insidious and so powerful that it is not safe to take habit-forming
drugs even once except by a doctor's direction. In short periods of time
strong people, apparently firm in will and character, have acquired
habits from supposedly moderate use of drugs like morphine, cocaine, and
alcohol. No one, no matter how sure of his own self-control, can afford
to run so grave a risk.

PATENT REMEDIES.--Objections to self dosing in general apply even more
strongly to using patent medicines. The ingredients of patent medicines
are ordinarily unknown, so that using them is unintelligent at best.
Sometimes they contain habit-forming or other harmful drugs. In other
cases the ingredients are innocent enough, but totally unable to bring
about the results claimed for them. The old story about a powerful
remedy discovered by accident and thus unknown to the medical profession
deceives only the ignorant or credulous; with our present knowledge of
chemistry and physiology powerful remedies are not discovered in that

Even to these comparatively harmless patent preparations there are two
serious objections. One is the loss of time, during which the patient
may grow worse. The other is that money is obtained under false
pretenses; fraud is a common element in the success of patent remedies.
One of the least harmful, a substance called "Murine" may be taken as an
example[2]. This substance was widely advertised at one time as a
"positive cure for sore eyes." Analysis showed it to be a solution of
borax, which cost about five cents a gallon to prepare. It sold for one
dollar an ounce, or at the rate of $128.00 a gallon. Although it could
not bring about the wonderful cures advertised, it was practically
harmless, and buyers of "Murine" must have been injured chiefly in
pocket. But with "cancer cures" and "consumption cures" it is a
different story. Early treatment of these diseases is essential to
recovery; delay in many cases means robbing the sufferer of his only
chance of life. No drugs are now known that will cure these diseases,
and it seems incredible that anyone should be willing to practise such
cruel deception upon ignorant people merely for the sake of making

ADMINISTRATION OF MEDICINE.--Medicines may be introduced into the body
in a number of ways. In the majority of cases they are swallowed and
finally carried to the tissues by the blood just as digested food is

Except in rare emergencies no medicine should be given to a sick person
without the doctor's order. The prescribed dose should be accurately
measured in a medicine glass having a scale to show the number of
teaspoonfuls. When measuring medicine, think only of what you are doing;
neither talk nor listen to conversation. First read the label on the
bottle. Next, shake the bottle, if the medicine is liquid, in order to
mix the contents thoroughly. Then remove the cork with the second and
third fingers, and hold it between them while pouring, thus keeping the
cork clean and protecting the contents of the bottle. Hold the medicine
glass on a level with the eyes, and in the other hand hold the bottle,
with the side bearing the label uppermost to avoid soiling it; pour out
the dose, measuring exactly, wipe the bottle, replace the cork, and
again read the label on the bottle.

Most medicines should be diluted with a little water. Pills and capsules
should not be presented to patients in the attendant's fingers, but on a
saucer or teaspoon. Acids and medicines containing iron should be taken
through a glass tube kept for medicine exclusively. Tubes and glasses
should be washed at once after use, and neither they nor the bottles
should stay in the patient's room. If a dose is omitted for any reason,
do not increase the next dose; give the regular dose at the next regular

Serious mistakes in giving or taking drugs are far too common, and no
precautions are too great to guard against them. Never use medicine from
a box or bottle that has no label. Never take or give another person a
medicine selected in the dark, even though you have positive knowledge
that there is no other bottle or box of medicine in the whole house; in
just such circumstances the fatal mistakes occur.

A few things can be done to make medicines more palatable. The water
used to dilute the dose and to be taken after it should be very cold.
Holding the nose is helpful. A piece of cracker, a peppermint, or a
slice of lemon or orange, if allowed, may be taken afterward. Giving
disagreeable medicine in ordinary food, as lemon juice, orange juice, or
milk, and giving bitter powders in jam or jelly, is unwise because it
sometimes results in life long dislike for a useful article of diet.
Where food is given directly after the dose to take away its taste, the
association of dislike seems to be formed less frequently.

The taste of castor oil is so disgusting that it often causes vomiting,
but if skillfully given the oil need not be tasted by a patient who is
willing to coöperate. Its way of sticking to the tongue and teeth
constitutes the chief difficulty; the object therefore is to prevent it
from sticking by swallowing the dose all at once. To administer the oil,
wet the inside of a medicine glass or large spoon with very cold water,
and leave a little water in the bottom. Pour the required dose in slowly
and cover it with more cold water. Let the patient hold in his hand
something to take away the taste,--cracker, bread, peppermint, or
whatever is allowed; for castor oil water is not very effectual. Then
direct him to hold his nose, open his mouth, and hold his breath;
caution him to let the oil run down without swallowing until all has
been taken, and afterward to chew the cracker, continuing to hold his
nose until he has swallowed the cracker. When the patient understands
and is ready, pour the dose in quickly as far back as possible, taking
care not to spill the last drop on the lips. This process may seem
unduly troublesome, but when castor oil is needed it is badly needed and
efforts to make it stay down are worth while. The following method also
effectually disguises the taste of castor oil: place in a glass a
teaspoonful of baking soda, add the prescribed dose of oil and then the
juice of half a lemon. Mix all together thoroughly and let the patient
take the mixture while it is effervescing. This method may be used
unless the patient is not allowed soda and lemon juice. Castor oil may
be bought in capsules, but on account of their size many people find the
capsules impossible to swallow.

SUPPOSITORIES.--Sometimes medicines are given through the rectum. For
this purpose they are combined with cocoa butter or other material, and
made into small cones called suppositories. They melt at a low
temperature and should be kept on ice until needed. A suppository
should be lubricated with vaseline, and inserted very gently as far as
the finger can be introduced, while the patient is lying on the back or
left side.

ENEMATA.--An injection of a fluid into the rectum is called an enema.
(Plural, enemas, or enemata.) Enemas are generally used to cause
evacuation of the bowels.

For a simple purgative enema one of the following is generally used:
plain water; or a solution of common salt in the proportion of one
teaspoonful of salt to one pint of water; or soap suds made with a white
soap such as castile or ivory. Unless otherwise ordered the temperature
of the enema should be between 105° and 110° F.

To give an enema, one should proceed as follows: First protect the bed
by placing under the patient's hips a rubber sheet, covered by a draw
sheet or large towel. Let the patient lie on the back, with the knees
flexed and head low. Bring to the bedside a commode or bedpan, and
lastly the solution contained in a fountain syringe having a long rubber
tube, stopcock and short hard rubber nozzle. The bag of the syringe may
be hung on the bed post or elsewhere, but it should not be more than
three feet at most above the patient's head. Lubricate the nozzle with
vaseline either from a tube, or removed from a jar by means of a piece
of toilet paper; never dip the nozzle itself into a vaseline jar. Let
the solution flow into the bedpan until it runs warm and smoothly; a
jerky flow means presence of air bubbles which cause pain if injected
into the bowels. Unless the patient is able to do it herself, gently
insert the nozzle, and at the same time start the flow. Force must not
be used in inserting the nozzle, and the flow should be gentle; if the
solution goes in rapidly the patient may be unable to retain it. If
there is a desire to expel the enema as soon as the injection has begun,
shut off the current and wait a minute, meanwhile making gentle pressure
upon the patient's abdomen with one hand; then lower the bag a little
and begin again. A grown person should take from two to four pints, and
a child from one to two pints. After the enema is finished give the
bedpan immediately; the enema will, however, be more effective if
retained a few minutes. The bedpan should be given and removed according
to the directions on page 176. Sometimes an enema is expelled with such
violence that it soils the upper sheet; to protect the covers a rubber
sheet may be spread over the patient's knees and legs. Since an enema
sometimes causes nausea or faintness, a patient should be watched
constantly during the process.

To give an enema to a baby one may use a small syringe having a soft
rubber bulb with a nozzle directly attached, or the ordinary fountain
syringe with the small, hard rubber tip designed for infants. The enema
should be given in a warm room free from draughts, and the baby must be
warmly covered throughout the process. First cover the lap with a pad or
folded blanket. Upon the blanket place a warmed rubber sheet, and over
the rubber a warm diaper. Hold the baby on your lap, so that he lies on
his back with his knees drawn up. Hold his feet or legs firmly in your
left hand. Lubricate the nozzle thoroughly with vaseline. Be sure that
all the air is expelled from the syringe, and then proceed as already
directed. A baby will take from two or three ounces up to half a pint or
even more, according to the size of the child. After the injection is
finished place a small vessel under the baby's hips, and hold it until
the fluid has been expelled, keeping the child well covered all the

After being used, the nozzle of a fountain syringe should be washed with
soap and water, boiled, dried and put away in a clean place. Inserting
the nozzle into the bag of the syringe immediately after withdrawing it
from the rectum is a filthy but not uncommon practice. The syringe
should be kept clean inside and out; it should be washed in hot
soapsuds, rinsed in clean hot water, drained, and when thoroughly dry
wrapped in a clean towel or tissue paper. The ordinary fountain syringe
hanging for months by a dirty string on a hook in the bath room is an
unpleasant and generally an unclean object.

SPRAYS AND GARGLES.--Several other methods of administering medicines
are occasionally employed. Some remedies may be applied directly to the
throat by gargles, and to the nose and throat by sprays. The throat may
be cleansed by gargling with a solution of a teaspoonful of baking soda
or common salt in a glass of warm water. Nose sprays should not be used
except under medical advice, and it is well to remember that if the
mouth washes, gargles, and sprays advertised to be disinfectants were
really strong enough to kill germs, they would be too harsh for common
or continued use. The nozzles of nose and throat sprays should be boiled
immediately after use. A surprising number of families who have
progressed far beyond common drinking cups and towels, continue to use a
common nose spray without even washing the nozzle. Children while they
are well should be taught to gargle the throat; a child with a sore
throat and an aching head is in a poor condition to learn anything.

INHALATION or breathing in, is another method used to introduce drugs
into the membranes of the nose, throat, and lungs. Smelling salts are an
example of substances used for inhalation; they are used to stimulate
persons who are faint. They should not be placed close to the nostrils,
nor used at all when the patient is totally unconscious.

Inhalations of steam are often used in asthma, croup, and bronchitis.
Special croup kettles are made for the purpose, but an ordinary pitcher
half full of boiling water may be used instead. The patient's head
should be held closely over the pitcher, and a towel should be adjusted
around the top covering the patient's nose and mouth, but admitting just
enough air to make it possible for him to breathe. If a drug is ordered
it should be added to the water.

INUNCTION, or rubbing a substance into the skin, is sometimes ordered
for delicate babies and children. After the skin of the abdomen has been
washed with warm soapy water and thoroughly dried, the substance
ordered, generally olive oil or cod liver oil, should be applied by
means of a circular movement of the palm of the hand. The oil should be
warm and the rubbing continued until it is absorbed.

Ointments are also applied by inunction. A small quantity at a time
should be rubbed in, using a circular motion. If an ointment is ordered
to be applied where the skin is broken, the ointment should be spread
upon gauze and applied without friction. Liniments are rubbed in in the
same way as ointments. In many cases rubbing accomplishes more than the
ointment or liniment itself, so that this part of the treatment must not
be slighted.

HOUSEHOLD MEDICINE CUPBOARD.--In every household a small cupboard is
needed for medical and surgical supplies. Glass shelves are desirable,
because they show when dirty and are easily cleaned, but a wooden
cupboard can easily be lined with clean paper or white enamel cloth held
in place with thumb tacks. Dirty, stained shelves should not be
tolerated. The cupboard should be kept locked and the key put well out
of the reach of children. In the cupboard should be kept medicines in
daily use; they should not be paraded on family dinner tables.

Poisonous drugs should have rough glass bottles and conspicuous labels.
All medicine bottles should be kept well corked, since evaporation may
take place and the remaining solution, by becoming stronger, may be
dangerous to use in the ordinary amount. Pills and tablets sometimes
deteriorate by standing, and may become so hard that they pass through
the stomach and intestines without dissolving. It is best to buy drugs
and surgical supplies in small quantities; when it is cheaper to buy
more at a time the druggist should be asked whether they will
deteriorate or not.

Almost every family needs to keep on hand some cathartics, some
disinfectants, some material for first aid, and a few simple appliances.
Most families have certain other needs peculiar to themselves, and for
those who live at a distance from drug stores a greater quantity and
variety may be required. Elaborate equipment and extensive supplies of
medicines are neither economical nor necessary for household use.

Castor oil, Rochelle or other laxative salts, and two grain cascara
tablets ordinarily constitute a sufficient supply of cathartics. The
dose of castor oil is one or two teaspoonfuls for a baby up to a
tablespoonful for an adult. Rochelle salts and seltzer aperient are
given dissolved in water; the ordinary dose is from one to four
teaspoonfuls. Seidlitz powders come in two packets, one white and one
blue. The contents of the packets should first be dissolved in separate
glasses each filled about a quarter full of water. One solution should
then be poured into the other and the mixture taken while it is
effervescing. Cascara tablets are generally given in one to ten grain

A small bottle of tincture of iodine and one of 70% alcohol should be
kept for disinfecting. Neither one is for internal use. The iodine is
used to disinfect small wounds and abrasions of the skin. It is applied
with cotton swabs and several swabs should be made and kept on hand in a
box or envelope. Alcohol is used to disinfect thermometers and other
instruments that cannot be boiled, for rubbing, and may also be used for
disinfecting the skin. A 90% solution is sometimes used for rubbing; it
need not be bought until needed. Denatured and wood alcohol are poisons
and should be used in households only in spirit lamps; they are not safe
for other purposes.

First aid materials may include two gauze bandages two and one-half
inches wide and two bandages one inch wide, one American Red Cross First
Aid Outfit, a small package of absorbent cotton, a roll of old muslin, a
package of adhesive plaster one inch wide, boracic ointment, picric acid
gauze or other application for burns, safety pins, and a pair of

For use in cases of fainting or exhaustion it is well to keep aromatic
spirits of ammonia on hand. Its bottle should have a rubber stopper. The
dose is one-half to one teaspoonful, in a quarter to half a glass of
water. Hot coffee and tea are also good stimulants, but the time
necessary to prepare them makes it desirable to have aromatic ammonia
on hand. Household or ordinary ammonia must not be used as a substitute.

Olive oil, mustard, and baking soda may be brought from the kitchen when
needed. It is assumed that vaseline, cold cream, hand lotion, talcum
powder, and other toilet preparations will also be available.

Only a few appliances are necessary. Among them are a medicine glass, a
teaspoon, clinical thermometer, hot water bag, fountain syringe, and an
alcohol lamp in houses without gas or electric stoves. It is better not
to buy other appliances until they are needed, particularly rubber goods
since they deteriorate rapidly.


1. Why is it dangerous for persons without medical training to prescribe
medicines? What is the especial danger of dosing oneself?

2. What is meant by a habit-forming drug? Name all you can, and tell why
they are peculiarly dangerous.

3. What are the special objections to patent medicines?

4. What precautions should be taken in order to administer medicine
accurately? What precautions to avoid giving wrong medicines?

5. How may some disagreeable medicines be made more palatable?

6. Tell how to prepare and give a soapsuds enema.

7. How should a fountain syringe be cared for? a throat spray?

8. Describe methods for giving steam inhalations.

9. Describe the equipment and care of a household medicine cupboard.

10. What drugs is it well for a family to keep on hand? What appliances?
What materials for first aid?

11. How many drugs in addition to those prescribed by a physician have
you or your family on hand at the present time? How many do you consider
really necessary? Are any of these medicines used to remedy troubles
that might be cured by sufficient attention to rest, exercise, diet, and
fresh air?


Health and Disease--Roger I. Lee, Chapter VI.

How to Live--Fisher and Fisk, Supplementary Notes, Sections IV, V.

Scientific Features of Modern Medicine--Frederic S. Lee, Chapters III,

The Human Mechanism--Hough and Sedgwick, Chapter XX.

The Conquest of Nerves--Courtney.

Primitive Psychotherapy and Quackery--Lawrence, Chapters I-V.

Nostrums and Quackery--American Medical Association. (See especially
"Cancer Cures" and "Consumption Cures.")


  [2] See "Nostrums and Quackery," p. 445.



INFLAMMATION.--A process called inflammation sometimes occurs in tissues
that have been injured or invaded by bacteria. Although painful, it is
nevertheless one of the reparative processes of the body, and therefore
beneficial. Common examples of inflammation are boils, sore throat, and
the swollen, painful condition resulting from sprains and fractures.
Characteristic symptoms of inflammation are heat, redness, swelling, and

When a tissue has been invaded by bacteria, nearby blood vessels dilate,
thus bringing an increased supply of blood to the affected part. This
extra supply serves to wash away the offending substance, and at the
same time it brings more white blood corpuscles, one function of which
is to destroy bacteria. From the increased supply of blood the affected
part becomes red and hot, and so much blood may come that the vessels
further on are unable to carry it away fast enough. Some of the fluid
part of the blood is then forced out into the tissues, and the part
becomes swollen. Distension of the tissues and pressure on the nerve
endings cause pain, and the injured part now exhibits the characteristic
symptoms of inflammation.

[Illustration: FIG. 21.--"THE HISTORY OF A BOIL." This figure represents
a cross-section of normal skin. Note the surface layer, or cuticle, and
the "true skin," or cutis. In the cutis one sees that the blood
capillaries are just wide enough for the blood-cells to pass through "in
single file." The skin has just been pricked by a dirty pin. On the
point of this pin were several poisonous germs which were deposited at
_a_. (_From Emerson's "Essentials of Medicine."_)]

[Illustration: FIG. 22.--"THE HISTORY OF A BOIL" (continued). The poison
from these germs diffuses through the cutis. The capillaries dilate. The
leucocytes force their way through the walls of the capillaries and
travel towards these germs. Note the dumb-bell shape of the leucocytes
as they pass through the minute holes in the capillary walls, and their
pseudopods as they travel towards their common destination, attracted by
the poison from the germs. The skin in this region is now swollen, red,
hot, and painful. (_From Emerson's "Essentials of Medicine."_)]

At this point, if the injury begins to heal or the bacterial infection
to yield, the extra blood supply is gradually carried off, the blood
vessels resume their normal size, and the tissues return to their usual
condition. If, however, the infection does not yield so quickly, more
and more white blood corpuscles assemble and pass through the walls of
the tiny blood vessels into the tissues. Here the struggle continues.
Some bacteria and some white blood corpuscles are killed, and substances
are formed which liquify these dead cells and also some cells of the
surrounding tissues. The resulting fluid is called pus or matter, and in
the case of a boil we then say it has come to a head. If the infection
occurs near a cavity or near the surface of the body, the pus may escape
by breaking through at the point of least resistance, and may carry most
of the poisons along with it. If the pus finds no outlet it may be
gradually absorbed by the blood stream, and healing may result without
discharging. On the other hand, the germs may make their way into the
circulation, thus causing the serious condition known as blood

[Illustration: FIG. 23.--"THE HISTORY OF A BOIL" (continued). The
migration of leucocytes has continued until now they form a dense mass
surrounding the germs. The poison of the germs has killed all the
leucocytes and also all the cutis immediately around them, and now
digestive fluids from the dead leucocytes is turning the whole dead mass
into liquid pus. The boil has "come to a head." There is a little lump
on the skin and through its thin covering of cuticle can be seen the
yellow pus. (_From Emerson's "Essentials of Medicine."_)]

Inflammation may be treated by means of hot applications, cold
applications, or counter-irritants. The effect of heat is to dilate the
vessels and hence to increase the flow of blood to the injured part.
This increased blood supply makes the reparative process go on more
vigorously, and also makes it possible for the accumulated fluid to be
more rapidly carried away. Moist heat softens the tissues so that pus,
if formed, can escape more easily.

[Illustration: FIG. 24.--"THE HISTORY OF A BOIL" (concluded). The boil
has finally ruptured. The liquid pus has escaped carrying with it the
germs and most of their poisons; the migration of leucocytes has
stopped; the capillaries are returning to normal size and now new tissue
will grow and fill up this hole. (_From Emerson's "Essentials of

Cold acts in just the opposite way. It decreases the size of the blood
vessels so that less blood comes to cause pain and swelling; at the same
time it diminishes the number of white blood corpuscles and the
nutritive substance brought by the blood. The nature and location of the
infection determine whether heat or cold is to be preferred.

Counter-irritants, of which mustard is an example, have a complicated
action. A counter-irritant affects the blood circulation of the place to
which it is applied, and at the same time it irritates the superficial
nerves, which in turn stimulate other more distant nerves. The latter
nerves control the circulation in tissues not adjoining those to which
the counter-irritant is applied, and thus it is possible for a mustard
paste, for example, if applied at one point to bring about changes in
the blood supply of another part of the body. The mechanism by which
counter-irritation is brought about is an intricate nervous process
called reflex action.


In applying either moist or dry heat the danger of burning or scalding a
patient must be constantly kept in mind. This danger is always great,
but it is especially great when the skin is tender like that of babies,
children, and old people, or when the vitality is low as in cases of
chronic or exhausting illness. Unfortunately accidents in applying heat
are not uncommon; a moment's carelessness may cause serious injury and
prolonged suffering.

DRY HEAT.--Hot water bags are used to apply dry heat. They should be
filled not more than two-thirds full of hot water, but the water must
not be so hot that there is the slightest possibility of scalding the
patient if the bag should leak. Boiling water should never be used.
Before the stopper is screwed on, expel the air by squeezing the bag or
by resting it upon a flat surface until the water reaches the top. After
closing the bag make sure that both bag and stopper are in order, by
noting whether leakage occurs when the bag is inverted and pressed
moderately. Before it is placed near the patient the bag should be dried
and entirely covered with a towel or canton flannel bag.

Strong bottles, jugs, and jars, if they can be securely stoppered, may
be used sometimes instead of hot water bags. The same precautions are
necessary. Bricks, flat irons, or thick flannel bags containing salt or
sand may be heated in the oven and used in the same way. Salt and sand
retain heat for a long time, but are correspondingly slow to heat;
therefore one bag should be heating in the oven while the other is in
use. Their effect on the skin must be no less carefully watched than the
effects of other hot applications.

Hot dry flannel may be used without fear of burning a patient, and it
sometimes yields sufficient warmth to relieve pain, particularly
abdominal pain of babies. After it has been heated on a radiator or in
an oven, it should be applied quickly and covered closely with another
flannel to prevent escape of heat.

Dry heat can be applied conveniently by an electric pad. The part to be
heated may be wrapped in flannel or placed directly above or below the
pad. The pad should be carefully watched to see that the switch is not
accidentally turned, as it is possible for the pad to become hot enough
to burn the patient or to set fire to the bed covers.

MOIST HEAT.--To apply moist heat poultices or fomentations (stupes) are

_Poultices_ may be made of various heat-retaining substances, but
flaxseed meal is generally used. The poultices when ready should be
applied without delay, therefore all preparations should be made in
advance. To prepare a poultice, first provide a piece of gauze or thin
old muslin about two inches wider than you wish the poultice to be when
finished, and about two inches more than twice as long. In a shallow
saucepan boil water, varying in amount according to the size of the
poultice desired; about equal parts of water and meal will be needed.
When the water is boiling briskly add the meal gradually, beating
constantly with a spatula or knife. The poultice is done when the
mixture coheres and is thick enough to drop from the spatula leaving it
clean. Quickly spread a layer of the hot flaxseed from a quarter to half
an inch thick on one-half of the muslin, leaving a margin on three sides
of about an inch (Fig. 25). Fold in the margins of the cloth (Fig. 26)
and then bring the other half of the cloth over the flaxseed so that the
top of the poultice is covered. Tuck the free end of the upper half of
the cloth under the turned in edges of the long sides.

[Illustration: FIG. 25.--Turn the edges of the muslin over the flaxseed
by folding first on the line _AA'_, and then on the lines _BB'_ and

[Illustration: FIG. 26.--Fold on the line _EE'_, bringing _FF'_ up over
the flaxseed and tucking it under at _D_ and _D'_.]

Carry the poultice on a hot plate, or rolled in a newspaper or hot
towel. Test it carefully with the back of the hand, apply it to the skin
gradually, cover it with cotton batting, oiled muslin, or several
thicknesses of flannel, and keep it in place with a bandage or towel.
Remove it as soon as it has become cold, and unless the skin is much
reddened apply a fresh poultice. If the skin is much reddened, anoint it
with vaseline or sweet oil, wrap it warmly, and apply the next poultice
as soon as the appearance of the skin is normal.

_Stupes_ or _hot fomentations_ are cloths, preferably of flannel or
flannelette, wrung out of boiling water and applied to the skin. Each
stupe should be three or four times as large as the area to be covered.
Two are needed, so that one may be prepared before removing the other.
To prevent escape of heat and moisture the stupe should be covered after
it has been applied, first with a piece of rubber cloth or oiled silk or
muslin, and next with several thicknesses of flannel, or cotton batting
made into a pad. The whole should be kept in place with a bandage or
towel used as a binder. The doctor will tell how often the stupes are to
be applied, but if the skin becomes irritated they must be stopped until
its appearance is again normal.

[Illustration: FIG. 27.--WRINGING STUPE. (_From "Elementary Nursing
Procedures," California State Board of Health._)]

Great care must be taken in applying fomentations. They do little good
unless very hot, but if applied too hot the patient is likely to be
scalded. They must be wrung as dry as possible; but it is difficult to
wring them without scalding the hands unless stupe wringers are used.
Stupe wringers are heavy pieces of cloth, like roller towels or pieces
of ticking, long enough to extend over opposite sides of the basin in
which the stupe is to be boiled, and wide enough to hold the stupe
easily. The wringer should be placed in the basin with the stupe
arranged upon it. Boiling water should then be added, or the water,
stupe, and wringer may be boiled together in the basin. After the stupe
is ready, the wringer with the stupe upon it should be removed from the
water by grasping the dry ends of the wringer. Then the ends should be
twisted in opposite directions until the stupe inside is as dry as
possible. Wringing is made easier if the wringer has wide hems into
which sticks such as pieces of broom handles are inserted. By twisting
the sticks in opposite directions the stupe may be wrung out easily.


DRY COLD.--Cold, like heat, may be used either dry or moist. Bags of
rubber or of Japanese paper filled with small pieces of ice are used to
apply dry cold. When weight is to be avoided, the bag should not be
completely filled. After the bag has been filled and the air has been
expelled, it should be stoppered securely and wrapped in a towel or
piece of flannel, since it is possible for an uncovered ice bag to
freeze the skin. Ice bags are easily punctured, and care should be taken
not to bring pressure upon them especially when filled with sharp pieces
of ice. An ice bag not in use should be thoroughly dry inside and out;
it should be put away with enough absorbent cotton inside to keep the
surfaces from adhering. Bags of Japanese paper are less costly than
rubber, but less durable. To close them one should roll the top over and
then tie it tightly with string.

MOIST COLD.--Cold compresses for the head are often used for patients
with fever or headache; they sometimes quiet a patient who is restless.
An old handkerchief or piece of soft linen folded with the raw edges
inside may be used as a compress. It should be large enough to cover the
forehead. Two compresses at least should be provided, and a large piece
of ice in a basin. One compress should be wrung so that it will not
drip, and then applied to the head. The other meanwhile should be placed
on the ice to cool. As soon as the first compress becomes warm, the
second should be applied in its place.

_Cold Compresses for the Eyes._--Soft material should be selected for
eye compresses. Each one should be cut only a little larger than the eye
and should fit neatly over it. Several compresses should be placed on a
block of ice while one is applied to the eye, and every few minutes the
compress should be changed. If there is discharge from the eye, each
compress should be used but once; when used, they should be collected in
a paper and afterward burned. Separate compresses should be used if both
eyes are being treated. Definite directions in regard to changing
compresses and the length of time the applications should be continued
are generally given by the physician.


To some extent all hot applications are counter-irritants, but mustard
pastes, mustard leaves, and the mustard foot-bath already described are
the counter-irritants most commonly used.

_Mustard Paste._--To make a mustard paste, mix dry mustard with flour,
using for adults one part of mustard and six of flour to make a weak
paste; increase the proportion of mustard up to equal parts of mustard
and flour, according to the strength required. Use a smaller proportion
of mustard for children; one part of mustard with from 6 to 10 parts of
flour is generally enough. Add to the mustard and flour enough tepid
water to make a paste, which must be absolutely free from lumps. Do not
use hot water for this purpose, because it destroys some of the active
properties of the mustard. Spread the paste on thin muslin, apply it to
the skin, and remove it as soon as the skin is reddened so that its
color resembles that of a strong sun-burn. If the skin is especially
sensitive, mix a little sweet oil or vaseline with the paste.

_Mustard leaves_ should be dipped in tepid water and may then be applied
to the skin directly, but if specially sensitive, the skin should be
protected by thin muslin or gauze. The leaf should remain until the skin
is well reddened; a few minutes are generally sufficient.

Care must be taken not to leave either a mustard leaf or a paste in
place long enough to blister the skin. After the application has been
removed; the part should be protected by a soft cloth until redness
disappears. Vaseline or sweet oil should be applied to the skin if it is
greatly irritated.

Other counter-irritants in common use are iodine, turpentine, ammonia,
kerosene, camphorated oil, capsicum vaseline, and various liniments.
Tincture of iodine may be diluted with alcohol for especially sensitive
skins; it sometimes causes blisters, and should not be applied more than
once a day at most. Ammonia and turpentine cause blisters; they should
not be used as counter-irritants except by a doctor's order, and then
only after exact directions have been obtained. Turpentine and kerosene
are inflammable and hence dangerous to use. It should be remembered that
the action of all counter-irritants is physiologically the same, so that
no advantage is obtained from the use of dangerous substances like
kerosene and turpentine.


1. What are the causes and symptoms of inflammation?

2. Describe the process of inflammation.

3. What is the effect of heat on an inflamed area? of cold?

4. What are the dangers from hot applications, and how may they be
guarded against?

5. How should you fill a hot water bag? How should you cover it?

6. Describe the method of preparing and applying a flaxseed poultice.

7. Tell how to prepare and apply fomentations.

8. How should you apply cold compresses to the head? to the eyes?

9. How should you make a mustard paste for a baby six months old? for a
grown person only slightly ill? for a feeble old person with a sensitive


Essentials of Medicine--Emerson, Chapter I.

The Human Mechanism--Hough and Sedgwick, Chapter IX.



The first chapter of this book described the ways in which communicable
diseases are carried from person to person, and also some principles
underlying methods of prevention. This chapter aims to show how these
principles apply in the actual care of patients whose diseases are
transmissible. In order to apply them intelligently, it is necessary to
keep in mind certain facts in regard to the transmission of infections.
A brief summary of these facts follows.

Disease germs are present in the bodies of persons suffering from
communicable disease, but they may also exist in the bodies of persons
in good health; if present in the body, they may leave it in any bodily
discharge. While every kind of germ does not leave the body by all the
different routes, it is nevertheless true that most germs expelled from
the body are carried in discharges from the nose, throat, bladder or
bowels. Germ-laden discharges of an infected person may be distributed
to other persons by water, milk and other foods, by certain insects, by
unclean hands, by common drinking cups, towels, handkerchiefs, and
similar articles, and directly by nose and throat spray. After they have
been thus conveyed to other persons, the germs make their entrance into
the body of their new victims through the digestive tract, through the
nose, throat, and other mucous membranes, or through breaks in the skin.
Prevention of communicable diseases, therefore, depends upon the measure
of success attained in blocking the transit of germs from person to
person; but methods of prevention, though easy to understand, are
unfortunately sometimes difficult to carry out. In order to carry them
out effectively one must devote to the problem great accuracy,
unremitting care, considerable intelligence, and a highly developed

Care of a patient suffering from transmissible disease is adequate only
when it accomplishes two definite results. One result, which concerns
the patient primarily, is to bring about his recovery as rapidly and as
surely as possible; the other result, which concerns the community
rather than the individual, is to make it impossible for the patient to
infect others with his disease. In every case of communicable disease,
from a slight cold in the head up to serious cases of pneumonia or
typhoid fever, both the patient and the community must be constantly

INCUBATION PERIOD.--The interval between the moment when pathogenic
germs enter the body, and the time when symptoms first appear and the
patient begins to feel ill, is called the incubation period. Incubation
periods vary according to the disease from a few hours to two or three
weeks. The length of the period also varies somewhat in different cases
of the same disease.

symptoms of infectious diseases include fever, chill, sore throat, nasal
discharge, cough, headache, vomiting and other digestive disturbances,
and a general feeling of being sick all over. When one or more of these
symptoms appear, unless they are very slight, a doctor should be sent
for. The patient, whether child or grown person, should go to bed in a
room alone and should stay in bed at least as long as the fever and
symptoms of cold in the head continue, in order to protect others as
well as himself. Persons in active life, it is true, are not always able
to go to bed during colds; but there is no doubt that ultimately they
would save time by doing so. It is especially necessary for children to
remain in bed when suffering from colds, not only to insure their own
well-being but also to protect others, since children are notably
careless in regard to coughing, sneezing, and borrowing handkerchiefs.
The patient needs mental rest as well as physical, and should not be
allowed to work in bed.

The patient's nose and throat discharges should be received only in
material that can be burned, like old linen or muslin, gauze, or paper
napkins. As soon as they are soiled these handkerchief substitutes
should be placed in strong paper bags and afterward burned. Soiled
handkerchiefs lurking under pillows or in other parts of the bed may
infect other people or re-infect the patient. Handkerchiefs that may not
be burned should be placed as soon as soiled in a covered receptacle
filled with cold water containing a little washing soda; when several
have been collected they should be boiled in the same covered receptacle
for 20 minutes. After boiling they may go to the regular laundry.

The patient's diet at first should be liquid or semi-solid. Large
amounts of nourishment are not necessary during the first day or two,
especially if the illness is likely to be short, but water should be
taken as freely as possible. Cold drinks are generally acceptable during
the feverish stage, but lemonade and other acids should be used with
caution, since they sometimes irritate a sore throat. When the active
symptoms have subsided the patient will need more food than usual, and a
liberal, nourishing diet for a few days will do much to prevent the
weakness and depressed vitality that often follow colds, tonsilitis, and
other comparatively slight infections.

The bowels should be carefully regulated, and a mild cathartic is often
beneficial at the outset.

Even during slight illness a patient should receive the daily care
already described, and should be made as comfortable as possible. As in
any illness, sponging and alcohol rubs are refreshing. An ice bag or
cold compress may relieve headache, and hot applications or a cold
compress on the throat are often soothing. The throat may be gargled
with a solution of one teaspoonful of common salt dissolved in a pint of
boiled water. If the patient perspires profusely he should be rubbed
with a towel until dry, and provided with fresh warm, night clothes. An
alcohol rub may well follow. It is most unwise for a patient who is
perspiring freely to get up in a cold room and attend to himself.

Common colds are far more serious than they are usually supposed to be.

      "More people suffer from common colds than from any other
      single ailment.... Could the sum total of suffering,
      inconvenience, sequelæ, and economic loss resulting from
      common colds be obtained, it would at once promote these
      infections from the trivial into the rank of the serious
      diseases.... Colds are contracted from other persons having
      colds, just as diphtheria is contracted from diphtheria.
      Arctic explorers exposed to all the conditions ordinarily
      supposed to produce colds do not suffer from these ailments
      until they return to civilization and become infected by
      contact with their fellowmen.... While common colds are
      never fatal, the complications and sequelæ are serious.
      These are rheumatic fever, pneumonia, sinusitis, nephritis,
      and a depressed vitality which favors other infections and
      hastens the progress of organic diseases.

      "Common colds are perhaps most contagious during the early
      stages. If persons isolate themselves by remaining in bed
      during the first three days of a cold, they would not only
      benefit themselves, but would largely prevent the spread of
      the infection. The contagiousness and severity of colds
      differ in different epidemics and in different seasons of
      the year, depending upon the particular micro-organism
      involved and other factors not well understood.

      "PREVENTION.--The prevention of colds consists, first in
      avoiding the infection, and, secondly, in guarding against
      the predisposing causes. Contact should be avoided with
      persons who have colds, especially in street cars, offices,
      and other poorly ventilated spaces where the risk of
      persons coughing or sneezing directly in one's face is
      imminent. Contact with the infection may further be guarded
      against by a careful self-education in sanitary habits and
      cleanliness, based upon the modern conception of contact

      "Colds, like other diseases conveyed in the secretions from
      the nose and mouth, are often conveyed by direct and
      indirect contact through lack of hygienic cleanliness and a
      disregard of sanitary habits. Kissing, the common drinking
      cup, the roller towel, pipes, toys, pencils, fingers, food,
      and other objects contaminated with the fresh secretions
      will transmit the disease."--("Preventive Medicine and
      Hygiene," Rosenau.)

CARE DURING MORE SERIOUS INFECTIONS.--When a patient is suffering from
serious transmissible disease, he needs the most skillful care
available, and for the sake of others he must be strictly isolated or
quarantined. By isolating or quarantining a patient is meant making such
arrangements that germs expelled by the patient are necessarily
destroyed before they can enter the body of another person. Isolation,
therefore, includes disinfection, and while methods vary according to
the nature of the particular disease, yet the principles given below are
applicable in most cases.

The first essential is that the patient should have a room to himself.
No one except those caring for him should enter the sick-room for any
purpose whatever; visitors should be rigidly excluded. At the outset all
unnecessary articles should be removed from the sick-room, and it
should be possible to boil, burn, scrub, or otherwise thoroughly clean
everything allowed to remain. The windows should be screened in summer,
and flies must be excluded. Fresh air is especially needed by patients
with communicable diseases, and ventilation of the room must be adequate
both day and night. Foul odors plainly indicate that the patient or
something in the room is not clean. The remedy is obvious and deodorants
are quite unnecessary if the patient and the room are properly cared
for. It is highly desirable to reserve a bath room for the exclusive use
of the patient and his attendant and also to reserve a room adjoining
the patient's room for the exclusive use of the attendant. When it is
impossible, as it often is, to give up so much space, each family must
make the best arrangement it can to separate the patient and his
attendant from the rest of the family.

The attendant must remember that her ten fingers are the ten most active
agents in distributing the communicable diseases. After handling the
patient or anything that the patient has touched, and whenever she
leaves the patient's room, she must scrub her hands thoroughly with warm
water, soap, and a nail brush. She should not soil her hands
unnecessarily, even though she intends to scrub them later. She must
remember for her own protection to keep her hands away from her mouth
and face, and to cleanse them with special care just before eating. If
disinfection is needed in addition to the scrubbing, she must use
conscientiously whatever solution the doctor orders.

At the same time that she is caring for a patient with a communicable
disease, the attendant ought not to care for children or other members
of the family, she ought not to prepare food, and she ought not to
handle dishes or utensils used by other persons. Every day, however,
many women are doing just these things, and it is true that in many
instances no bad results are observed. Yet if any arrangement to insure
safety can possibly be made, it is inexcusable to run the risk of
spreading diseases which kill thousands of persons every year and injure
many more for life.

When home conditions render adequate care and strict isolation of the
patient impossible, hospital care should be seriously considered. No
personal or sentimental objections should be allowed to influence the
decision, if removing the patient to a hospital is necessary to
safeguard his welfare or the welfare of the family. Hospital care should
be considered especially for patients with typhoid fever, because
untrained persons cannot safely care for patients so seriously ill.
Since a patient with typhoid needs skilled care, and since he greatly
endangers other persons, most authorities consider hospital care
essential unless the patient can have the continuous services of a
trained nurse and almost ideal home conditions. Many cases of typhoid,
it is true, are successfully nursed at home in extremely adverse
conditions by visiting nurses; yet in few kinds of sickness is
continuous care by a graduate nurse more necessary to protect the
community as well as to safeguard the patient himself.

Members of a family in which there is typhoid should be immunized if the
doctor advises it. This process, which is performed by the doctor, in
the majority of cases renders a person immune to typhoid fever for three
or four years.

The question of home or institutional care for persons with tuberculosis
must also be carefully considered. In some cases tuberculosis may be
cared for at home with comparative safety, and in some other cases the
risk is not very great if the patient is intelligent, careful, and well
supervised. But everyone should face the fact that all cases of
tuberculosis of the lungs involve some risk to others in the family, and
most cases involve great risk. The danger to children is greater than to
adults. Most tuberculosis infections, it is now believed, are acquired
in childhood. The bad results of an infection acquired in childhood may
not show themselves for years, since the germs may remain inactive until
the person's resistance is lowered by some unfavorable condition.

THE CHILDREN'S DISEASES.--The so-called children's diseases are probably
the most familiar and the least regarded of all those belonging to the
communicable group. Most persons, it is true, realize that scarlet fever
is serious; everyone should also realize that measles and whooping-cough
are serious. For example, in the State of New York during the year 1916,
more children died from each of these diseases than from scarlet fever:
in that year 745, or four times the number that died of scarlet fever,
lost their lives from whooping-cough, while 913 died of measles. If
diseases that kill hundreds of children every year are not serious, one
is at a loss to know what a serious disease is.

Some parents even expose children unnecessarily to these infections on
the fatalistic theory that they must have the diseases sometime, and
therefore the sooner the better. Nothing could be more mistaken; the
diseases are not inevitable, and there is no advantage whatever in
having them if escape is possible. Moreover, serious as the children's
diseases are in themselves, their after-effects may be even more
serious. At this very moment hundreds of people are going through
life handicapped by weakened hearts or kidneys, by defective sight or
hearing, merely because their parents considered the children's diseases
necessary. The common belief that children should have these diseases as
early as possible is also erroneous, since statistics show that the
younger the child the more likely is the disease to prove fatal.

Every mother should realize that the children's diseases are most
infectious in the early stages. Early symptoms include fever, sore
throat, and nasal discharge, and the trouble at first often resembles a
severe cold. During this stage the diseases are most easily
communicated. Measles in particular is generally not recognized until
its most infectious stage has passed. The moral to be drawn is that sore
throats, coughs, and colds should never be regarded lightly, and that
their spread should be prevented by all possible means.

The accompanying table taken from the regulations of the New York State
Department of Health, gives symptoms of communicable diseases among
children, and rules for isolation and exclusion from school.



  Issued by the
  Division of Public Health Education

     DISEASE   |      PRINCIPAL SIGNS         |         METHOD OF       |
               |       AND SYMPTOMS           |         INFECTION       |
  CHICKENPOX   | Rarely begins with fever.    | Contact with discharges |
               | Rash appears on second day   | from nose and throat of |
               | as small pimples, which in   | a patient.              |
               | about a day become filled    |                         |
               | with clear fluid. This fluid |                         |
               | becomes yellow colored, a    |                         |
               | crust forms and the scab     |                         |
               | falls off in about 14 days.  |                         |
               | Successive crops of papules  |                         |
               | appear until tenth day.      |                         |
  DIPHTHERIA   | Onset may be rapid or        | Contact with discharges |
               | gradual. The back of the     | from nose and throat,   |
               | throat, tonsils, or palate   | occasionally by         |
               | may show patches. The most   | drinking infected milk. |
               | pronounced symptom is sore   |                         |
               | throat. There may be hardly  |                         |
               | any symptoms at all.         |                         |
  MEASLES      | Begins like cold in the      | Contact with discharges |
               | head, with running nose,     | from nose and throat    |
               | sneezing, inflamed and       | of a patient.           |
               | watery eyes and fever.       |                         |
               | Mulberry-tinted spots appear |                         |
               | about the third day; rash    |                         |
               | first seen behind the ears,  |                         |
               | on forehead and face. The    |                         |
               | rash varies with heat; may   |                         |
               | almost disappear if the air  |                         |
               | is cold, and come out again, |                         |
               | with warmth.                 |                         |
  MEASLES      | Illness usually slight.      | Same as above.          |
  (LIBERTY)    | Onset sudden. Lymph nodes in |                         |
               | back of neck enlarged. Rash  |                         |
               | often first thing noticed;   |                         |
               | no cold in head. Usually     |                         |
               | have fever, sore throat, and |                         |
               | the eyes may be inflamed.    |                         |
               | Rash sometimes resembles     |                         |
               | measles and scarlet fever,   |                         |
               | variable.                    |                         |
  MUMPS        | Onset may be sudden,         | Same as above.          |
               | beginning with sickness and  |                         |
               | fever, and pain about the    |                         |
               | angle of the jaw. The        |                         |
               | parotid glands become        |                         |
               | swollen and tender. Opening  |                         |
               | the mouth is accompanied by  |                         |
               | pain.                        |                         |
  POLIOMYELITIS| Onset sudden, fever,         | Contact with discharge  |
               | excitable, pain on bending   | from nose, throat or    |
               | neck forward, pain on being  | bowels of a patient     |
               | handled, headache, vomiting. | or carrier.             |
               | Sometimes sudden development |                         |
               | of weakness of one or more   |                         |
               | muscle groups.               |                         |
  SCARLET      | The onset is usually sudden, | Discharges from nose    |
  FEVER        | with headache, fever, sore   | and mouth, suppurating  |
               | throat, and often vomiting.  | glands or ears of a     |
               | Usually within twenty-four   | patient.                |
               | hours the rash appears as    | Milk may convey         |
               | fine, evenly diffused, and   | infection.              |
               | bright red dots under skin.  |                         |
               | The rash is seen first on    |                         |
               | the neck and upper part of   |                         |
               | chest, and lasts three to    |                         |
               | ten days, when it fades and  |                         |
               | the skin peels in scales,    |                         |
               | flakes, or even large        |                         |
               | pieces.                      |                         |
  SMALLPOX     | Onset sudden usually with    | All discharges of a     |
               | fever and severe backache.   | patient and particles   |
               | About third day upon         | of skin or scabs.       |
               | subsidence of constitutional |                         |
               | symptoms red shot-like       |                         |
               | pimples, felt below the      |                         |
               | skin, and seen first about   |                         |
               | the face and wrists most on  |                         |
               | exposed surfaces, develop.   |                         |
               | They form little blisters    |                         |
               | and after two days more      |                         |
               | become filled with yellowish |                         |
               | matter. Scabs form which     |                         |
               | begin to fall off about the  |                         |
               | fourteenth day.              |                         |
  SORE THROAT, | Begins with sore throat and  | Discharges from nose    |
  ACUTE,       | weakness. Throat diffusely   | and mouth of a          |
  SEPTIC       | reddened and may show        | patient.                |
               | patches like diphtheria.     |                         |
  WHOOPING     | Begins with cough which is   | Discharges from nose    |
  COUGH        | worse at night. Symptoms may | and mouth of a          |
               | at first be very mild.       | patient.                |
               | Characteristic "whooping"    |                         |
               | cough develops in about 2    |                         |
               | weeks, and the spasm of      |                         |
               | coughing sometimes ends with |                         |
               | vomiting.                    |                         |
               |             EXCLUSION FROM SCHOOL              |
               |       | OTHER CHILDREN    |    OTHER SCHOOL    |
               |       |    OF SAME        |     CHILDREN       |
               |       +--------+----------+--------+-----------+
               |Patient|        |          |        |           |
               |       | Non-   |          | Non-   |           |
               |       | immunes|Immunes[3]| immunes| Immunes[3]|
               |       |        |          |        |           |
  CHICKENPOX   |  Yes  |   Yes  |    No    |   Yes  |    No     |
  DIPHTHERIA   |  Yes  |   Yes  |    Yes   |   Yes  |    Yes    |
  MEASLES      |  Yes  |   Yes  |    No    |   Yes  |    No     |
  MEASLES      |  Yes  |   Yes  |    No    |   Yes  |    No     |
  (LIBERTY)    |       |        |          |        |           |
  MUMPS        |  Yes  |   Yes  |    No    |   Yes  |    No     |
  POLIOMYELITIS|  Yes  |   Yes  |    Yes   |   Yes  |    Yes    |
  SCARLET      |  Yes  |   Yes  |    Yes   |   Yes  |    Yes    |
  FEVER        |       |        |          |        |           |
  SMALLPOX     |  Yes  |   Yes  |    Yes   |   Yes  |    No     |
  SORE THROAT, |  Yes  |   No   |    No    |   No   |    No     |
  ACUTE,       |       |        |          |        |           |
  SEPTIC       |       |        |          |        |           |
  WHOOPING     |  Yes  |   Yes  |    No    |   Yes  |    No     |
  COUGH        |       |        |          |        |           |
              |               DURATION OF EXCLUSION FROM DATE OF ONSET           |
              |              |  PATIENT   |      PATIENT REMAINS    |            |
              |              |  GOES TO   |        ISOLATED AT      |            |
              |              |  HOSPITAL  |           HOME          |            |
    DISEASE   |              +------------+------------+------------+            |
              |  PATIENT     | Other      | Other      | Children   |  Children  |
              |              | children   | children   | who leave  |  exposed   |
              |              | of         | who        | household  |  at        |
              |              | the same   | remain at  | as soon as |  school    |
              |              | household  | home       | disease is |            |
              |              |            |            | discovered |            |
  CHICKENPOX  | Until all    | Exclude if non-immune until          |Exclude     |
              | scabs are    | 21st day after child last            |from        |
              | shed and     | saw patient.                         |school if   |
              | disinfection |                                      |non-immune  |
              | of person;   |                                      |during      |
              | at least     |                                      |11th to 22d |
              | 12 days.     |                                      |days after  |
              |              |                                      |child last  |
              |              |                                      |saw patient.|
  DIPHTHERIA  |Until         | Until two cultures at least 24       |            |
              |patient is    | hours apart are reported             |            |
              |recovered     | negative. Those showing              |            |
              |and has two   | diphtheria bacilli should not        |            |
              |cultures      | necessarily be immunized             |            |
              |from throat   | unless symptoms appear.              |            |
              |and nose which|                                      |            |
              |contain no    |                                      |            |
              |diphtheria    |                                      |            |
              |bacilli;      |                                      |            |
              |cultures not  |                                      |            |
              |to be taken   |                                      |            |
              |until 9 days  |                                      |            |
              |from date of  |                                      |            |
              |onset.        |                                      |            |
              |Disinfection  |                                      |            |
              |of person.    |                                      |            |
  MEASLES     | Until        | Exclude non-immunes until            |If          |
              | recovery and | 15th day after child last            |non-immune  |
              | disinfection | saw patient.                         |exclude     |
              | of person;   |                                      |from school |
              | at least 7   |                                      |during 8th  |
              | days from    |                                      |to 15th     |
              | onset.       |                                      |day after   |
              |              |                                      |child last  |
              |              |                                      |saw patient.|
  MEASLES     | Until        | Exclude if non-immune until          |Exclude from|
  (LIBERTY)   | recovery and | 22d day after child last             |school if   |
              | disinfection | saw patient.                         |non-immune  |
              | of person;   |                                      |during 11th |
              | at least 8   |                                      |to 22d days |
              | days.        |                                      |after       |
              |              |                                      |child last  |
              |              |                                      |saw patient.|
  MUMPS       |Two weeks     | Exclude 15th to 22d day after        |Exclude     |
              |after onset   | child last saw patient.              |from 15th   |
              |and one week  |                                      |to 22d day  |
              |after         |                                      |after child |
              |disappearance |                                      |last saw    |
              |of swelling   |                                      |patient.    |
              |and after     |                                      |            |
              |disinfection  |                                      |            |
              |of person.    |                                      |            |
  POLIO-      | Until        | 14 days    | Until 14   | 14 days    |            |
  MYELITIS    | patient is   | from time  | days       | from time  |            |
              | recovered.   | child      | after      | child      |            |
              | Disinfection | last saw   | quarantine | last       |            |
              | of person at | patient.   | raised.    | saw        |            |
              | least 21     |            |            | patient.   |            |
              | days.        |            |            |            |            |
  SCARLET     |At least 30   | Seven days | Until      | Seven      |            |
  FEVER       |days and until| from time  | seven days | days from  |            |
              |discharges    | child      | after      | time       |            |
              |have ceased   | last saw   | quarantine | child      |            |
              |and           | patient.   | raised.    | last saw   |            |
              |disinfection  |            |            | patient.   |            |
              |of person.    |            |            |            |            |
  SMALLPOX    |Recovery and  |Exclude if  |Exclude if  |Exclude if  |Exclude 20  |
              |disinfection  |non-immune  |non-immune  |non-immune  |days unless |
              |of person     |until 21st  |until 20    |until 21st  |they have   |
              |at least 14   |day after   |days after  |day after   |been        |
              |days.         |child last  |quarantine  |child last  |successfully|
              |              |saw patient,|has been    |saw patient,|vaccinated  |
              |              |or 7 days   |raised or   |or 7 days   |within 1    |
              |              |after       |7 days after|after       |year in     |
              |              |successful  |successful  |successful  |which       |
              |              |vaccination |vaccination |vaccination |case they   |
              |              |and         |and         |and         |may return  |
              |              |disinfection|disinfection|disinfection|at once.    |
              |              |of person.  |of person.  |of person.  |            |
  SORE THROAT,|Until         |                                      |            |
  ACUTE,      |recovery.     |                                      |            |
  SEPTIC      |              |                                      |            |
  WHOOPING    |Eight weeks   | Fourteen days provided no cough      |            |
  COUGH       |or until 1    | develops.                            |            |
              |week after    |                                      |            |
              |last          |                                      |            |
              |characteristic|                                      |            |
              |cough and     |                                      |            |
              |disinfection  |                                      |            |
              |of person.    |                                      |            |
     DISEASE   |                  Remarks                         |
               |                                                  |
  CHICKENPOX   | A mild disease and seldom any after effects.     |
  DIPHTHERIA   | Very dangerous, both during attack and from      |
               | after effects. When diphtheria occurs in a       |
               | school all children suffering from sore throat   |
               | should be excluded and the health officer        |
               | notified. The medical school inspector or        |
               | health officer should take cultures from all     |
               | inflamed throats and noses. There is great       |
               | variation of type, and mild cases are often      |
               | not recognized, but are as infectious as         |
               | severe cases. There is frequently no immunity    |
               | from further attacks.                            |
  MEASLES      | After effects often severe. Period of greatest   |
               | risk of infection three days, before and after   |
               | the rash appears. Great variation in type        |
               | of disease. Dangerous in children under 2        |
               | years of age. During an outbreak all children    |
               | having a temperature over 99°F. should           |
               | be sent home and the health officer notified.    |
  MEASLES      | After effects slight. Regulations strict,        |
  (LIBERTY)    | because frequently confused with scarlet fever.  |
  MUMPS        | Seldom leaves after effects. Very infectious.    |
               | Inflammation of genital organs of male or        |
               | female may occur.                                |
  POLIOMYELITIS| Disease is most communicable in the early        |
               | stages. After effect is paralysis of certain     |
               | muscle groups, transitory or permanent.          |
               | Death is due usually to paralysis of             |
               | respiratory muscles.                             |
  SCARLET      | Dangerous both during attack and from after      |
  FEVER        | effects. Great variation in type of disease.     |
               | Slight attacks are as infectious as severe       |
               | ones. Many mild cases not diagnosed and          |
               | many concealed. A second attack is rare.         |
               | When scarlet fever occurs in a school, all       |
               | cases of sore throat should be sent home and     |
               | health officer notified. Most fatal in           |
               | children under ten years.                        |
  SMALLPOX     | Peculiarly infectious. When smallpox occurs      |
               | in connection with a school or with any of       |
               | the children's homes all persons exposed         |
               | must be vaccinated or quarantined for a          |
               | period of 20 days. Cases of modified smallpox    |
               | in vaccinated persons, may be, and often         |
               | are, so slight as to escape detection. Fact      |
               | of existence of disease may be concealed.        |
               | Mild or modified smallpox is as infectious as    |
               | severe type.                                     |
  SORE THROAT, | Often leads to serious results, affections of    |
  ACUTE,       | heart, kidneys, etc. Very apt to occur in        |
  SEPTIC       | epidemics due to milk contaminated by a          |
               | patient suffering from the disease.              |
  WHOOPING     | After effects often very severe and disease      |
  COUGH        | causes great debility. Relapses are apt to       |
               | occur. Second attack rare. Specially             |
               | infectious for first week or two. If a child     |
               | vomits after a paroxysm of coughing, it is       |
               | probably suffering from whooping cough.          |
               | Great variation in type of disease. Often        |
               | fatal in young children.                         |

  [3] Immunes are those who have had the diseases or in smallpox, who
  have been successfully vaccinated within a year.

  DISINFECTION: The cleansing and disinfection of the person includes
  washing the entire body and the hair with soap and water; thorough
  brushing of the teeth; rinsing the mouth; gargling the throat, and
  douching and spraying the nose with an antiseptic solution; and
  finally, a complete change of clothing (or a change of underwear and
  a thorough shaking and brushing of the outer garments out of doors
  before these are put on again). (_Facing p. 247_)

It may be added that the ways by which poliomyelitis, or infantile
paralysis, is spread are not definitely known at the time of writing.
We are justified, however, in believing that investigation now in
progress will make exact information available in the near future.

      "The weight of present opinion inclines to the view that
      poliomyelitis is exclusively a human disease, and is spread
      by personal contact, whatever other causes may be found to
      contribute to its spread. In personal contact we mean to
      include all the usual opportunities, direct or indirect,
      immediate or intermediate, for the transference of body
      discharges from person to person, having in mind as a
      possibility that the infection may occur through
      contaminated food.

      "The incubation period has not been definitely established
      in human beings. The information at hand indicates that it
      is less than two weeks, and probably in the great majority
      of cases between 3 and 8 days."--(Report of Special
      Committee on Infantile Paralysis, American Journal of
      Public Health, November 1916.)


Specific directions for disinfecting in every kind of communicable
disease would be too extended to be given here. In each case the
attendant should learn from the doctor just how that particular disease
is communicated, just what discharges, utensils, linen, etc., need to be
disinfected, and just what disinfectants he prefers to have used. The
following general methods are now in use, but it must be remembered that
from time to time new methods are devised and new disinfectants are

CARE OF NOSE AND THROAT DISCHARGES.--The care of handkerchiefs has
already been described on page 239. Cloths or cotton used to wipe the
eyes or to receive any other bodily discharge including vomitus, should
be collected in the same way and burned. Everyone should be taught in
early childhood to cover the nose and mouth with a handkerchief during
coughing and sneezing; if the patient has not already learned to do so
he must be taught now. If the amount of expectoration is great,
waterproof receptacles should be provided, which should be burned with
their contents.

following preparations are commonly used to disinfect stools and urine:
5% solution of carbolic acid; chloride of lime solution, made freshly
whenever needed by mixing thoroughly ½ pound of chloride of lime with
one gallon of water; and unslaked lime to which is added _hot_ water.
The amount of carbolic solution used should be about equal in bulk to
the amount of material to be disinfected; the chloride of lime solution
should be at least twice, and the unslaked lime at least one-eighth the
bulk. Fecal masses should be broken up so that the disinfectant may
reach every part; they may be stirred with tightly twisted toilet paper,
which should be left in the bedpan and disinfected with the stools. If
these substances are used, disinfection is considered complete at the
end of an hour, and the contents of the bedpan may then be emptied into
the toilet with safety. It may be necessary to provide two bedpans so
that one may be available for use while the contents of the other is
being disinfected. Bedpans and urinals should be boiled daily and kept
thoroughly clean at all times.

In places having no sewerage system, disinfected discharges may be
emptied into a trench situated at a distance from the well, and then
covered with earth. As an extra precaution, the disinfected discharges
may be mixed with sawdust or kerosene and burned in the trench.
Directions for installing a sanitary privy may be found in Bulletin 68
of the United States Public Health Service.

BATH WATER and water that has been used for cleansing the teeth and
mouth may be disinfected in the same way as urine, or it may be emptied
into a suitable receptacle and boiled ten minutes.

CARE OF THE HANDS.--Disinfectants for the hands should be used in
addition to scrubbing with soap and water, not as a substitute. The
hands may be disinfected after scrubbing by soaking them for three
minutes in one of the following solutions: alcohol 70%, carbolic acid
solution 2½%, or a solution made by adding one teaspoonful of lysol or
of creolin to a pint of water. These disinfectants are poisons if taken
internally; the bottles must be carefully labeled and kept in a safe
place. It is a good plan to wear rubber gloves when handling infective
material; the gloves should afterward be boiled for ten minutes.

CARE OF UTENSILS.--A sufficient number of dishes, spoons, tumblers,
basins, etc. must be reserved for the patient's exclusive use; these
utensils must be washed separately and dried with towels not used for
other dishes. Mistakes frequently occur by which other persons use the
patient's dishes, and in consequence his dishes should not be kept in
the cupboard with other dishes; if no other safe place can be found,
they had better stay in the patient's room covered with a clean cloth or
napkin. The dishes should be scalded daily and at the termination of the
illness they must be boiled briskly for ten minutes before they are
returned to general use. Food left on the patient's tray should be
burned; it should not be eaten by any one else, nor placed in the pantry
or refrigerator with other food.

CARE OF LINEN.--A satisfactory way to disinfect towels, night gowns, bed
linen, etc. is to place the articles immediately in a wash boiler filled
with cold water to which a little washing soda has been added, and then
to boil them in the same water for twenty minutes; they can afterward
go safely into the regular laundry. The boiling may be done once a day;
articles soiled in the meantime may be left to soak in the cold water
and soda.

DISINFECTION OF THE PERSON.--"The cleansing and disinfection of the
person includes washing the entire body and the hair with soap and
water; thorough brushing of the teeth; rinsing the mouth; gargling the
throat, and douching and spraying the nose with an antiseptic solution;
and finally, a complete change of clothing (or a change of underwear)
and a thorough shaking and brushing of the outer garments out-of-doors
before these are put on again."--(New York State Department of Health.)

TERMINATION OF QUARANTINE.--After the patient has recovered, he and the
attendant should, if the doctor thinks it necessary, disinfect
themselves as directed above before they mingle again with other people.
The exact time when it is safe for a person to come out of quarantine
and resume ordinary life varies in different diseases. Moreover, opinion
differs in regard to quarantine periods for the same diseases, so that
the regulations of Boards of Health in different cities show wide
variations. It is of course impossible to say at just what moment every
patient, or even the majority of patients, will stop expelling germs.
Quarantine periods are intended to protect the community as completely
as possible without causing unnecessary hardship to individuals. In any
given case, the local regulations should be strictly observed but
release from quarantine is not a guarantee that the patient is not still
discharging germs, and extreme care should still be taken to prevent the
spread of saliva and other discharges.

TERMINAL DISINFECTION.--A room that has been occupied by a patient with
a communicable disease should be thoroughly cleaned at the termination
of the illness. Dishes, utensils, bed linen, etc. should be cared for in
the ways already described. The floor, bedstead, and other furniture
should be washed with hot water, soap, and washing soda. The walls,
windows, etc., should be wiped with a cloth wrung out of hot water, soap
suds, and soda. The mattress, unless badly soiled with discharges,
should be scrubbed with the same solution and a stiff brush, and left
out-of-doors in the sunshine for a day or two, or until dry. If badly
soiled, it is best to destroy the mattress unless the Board of Health
has facilities for steam sterilization. Ordinary washing is all that is
generally required for blankets, but if badly soiled they should be
sterilized by steam or burned. The room should then be thoroughly
sunned and aired for a day or two, with the windows wide open both day
and night. Sunning and airing are among the most important measures in
disinfecting a room, and should not be slighted. If there has been gross
pollution, as when a careless consumptive persists in spitting on the
floor and walls, it may be necessary to remove the old paint and paper
and have the room done over. The room may safely be occupied after all
these measures have been taken.

FUMIGATION.--Many Boards of Health have abandoned fumigation after
communicable diseases, except after those which like typhus and yellow
fever, are carried by vermin or insects. Dry formaldehyde gas, which was
formerly used for fumigation, has a violent effect on mucous membranes,
but its power to kill bacteria, even on surfaces, appears to be weak,
while its penetrating power is not sufficient to disinfect bedding,
carpets, upholstered furniture, and other fabrics. Since fumigation is
costly, troublesome, and ineffectual there seems to be no good reason
for using it. Moreover, its use gives a false sense of security, so that
really effective measures like sunning, airing, and scrubbing are likely
to be neglected.

Theory and practice of disinfection, it is clear, have radically
changed in recent years. Modern knowledge requires concurrent
disinfection, or the destruction of germs from the moment when symptoms
are first noticed; all the time, day and night, this disinfection must
go on with unremitting care. Today wet sheets are not hung in doorways
nor are chemicals left about in open dishes to disinfect quite harmless
air, but scrupulous cleanliness at all stages of disease is recognized
as one of the most important measures, if not the most important
measure, in disinfection.


1. Summarize the ways in which infectious diseases are spread.

2. What is meant by the incubation period? State the length of the
incubation period in measles; Liberty measles; whooping-cough; scarlet
fever; chicken-pox; diphtheria; mumps; typhoid fever.

3. Name some of the early symptoms common to most infectious diseases.
If such symptoms appear, what should be done while waiting for the
doctor to come?

4. Discuss the importance, prevention, and treatment of common colds.

5. What measures should be taken to isolate a patient who is suffering
from a communicable disease?

6. What special care should the attendant of a patient with a
communicable disease give to her own clothing and person?

7. Why are the children's diseases more serious in reality than they are
commonly supposed to be?

8. Describe the symptoms of each of the following: Measles, scarlet
fever, chicken-pox, mumps, whooping-cough, and diphtheria.

9. How should bowel and bladder discharges be disinfected?

10. How should dishes and other utensils be disinfected?

11. How should linen be disinfected?

12. Describe measures necessary for concurrent disinfection.

13. Describe measures necessary for terminal disinfection.


Preventive Medicine and Hygiene--Rosenau.

The New Public Health--Hill, Chapters VII-XVII.

Essentials of Medicine--Emerson, Chapters XII-XV.

Health and Disease--Roger I. Lee, Chapter X-XIV.

Disease and Its Causes--Councilman, Chapters V-IX.

Publications of the New York State Department of Health, Albany,
entitled: The Teacher and Communicable Disease; A Method for the Control
of Communicable Diseases in Schools; Regulations and Instructions for
Cleansing and Disinfection; The Conduct of an Isolation Period for
Communicable Disease in a Home; Tuberculosis; Typhoid Fever; Scarlet
Fever; Measles; Whooping-cough; Diphtheria; Poliomyelitis, Acute
Anterior (Infantile Paralysis); Smallpox; Septic Sore Throat; Venereal
Diseases. (Any of the above pamphlets will be sent upon receipt of a
three cent stamp.)



This chapter describes a few home treatments for the relief of slight
ailments and injuries, together with some measures that may be employed
in emergencies. For more extended instructions in these subjects the
student should consult the Red Cross Text-book on First Aid.


HEADACHE.--Headache is not a disease in itself, but a symptom common to
many different disorders. Among the abnormal conditions often causing
headaches are fatigue, eyestrain, indigestion, constipation, neuralgia,
rheumatism, anæmia, acute infections, and other disorders. Treatment
should consist in finding the cause and removing it if possible; clearly
no one remedy can cure so many different causes. A physician should be
consulted if headaches are of frequent occurrence, but in many cases
rest and attention to other hygienic requirements are all that is
needed. During an attack of headache a hot foot bath may give relief, or
a mustard paste or cold applications on the back of the neck, or an ice
bag or cold compress on the forehead.

SLEEPLESSNESS, like headache, has many possible causes, and effective
treatment consists in finding and removing them. Pain or discomfort of
any kind, fatigue, overwork, and worry are common causes. Sleeplessness
easily becomes a habit that may persist after its cause has been
removed; hence a person who has formed the habit of sleeplessness should
patiently strive to break the old habit and to substitute a better. A
careful hygienic régime is essential for the patient, exercise in the
open air, and cultivation of a hopeful and tranquil spirit. The diet
should be liberal, but light and unstimulating; tea and coffee should be
omitted, certainly during the latter part of the day. The patient should
spend rather a dull evening, avoiding excitement and mental exertion
that is difficult, even though pleasurable. He should retire early. A
hot tub or foot bath, and a hot drink at bed time may help to produce
sleep. The bedroom should be dark, cool, and well ventilated, the bed
comfortable and the covers light but warm. The patient should be told
that rest is the most important thing for him, and that he should not
try too hard to sleep nor worry if unsuccessful. The patient should try
to banish from his mind, at bed time, thoughts that are distressing, and
even those that are especially interesting. By using patience and
persistence most persons can regain the power of sleeping even when
habits of sleeplessness have been long established.

FAINTING is a partial or total loss of consciousness due to a diminished
supply of blood in the brain. It may follow bleeding, exhaustion from
heat, fatigue from prolonged standing and the like, or strong emotional
disturbance, like fear or surprise. Fainting is less common than it
formerly was; it now occurs most frequently among persons suffering from
anæmia, heart weakness, or special susceptibility.

Symptoms of fainting are pale face, cold perspiration, rapid, feeble
pulse, and shallow, sighing respiration. Treatment consists in removing
the patient into cool, fresh air, applying cold water to the face and
keeping the head low. For a person who feels faint but has not lost
consciousness, this treatment will probably prove sufficient; if,
however, he becomes unconscious, place him so that the head is lower
than the body, loosen the clothing, especially the clothing about the
neck, apply cold water to the face and chest, and see that fresh air is
plentiful. When the patient is sufficiently conscious to swallow, give a
teaspoonful of aromatic spirits of ammonia in half a glass of water and
keep him quiet until he has entirely recovered.

A person who is unconscious from any cause always requires immediate
attention. In emergency work elevate the patient's head if his face is
flushed, and keep it low if his face is pale. Do not try to arouse an
unconscious patient by shaking him and calling to him, in the first
place because it is useless to do so, and in the second, because
consciousness will return spontaneously if his condition improves.

CONVULSIONS.--In every case of convulsions a doctor is needed at the
earliest possible moment. Convulsions in adults are very serious; in
babies and small children although serious they are less alarming, since
they may follow comparatively slight disturbances, particularly
disturbances of digestion.

Treatment for babies and children with convulsions consists first in
keeping the child as quiet as possible, and next in measures to draw
blood from the brain toward the surface of the body. The child should
first be undressed, moving him as little as possible, and put to bed
between warm blankets. Cold should be applied to his head by a compress
or ice bag, and hot water bag should be placed near his feet. An enema
should then be given. A warm tub bath is sometimes used to apply heat,
if the convulsion has not subsided by the time the child is undressed.
If the bath is given the temperature of the water should not be above
106°, and should be tested by a thermometer. If no thermometer is
available, the water should be tested with the elbow rather than the
hand, and cold water should be added if it feels uncomfortably warm.
There is great danger of scalding a child during the excitement
inevitably caused by a convulsion.

Although haste is needed when a child has convulsions, yet quiet is
essential, since the slightest movement tends to increase the
convulsions or to start them again. As soon as the convulsions are over
the child should be removed from the bath and put to bed between warm
blankets. Even after the symptoms have completely subsided, the greatest
care should be taken to keep the child quiet. He should be handled and
disturbed as little as possible. The bath should be repeated if
convulsions begin again. The doctor, when he comes, will probably order
a dose of castor oil; and therefore, if it is impossible to obtain a
doctor at once, the dose should be given.

SHOCK (in the medical sense of the word) or _collapse_, is a serious
condition in which a patient's vitality and all his bodily processes are
profoundly depressed. Generally shock occurs only after a severe injury
or a long exhausting illness. Since, however, some persons are
peculiarly susceptible to it, the possibility of shock must be kept in
mind in treating even slight injuries. The probability of shock is
somewhat increased if patients are allowed to see their own wounds.
Injured persons should always sit or lie down while wounds, however
slight, are dressed.

Symptoms of shock are pallor, pinched, anxious expression, dilated
pupils, cold clammy skin, feeble breathing, and rapid, weak pulse. The
patient may be mentally normal, or irrational, or unconscious, but more
frequently he appears stupid, and though conscious, he pays no attention
to what is going on. Unfortunately this condition is sometimes mistaken
for sleepiness, and he is left alone to sleep just when active measures
are most needed.

If a patient shows any symptom of shock the doctor should be summoned
immediately, but no time should be lost in beginning treatment, since
the condition may be critical. It should be remembered, however, that
panic and confusion may alarm a patient who is conscious, and thus
increase the shock. The patient should be covered warmly, and undressed
under blankets, without exposure or avoidable moving. His head should be
low, and as quickly as possible hot water bags should be placed near but
not upon him. If the patient is conscious and able to swallow he should
be given hot coffee or aromatic spirits of ammonia, one teaspoonful in
half a glass of water. The legs and arms should be rubbed from the
extremities toward the heart, but care should be taken to avoid touching
or moving injured parts. The patient should stay in bed, warmly covered
and closely watched for some time after he has apparently recovered.

Helping a patient into bed is not necessarily the first thing to be done
in every case of sudden illness. Great harm may be done by the
injudicious moving of injured persons, and often it is safer to make a
person comfortable with pillows and blankets where he happens to be,
certainly until a sufficient number of people can be found to lift him
properly. Clothing should be removed carefully, and one should not
hesitate to cut it away if undressing is painful or necessitates much

STIMULANTS, in emergency work, are frequently misused. They should not
be given when the head has been injured, when bleeding is profuse, or
when the face is red and the pulse strong. Neither should attempts be
made to give fluids of any kind to patients not sufficiently conscious
to swallow. Safe stimulants to use are black coffee, tea, or aromatic
spirits of ammonia. Alcoholic liquors should not be given unless
prescribed by a physician.

SUNSTROKE AND HEAT EXHAUSTION are both caused by excessive heat either
indoors or out, but they differ both in symptoms and in treatment.

Sunstroke or heat stroke, usually begins with acute pain in the head,
followed almost immediately by loss of consciousness. The skin is dry
and very hot, the face is red or purple, the pupils are dilated, the
breathing is difficult, the pulse is slow, and the temperature high.

Treatment consists in sending for the doctor, removing the patient to a
cool place, undressing him and applying cold, especially to the head and
spine, or still better, placing him in a very cold bath. The body should
be rubbed constantly in the direction of the heart. Stimulants should
not be given.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion, on the other hand, resemble those of shock.
The doctor should be summoned, and the patient should be removed to a
cool and quiet place, where he should stay warmly covered in a reclining
position. Stimulants should be given, hot water bags applied, and the
other measures for treating shock should be employed.


NAUSEA AND VOMITING are frequently caused by injudicious eating,
especially when a person is worried or fatigued. A doctor should be
consulted if either one occurs often, or if vomiting is accompanied by
pain, prostration, diarrhœa, fever, or other acute symptoms. A person
who is nauseated should lie down in a cool, quiet place. Hot
fomentations may be applied to the abdomen, or a mustard paste over the
stomach. Soda mints or a teaspoonful of baking soda may be given
dissolved in hot water, and unless diarrhœa is present a Seidlitz
powder or other saline cathartic may be given. A large quantity of warm
water may be given to wash out the stomach; it is more effectual if salt
or mustard is added, in the proportion of one teaspoonful to a glass of

HICCOUGH, which is usually caused by digestive disturbances, is not
serious in healthy people, and can generally be stopped by holding the
breath, or by drinking water. If these measures are not effectual, salt
or mustard in water as already described or a teaspoonful of the syrup
of ipecac, may be given to produce vomiting. If the hiccough still
continues, medical advice should be obtained.

DIARRHŒA is ordinarily caused by an infection, or by an offending
substance in the intestines. The offending substance should be removed
before attempts are made to check the diarrhœa. When a baby has diarrhœa
four things should be done--all food should be withheld; boiled water
should be given freely; bowel movements should be saved for the doctor
to see; and unless a doctor can be found immediately, castor oil should
be given, from one-half to one teaspoonful according to the age of the
child. Similar treatment should be given to older children. Adults
should take one tablespoonful of castor oil and drink boiled water
freely, but they should take no food until the doctor comes.

CONSTIPATION has been discussed on pages 193 and 52.

COLIC is a sharp, intermittent pain in the abdominal region; it is
caused in many instances by indigestion or chilling. The following
remedies may relieve it: a hot water bag, an emetic, as salt or mustard
in luke-warm water, a Seidlitz powder or other saline cathartic, soda
mints, or a teaspoonful of syrup of ginger in hot water. Unless it feels
sore or tender, the abdomen may be rubbed up, on the right side, across,
just below the waist, and down, on the left side. Babies may be given a
few teaspoonfuls of warm water, or an enema of salt and water.

Colic may be serious. The doctor should be summoned at once if the
patient seems exhausted, if the pain is severe, if pain is increased
rather than relieved by pressure, if the abdomen feels sore, especially
on the right side, or if sharp abdominal pain is accompanied by fever,
vomiting, and stubborn constipation. If the above-mentioned symptoms are
present, no food, drink, or medicine should be given until the doctor


STYES generally accompany eyestrain or poor general health. The cause
should be found and treated; and especial attention should be given to
correcting eyestrain, indigestion, and constipation. Hot applications
may be used, but if pus gathers, the stye should be treated by a

FOREIGN BODIES IN THE EYE may sometimes be removed by blowing the nose
violently, by yawning several times, or by drawing the upper lid down
over the lower. The eye should not be rubbed. If it proves impossible to
dislodge the object by these methods or by others similar, the patient's
eyelid should be turned back in the following way: Let the patient sit
with his head back in a low chair placed in a good light, and stand
behind him holding his head between your side and upper arm. In this
position the patient's head is held firmly while both of the operator's
hands are free. Next draw down the lower lid, and remove the object, if
visible, on the corner of a clean handkerchief. To turn back the upper
lid, grasp the eyelashes firmly, draw the lid down, out, and then up
over a match or pencil placed across the middle line of the lid and held
in your other hand. Then wipe the object carefully away if it is

Irritation that persists after the foreign body has been removed may be
relieved by a cold compress continued for an hour or more, or by a drop
or two of castor oil placed under the lid. If attempts to remove the
foreign body prove unsuccessful, if the injury is severe, or if
irritation continues after several hours, apply a cold compress, bandage
it firmly so that the eyeball is kept at rest, and seek the aid of a

DISORDERS AFFECTING THE EARS.--Permanent deafness may result from
neglecting disorders of the ears. Ear-ache, discharge from the ear,
swelling in or about it, pain or tenderness behind it, all require
medical attention and no time should be lost in securing it. To relieve
pain the patient may lie with the ear on an ice bag, but nothing
whatever should be put into the ear before the doctor comes, except when
an insect has entered the ear, and causes acute distress by the noise of
its beating wings. If such an accident has occurred, the patient should
lie on the unaffected side, and warm sweet oil should be dropped very
gently into the affected ear by means of a medicine dropper. The insect
generally drowns in the oil and floats to the opening of the ear canal.
After it has been removed, the patient should lie on the affected side
so that the oil may drain out of the ear.

No attempts should be made to remove foreign bodies from the ear or
nose, unless they can be reached easily with the fingers. Hair pins,
crochet hooks and similar instruments should never be used for this
purpose. It is best for a doctor to remove foreign objects because
unskillful attempts are likely to move them further in.


PRICKLY-HEAT, which affects babies and children more often than adults,
is an eruption caused by heat and moisture, and aggravated by flannel
underwear. It may be prevented by keeping the skin dry and cool, and it
may be relieved by bathing the skin with alcohol and water, about one
part of alcohol to three of water, and by using after the bath a powder
made of two parts of starch to one of boracic acid, or any good talcum

INSECT BITES AND STINGS.--The sting, if still in the wound, should first
be removed, and then ammonia should be applied, since the poison is
generally acid. Applications of cold water, alcohol and water, or wet
salt may relieve the subsequent burning and itching, but ammonia is
generally most effective.

IVY POISONING may be treated by applying cloths wet in a strong solution
of baking soda or of boracic acid, or by applications of carbolized
vaseline or ichthyol. Severe cases should have medical attention.
Scratching and rubbing seem to spread the inflammation, and special care
should be taken not to rub the face or eyes with infected hands.
Susceptible people should avoid the plant if possible.


CHILLS may be the result of infection or of exposure to cold. An early
diagnosis of the trouble is so desirable that it is well to send for a
doctor even when symptoms are not severe. If a person has a chill his
temperature should be taken at once; fever and chill together probably
indicate invasion by bacteria. When chills follow exposure to cold the
patient should go to bed between warm blankets, his body should be
briskly rubbed, and hot water bags and a hot drink should be given. If
he prefers, he may take a hot bath before going to bed.

CROUP is caused by a spasmodic closure of the larynx so that breathing
is impeded. The child who develops croup may have a slight cold, but
frequently shows no symptoms until he wakes in the night with a hoarse
ringing cough and difficult breathing. True croup, though often
distressing, is seldom serious, even when the symptoms are so severe
that the child appears to be partly suffocated. An emetic should be
given at once, preferably syrup of ipecac, one teaspoonful followed by
warm water, or ten drops every 15 minutes until the child vomits freely.
Hot fomentations may be applied to the throat and chest in order to
hasten relaxation of the muscular spasm, and water should be kept
boiling near the bed in a teakettle or uncovered saucepan. The child
should stay in a warm room during the following day.

Whenever a child develops a croupy cough his throat should be examined.
A physician should be summoned if the throat is red and especially if
the redness is associated with rise in temperature. Cases of diphtheria
have been overlooked by neglecting such symptoms.


In the vast majority of cases, bleeding can be stopped by elevating the
injured part and applying pressure over the wound. One should, however,
remember that loss of blood is not the only danger presented by an open
wound, for pus-producing germs, if they make their entrance, may cause
an infection which may be as serious as the bleeding itself. Hence in
dealing with open wounds of any sort one should always keep in mind the
danger of infection as well as the danger from loss of blood.

TREATMENT OF SLIGHT WOUNDS.--Loss of blood from slight wounds is seldom
so serious as the danger of infection; therefore small cuts, pin pricks,
scratches, etc. should be encouraged to bleed by pressure near the wound
in order to expel the germs that may have entered. After the wound has
bled a little, tincture of iodine should be applied by means of a cotton
swab both to the wound itself and also to the surrounding skin.

After the wound has thus been disinfected it should be covered with a
sterile dressing; a sterile or aseptic dressing is material in which all
bacterial life has been destroyed. Gauze from a First Aid dressing or
from a packet of sterile gauze should be used for this compress, or
gauze may be cut from a sterile bandage. The compress serves two
purposes: it protects the wound from infection, and if applied with
pressure it checks further bleeding.

The compress should be securely bandaged in place, or its edges may be
fastened with adhesive plaster or collodion. Neither of the two latter
should cover the wound itself. The outside bandage may be changed when
soiled, but the compress itself should not be disturbed until the wound
has healed. It is a mistake to dress wounds oftener than necessary,
since handling them always increases the chance of introducing germs.
Most children, like Tom Sawyer, delight in wounds, but they should be
prevented if possible both from inspecting and from exhibiting them.

If heat, swelling, redness, or pain develop in a wound after a day or
two, a doctor should be consulted; and not a minute should be lost if
the patient has a chill or if red streaks appear extending from the
wound in the general direction of the heart. Until the doctor comes the
wounded part should be elevated and covered with cold applications wet
in alcohol 25%, or in a solution of common salt, a teaspoonful to a pint
of water.

Several points should be remembered in dressing wounds. In the first
place the mouth, which is full of germs, is not a good place for cut
fingers. Moreover, wounds should not be touched by anything, especially
the fingers, either washed or unwashed, nor should the scissors, fingers
or other object be allowed to touch the surface of the dressing that is
to be placed directly upon a wound. Unless they contain gross dirt
wounds should not be washed with water, since washing introduces another
chance of infection and accomplishes nothing except a tidy appearance,
which is not essential. Furthermore, it should be remembered that
exposure to the air will not infect a wound, and therefore time should
be taken to find a suitable dressing. When a sterile dressing is quite
impossible to obtain, the cleanest material available should be used;
one of the best substitutes for a sterile dressing is the inner surface
of a handkerchief or napkin that has not previously been unfolded since
it was ironed. It is a common mistake to tie up a wound in the first
article presented, which is usually a generous by-stander's soiled
handkerchief. The same precautions in regard to cleanliness should be
taken in dressing wounds that are known to be contaminated, since even
into an infected wound it is possible to introduce more germs and more
virulent ones.

NOSEBLEED usually stops of itself, but if it is obstinate the patient
should sit erect with the head back, and cold compresses should be
placed on the nose and at the back of the neck. Pressure should be made
on the upper lip by means of the fingers, or by a firm roll of paper or
cotton placed under the upper lip. Salt or vinegar in water, a
teaspoonful of either one to a cup of water, may be snuffed up the nose.
The treatment should be continued for ten or fifteen minutes, or until
bleeding stops; if the bleeding persists a doctor is needed.

PROFUSE MENSTRUATION should be treated by keeping the patient quiet in
bed with the head low and the feet slightly elevated. "Any marked
increase, whether by amount, duration, or shortening of the interval
between the periods ought to receive attention and be brought to the
physician's notice" (Latimer). Painful menstruation may be relieved by
rest in bed, mental as well as physical, by hot drinks and by the
application of heat. Rest, and hygienic living persistently practised,
will relieve most menstrual abnormalities. The common practice of using
patent remedies and alcoholic liquors for disordered menstruation cannot
be too strongly condemned.


SPRAINS.--A sprain is caused by twisting, stretching, or tearing the
tissues about a joint. The first sharp pain comes from the injury to
the tissues; subsequent pain is caused by the pressure of accumulated
fluid. The other symptoms are those characteristic of inflammation.

When a sprain is slight, the affected part should be elevated and kept
at rest for the first twenty-four hours. Either heat or cold should be
applied, or heat and cold alternately; a good treatment is to soak the
part in hot water and afterward to allow cold water to run upon it from
the tap. Gentle rubbing with a circular motion helps to reduce the
swelling. If the joint must be used it should be bandaged tightly.

Injuries to joints should never be neglected; and severe sprains always
require medical attention, since in addition to the sprain a bone may be
broken. A severely sprained joint should be elevated, treated with hot
or cold applications, and kept at rest until it has been examined by a

BRUISES.--Bruises need no attention unless they are extensive or
painful. The skin should be kept clean and if possible unbroken, since
injured tissues are less resistant to infection than tissues in their
normal state. Applications of cold water or of equal parts of cold water
and alcohol may relieve the pain, but cold should not be used upon
bruises that are extensive. A compress bandaged tightly in place may
help to prevent swelling and discoloration.

BURNS AND SCALDS.--Injuries from dry heat are called burns, and those
from moist heat are called scalds. Both are painful, and both are
dangerous if extensive or deep. Burns and scalds require medical
attention if the injured area is extensive, if a large blister is
formed, if the skin is destroyed or charred, and if symptoms of shock
appear. Shock often follows burns or scalds even when the injury is
comparatively slight.

Treatment of slight burns, where the skin is reddened but not destroyed,
has for its main object the exclusion of air. One of the following may
be applied: dry baking soda, or baking soda made into a paste with
water, picric acid gauze moistened in water, boracic acid ointment,
vaseline, sweet oil, or castor oil; if none of these is obtainable,
lard, cream, the white of an egg or unsalted butter may be used. Old
muslin or linen bandaged lightly in place, should be used to cover the

The same treatment is used for sunburn, and also for small burns where
blisters form. A blister, if it forms, should not be punctured; but if
it is accidentally broken the skin of the blister should not be removed.
It should be remembered that a broken blister is an open wound, and
therefore liable to infection.

BRUSH BURN is a name given to injuries where the surface of the skin
has been removed. They include the scraped arms and legs which are
common accidents in childhood. In order to dress a brush burn, particles
of dirt should first be removed preferably by means of forceps that have
been boiled, and the surrounding skin should then be cleansed with soap
and water. The injured part should next be flushed with sterile salt
solution, made by boiling water five minutes and adding to it salt in
the proportion of one teaspoonful to a pint of water. If the dirt is
difficult to remove a soap compress should be applied. To prepare the
compress several thicknesses of gauze or muslin should be boiled in a
strong solution of castile or green soap for ten minutes. The compress
should remain in place several hours, and may be repeated if necessary.
After the wound has been thoroughly cleansed, it should be dressed with
old muslin that has been saturated in castor oil or spread with boracic


1. Name some common causes of headache and of sleeplessness, and outline
rational treatment for each of these disorders.

2. Describe symptoms and treatment of shock; of fainting; of convulsions
in children.

3. Describe the treatment of all disturbances of the digestive tract
mentioned in this book.

4. What should be done if a foreign body has entered the eye? if one has
entered the ear? What should be done for a person who has a stye? for a
person with pain in or near the ear?

5. How would you treat a sprain?

6. Describe treatment for burns and scalds.

7. Distinguish between heat stroke and heat prostration, and tell what
treatment should be given in each case.

8. What are the two principal dangers from slight wounds, and how should
one guard against them? Show how you would dress a small cut.

9. What should you do for a person with nose bleed?


American National Red Cross Text Book on First Aid--Lynch.

Immediate Care of the Injured--Morrow.

Prompt Aid to the Injured--Doty.



In many cases of sickness institutional care has marked advantages. It
may be the only solution when adequate provision for the sick is
impossible at home; and it is often a necessity when a patient requires
special equipment or apparatus, expert nursing, and medical attention
within reach both day and night.

On the other hand, it would not be desirable even if it were possible
for all sick persons to be cared for in institutions. Care at home when
it is adequate may be more successful than equally skillful care given
elsewhere, since the sick quite as much as the well are injured by long
separation from normal family life. Most children, because they need the
attention of their own mothers, most convalescent and chronic patients,
and most aged persons are cared for at home; and in the great majority
of cases no better place for them could be found. Since patients of
these four groups have needs peculiar to themselves, some special
points in caring for them are considered in this chapter.


Ability to observe quickly and accurately is seldom more needed than it
is by a woman who cares for children. No one expects babies to explain
their troubles, but people forget that small children are unable to
describe their physical sensations with any degree of accuracy, although
discomfort or sickness may show itself in all degrees of ill temper and
bad conduct. For these exhibitions many a suffering child has been
punished, where an older and more articulate person would have received
considerate attention.

Children, like babies, have a low resistance to disease. Moreover, they
react quickly both to favorable and to unfavorable surroundings. Hence
slight causes sometimes produce pronounced or even violent symptoms in
children without giving cause for great anxiety, although the same
symptoms if exhibited by adults, might indicate critical illness. On the
other hand the recuperative power of children is high, and their
recoveries are sometimes surprisingly rapid. It is a mistake, when a
child has completely recovered from an acute but brief illness, to
coddle him for weeks afterward merely because a grown person in similar
circumstances would have failed to regain his strength.

When a child is sick in bed, especial efforts should be made to insure
adequate ventilation without chilling him. Children always lose heat
rapidly because the body surface is proportionately large; when they are
ill, therefore, it is especially necessary to keep them well covered, to
see that their hands and feet are warm, and to avoid chilling them
during their baths. But overheating must also be avoided, since all
children, sick or well, who are too warmly dressed or who stay in rooms
that are too warm, become weak and irritable and more susceptible than
others to colds and other respiratory disorders. The child's skin should
be kept clean and dry, but he should not be disturbed nor handled

Sick children require very simple food at short intervals. Variety is
not so necessary for a child as for an adult, unless the child has been
allowed to form bad habits of eating. Sick children should not be
indulged unnecessarily, either in regard to their food or in other ways.
However, attempts made during an illness to change the habits of a badly
trained child are unwise because usually unsuccessful; parents who sow
the wind by neglecting to train their children when they are in good
health may as well make up their minds to reap a veritable whirlwind
when the children are ill. Even when children are well trained it is
difficult and sometimes impossible to prevent them from forming bad
habits during sickness. Yet the labor of training a child reaps perhaps
at no other time a richer reward than it does when the child is ill, and
his recovery might be seriously impeded by unwillingness to accept
necessary food, medicine, or treatment.

PHYSICAL DEFECTS are faults in the structure of the body; adenoid
growths, imperfect eyes, abnormally curved spines, and defective teeth
are examples. Most physical defects can be cured in childhood by
treatment or by slight operations. If untreated they frequently lead to
sickness or to serious impairment of the body, and if neglected until
adult life their injurious consequences are generally beyond remedy,
even when the defects themselves can be repaired.

Some indications of common physical defects are given below; they ought
to be more generally known than they are. If a child exhibits one or
more of the symptoms mentioned, he ought to be given a complete physical
examination by a competent physician, and treatment, if needed, should
begin without delay. The idea that children will outgrow these defects
without treatment is erroneous. Better, however, than waiting until
symptoms appear is the modern way of giving every child a physical
examination at stated intervals, a practice already common in public
schools where effective health work is carried on.

EYESTRAIN frequently comes from imperfections in the shape of the eye;
these imperfections can almost always be corrected by glasses. When a
child is suffering from eyestrain, the eyes themselves may show
indications of trouble; they may be blood-shot, the lids may itch or be
crusted or inflamed, or styes may appear. In other cases the symptoms of
eyestrain have no apparent connection with the eyes; such symptoms are
headache, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, fatigue, irritability, poor
scholarship, and nervous exhaustion. If a child shows any of these
symptoms, or if he rubs his eyes, frowns, squints, wrinkles his
forehead, sits bent over his book, or develops round shoulders, there is
sufficient reason for having his eyes examined by an oculist.
Examination by an optician should not be considered sufficient.

ENLARGED TONSILS AND ADENOIDS.--The tonsils are masses of spongy tissue
situated at the back of the mouth, on either side of the opening into
the throat. If enlarged they may seriously interfere with breathing, and
if diseased they frequently harbor the germs causing many acute
infections, as well as germs of rheumatism and most of the heart
disease originating in early life. Therefore the tonsils ought to be
removed if they are diseased or greatly enlarged, but there is
ordinarily no good reason for removing normal tonsils.

Adenoids are situated at the back of the nose, and like the tonsils are
composed of spongy tissue. Adenoids sometimes become so enlarged that
they interfere with the passage of air through the nose, thus
predisposing to catarrh, colds, and other respiratory diseases, to high
palate with irregular teeth, to inflammation of the middle ear leading
to deafness, to diminished mental activity, and to general poor health.

If a child breathes through his mouth, if he snores at night, keeps his
mouth open and has a dull, apathetic expression, his nose and throat
should be examined, and if advisable his tonsils and adenoids should be

DEFECTIVE HEARING.--Permanent deafness among children in the great
majority of cases comes from trouble in the throat or nose; hence the
most effective measure to prevent deafness is to make sure that every
child's nose, throat, and mouth are in a normal condition. Sensitive or
timid children try to hide infirmities of any kind, but deaf children
seem peculiarly unable to explain their difficulties. "No one," says
Cornell, "has ever recorded that a small child complained of inability
to hear." A child's ears should be examined if he breathes through his
mouth, if he stoops habitually, if he is persistently inattentive, or if
he is vague or stupid in carrying out directions. A child who appears
normal at times and inattentive or stupid at other times should also be
examined, since he may be deaf in one ear.

Temporary deafness may come from accumulated wax in the ear. The wax
should be removed by a doctor; inexpert attempts are likely to cause
serious injury to the ear drum. Intermittent deafness may be caused by
enlarged tonsils and adenoids. Children thus affected are not
infrequently punished for seeming disobedience. Such children are
especially liable to street accidents.

DEFECTIVE TEETH have been considered on page 44.

POSTURE.--In childhood the bones are soft and yield with comparative
ease to continued strains; hence they often become deformed by bad
positions assumed in sitting, standing, or in using the body in other
ways. The postures habitually assumed by a child should be noticed and
good postures should be insisted upon. But it is not enough to admonish
him. The various causes tending to encourage bad positions should be
corrected; among them are insufficient illumination of books and work,
defective eyesight or hearing, obstructions in breathing, muscular
weakness, and low general vitality. Children should have their chairs
and tables suited to their size for their work both at home and in

[Illustration: FIG. 28.--INCORRECT SITTING POSTURES. (_From Cornell,
"Health and Medical Inspection of School Children." F. A. Davis Co.,

[Illustration: FIG. 29.--INCORRECT SITTING POSTURES. (_From Cornell,
"Health and Medical Inspection of School Children." F. A. Davis Co.,

[Illustration: FIG. 30.--INCORRECT SITTING POSTURES. (_From Cornell,
"Health and Medical Inspection of School Children." F. A. Davis Co.,

Cornell, "Health and Medical Inspection of School Children," F. A. Davis
Co., Philadelphia._)]

The adjustable chairs and desks now used in schools are a marked
improvement upon the school furniture which has caused so many
deformities in the past.

[Illustration: FIG. 32.--ROUND SHOULDERS. (_Goldthwait, from Pyle's
"Personal Hygiene."_)]

One of the serious deformities caused by habitual faulty posture is
curvature of the spine. A curvature not only injures a child's
appearance and thus handicaps him in later life, but it brings strains
and pressure upon the organs of the chest and abdomen which may
seriously impair his health. As curvatures often pass unnoticed in their
early stages, every child should be inspected occasionally when all his
clothing has been removed, to see whether the weight is borne evenly on
both feet, whether the development of the two sides is uniform, and
whether the head and shoulders are properly carried. It should be
noticed when the child stands, whether one shoulder is higher than the
other, whether one shoulder blade projects more than the other, whether
one hip is higher than the other, and whether one hand is lower than the
other when the arms are hanging at the sides. The child should walk
both toward and away from the observer, who should notice whether the
child uses the two sides of his body in the same way, and whether he
drags or shuffles his feet or has other abnormalities of gait.

[Illustration: FIG. 33.--LATERAL CURVATURE. (_From Bancroft's "Posture
of School Children." The Macmillan Co., New York._)]

(_From Bancroft's "Posture of School Children." The Macmillan Co., New

If abnormalities are found, a physician should be consulted. Often
corrective exercises are all that is needed, and no one should put
braces of any kind upon a child unless they have been prescribed by a
physician. No attempt should be made to correct the common tendency of
children to toe in or "walk pigeon-toed." Toeing-in is a natural manner
of walking during the formative period and tends to strengthen the arch
of the foot, while toeing-out tends to weaken the arch and to cause flat
foot or broken arches.

PREDISPOSITION TO NERVOUSNESS.--Heredity plays an important rôle in the
predisposition to nervousness, so that children of nervous parents are
particularly likely to show nervous instability. It is, however,
difficult to say in a given case how much of his nervousness a child
inherits and how much he acquires by imitating the irritability, the
out-breaks of temper, and the other evidences of imperfect emotional
control displayed by his nervously disposed parents. On the other hand,
even children of nervous predisposition sometimes overcome their defects
to some extent by imitating parents who have acquired self-control.

Children predisposed to nervousness should be watched with special care,
but they should not be allowed to realize that they are the objects of
unusual solicitude. They need the most favorable surroundings that can
be obtained, and their general health should be maintained at the
highest possible level. Any condition that lowers vitality tends to
increase their troubles; nervousness may be caused among children of
good inheritance, and increased among others, by poor nutrition, lack of
exercise and play out-of-doors, fatigue, loss of sleep, eyestrain,
adenoid growths, and the poisons of infectious diseases.

It is characteristic of many nervous children that they are too easily
stimulated; they may be excitable, restless, unnaturally quick in
moving, over-sensitive to pain and discomfort, easily fatigued,
irritable in temper, and unable to control the emotions. They frequently
make involuntary motions like grimacing and winking the eyes. Children
of low nervous tone, however, are not necessarily excitable. A nervous
child may be muscularly weak, awkward in gait, listless, dull, clumsy,
forgetful, and inattentive. Such children often suffer from cold hands
and feet and from profuse perspiration.

Much can be done for these unfortunate children by removing the cause of
their troubles if possible, by giving them simple and wholesome
surroundings, by suiting their occupations to their strength, by
eliminating mental strain, particularly during the adolescent period,
and by training them to control their minds as well as their bodies.

      "In addition to the hardening of the body, the education of
      the child should include measures which increase the
      resistance of the child against pain and discomforts of
      various sorts. Every child, therefore, should undergo a
      gradual process of 'psychic hardening' and be taught to
      bear with equanimity the pain and discomfort to which
      everyone sooner or later cannot help but be exposed. What I
      have said about clothing, cold baths, walking in all
      weather and at all temperatures, play and exercise in the
      open air, has a bearing on this point, for a child who has
      formed good habits in these various directions will have
      learned many lessons in the steeling of his mind to bear
      pain and to ignore small discomforts."--(Barker:
      "Principles of Mental Hygiene Applied to the Management of
      Children Predisposed to Nervousness.")


After serious or prolonged illness the vitality is generally low and all
bodily processes are likely to be depressed. During convalescence,
therefore, the digestion is feeble, the muscles are weak so that fatigue
follows slight exertion, and the sluggish condition of the circulation
renders the patient especially sensitive to cold. Since the nervous
system also becomes depressed and irritable, a convalescent patient is
easily excited, easily discouraged, and quickly fatigued by mental
effort. He finds the simplest decisions hard to make, and his emotions
difficult to control; indeed, many a patient who has borne acute pain
with unflinching courage becomes peevish at this stage, weeps easily,
and expects more expression of sympathy than is good for him. Some
persons naturally make quick recoveries, while others recuperate
slowly. A long and tedious convalescence, it should be remembered, is
the patient's misfortune rather than his fault.

In restoring a convalescent patient to normal living it is imperative to
proceed slowly. Food should be increased gradually both in variety and
in amount; but the patient's appetite is not always a safe guide, and it
may need to be encouraged or to be restrained. Both mental and physical
exertion should begin only under careful supervision, and should
increase by slow degrees. The patient should sleep as much as possible,
should take long intervals of rest, and should continue no occupation to
the point of fatigue. A patient who has been ill in a hospital or who
has had at home the exclusive services of a nurse or an attendant, often
finds the period following his return or following the nurse's departure
an exceedingly difficult transition. The family should not expect or
allow him to resume too many duties at a time when the mere acts of
bathing and dressing may demand all the strength he has. Many
convalescents are obliged, or think they are obliged, to take up regular
work again before their strength is fully restored. There is generally
no economy in so doing; indeed, time is saved in the end by waiting
until recovery is complete before undertaking full work.

Important as it is to build up the patient's physical strength, it is
hardly less important to direct his thoughts away from himself and his
sickness, and to help him renew his interest in normal living. During
his illness he has of necessity relied upon the judgment and support of
other persons, and his pain and discomfort have forced him to think
constantly of himself and his many needs. The habit of sickness is
readily broken by some persons, particularly by those whose nervous
exhaustion has not been great and whose interests outside themselves are
naturally keen. But the sick point of view has remarkable tenacity, and
other patients, unless circumstances or deliberate efforts redirect
their thoughts, will look upon themselves as invalids to the end of

Hopefulness promotes health, while discouragement, apprehension, and
unhappiness lower the tone of the whole system. Hence set backs,
failures, delays, and relapses should not be dwelt upon, but signs of
progress should be mentioned; judiciously however, since overdone
attempts to cheer a patient seldom fail to have the opposite effect. If
objects or situations that suggest undesirable thoughts are eliminated,
the less often those thoughts tend to recur. Therefore, in order to
break the habit of sickness, old thoughts must be gradually banished
and new ones must be substituted. Sick-room appliances should be put out
of sight as soon as they are no longer needed, and the patient may
profit by moving into a different bed room. A few days spent away from
home as soon as his strength permits often prove effective in breaking
up sickness associations; the patient is generally encouraged when he
finds that he can sleep in a different bed, endure some fatigue, and
exist without daily visits from the doctor. Even a day spent at a
different house in the same town sometimes directs the patient's
thoughts into fresh channels. Gradually, but as quickly as safety
allows, he should take his place in the normal family life and cease to
be treated as an exception.

Merely eliminating associations with sickness, however, is not enough;
and exhorting a patient to forget himself and to become interested in
something seldom accomplishes anything, especially if he is so depleted
by illness that the thought of everyday activities suggests only
weariness and pain. A person so weak that he is thoroughly fatigued by
dressing himself should not be expected to view with enthusiasm the
prospect of a full day's work. Much, however, may be accomplished by
providing something that the patient really likes to do, and deliberate
efforts must be made to stimulate his interest in some occupation,
however simple it may be.

Occupations for invalids are more than a means to pass away the time;
they are also of distinct curative value. The patient's interest is not
always easy to arouse, and some ingenuity may be needed in the
beginning; sometimes interest is best aroused by working at some
handicraft in his presence, and finally offering, as a favor, to teach
him to do it also. His interest in any occupation is invariably
increased if a well person not only directs but shares in the work.

Care should be taken to select occupations suited to the patient's
physical condition, to his age, tastes, and mental development. Two or
three occupations are better than one, so that he may change from one to
another before any one becomes tedious. Work requiring fine motions,
close attention, or concentrated thought should be used for short
periods, only, and no work should be continued to the point of fatigue.
The patient should not be allowed to feel that he must finish a certain
amount in a certain time. Even poor work is better than none, and a
patient should always be encouraged by judicious praise.

Games and puzzles are useful to some extent, but an aimless occupation
is not so beneficial as one which has a tangible product, particularly
a product that is useful as well as beautiful. Occupations frequently
possible for invalids and convalescents include knitting, crocheting,
many kinds of needle work, clay modeling, basketry, stenciling, weaving,
book-binding, metal work, and photography. Manuals are now available
giving directions for these and many other handicrafts. Sick children
often enjoy collecting stamps, post marks, and other objects, making
scrap books, sewing, weaving, knitting, paper folding, and various other
kindergarten occupations.


The whole field of caring for the sick offers nowhere greater
opportunity for fine and finished work than it offers in the case of
chronic invalids. It is an achievement of which an artist might be proud
to make a chronic patient comfortable in body, happy in mind, and
agreeable to others. Moreover, since success can never be attained by
one who wearies in well doing, the care given to a chronic invalid tests
not only the attendant's skill but also her moral and spiritual quality.

Care of a chronic patient has for its aims maintaining the patient's
health, rendering him as happy and comfortable in mind and body as it is
possible for him to be, and providing whatever special treatment and
attention his case requires. In order to maintain his health constant
attention must be given to diet, to hygiene of the sick room, and indeed
to all his surroundings. In many chronic illnesses, such as rheumatism
and kidney disease, the diet is prescribed by the doctor; in every case
care should be taken that the patient is not overfed or underfed, that
the food is suited to his digestive powers, that foods causing
flatulence are eliminated, particularly if the patient's trouble is
heart disease, and not the least important requirement, that he derive
as much pleasure from his food as possible.

The regular daily care of the patient and of his room, already described
in this book, should be scrupulously carried out, and no less
scrupulously during the tenth year than it was during the tenth day.
Cleanliness in every detail is absolutely essential to the patient's
welfare; no one is more unpleasant either to himself or to others than a
chronic patient who is neglected. Patients who are constantly in bed, it
should be remembered, and paralyzed patients in particular, are
peculiarly susceptible to pressure sores. If a patient is able, it is
extremely important for him to sit up in a chair part of the day.
Sitting up should never be omitted because it involves the expenditure
of time and trouble for the attendant.

It is often said that for most people some personal experience of
sickness is beneficial; it can safely be said, however, that no one
benefits from spending any considerable portion of his life in a state
of helplessness and suffering. Behavior and character itself are
determined by influences constantly coming into the mind from daily
surroundings and associations with other people: one who recalls this
fact needs only a moment's reflection to realize how ill adapted to
healthy development of mind and character are the limited lives of the
sick. Especially unfortunate is the situation of chronic invalids, shut
off as they are from the objective interests and activities of normal
life, deprived of all practice in making the salutary small adjustments
and sacrifices required in every day living with other people, and
self-centered as they necessarily tend to become from the inevitable
focusing of attention upon their own discomforts and pain.

On the whole, a surprisingly large number of invalids successfully
resist the disintegrating effects of sickness upon character. But it is
nevertheless true, as Dr. Weir Mitchell says, that "Sickness ennobles a
few but debases many." A selfish invalid has more than once destroyed
the happiness of an entire family, or spoiled the life of one member of
it by monopolizing her whole time and attention. Families should
remember that their injudicious sacrifices seldom bring enduring
happiness or contentment to the patient himself; indeed, in the long run
such sacrifices generally injure him even more than they injure his
victims. Clearly much must and should be sacrificed by members of a
family to the needs of an invalid; but in general it may be said that a
sacrifice is injudicious if it relieves the patient of activity or
responsibility that he can support without injury, if it makes him more
dependent in mind or body, if it results in restricting his attention to
himself and his affairs, or if it increases his tendency to make demands
on others.

Purposeful activity of some sort and the necessity for contributing to
the welfare of others are essential parts of a wholesome life. If these
essentials are entirely eliminated from the life of an invalid, the
patient's greatest needs are probably left unsatisfied, even though the
physical care he receives may be perfect in every detail. All that was
said in regard to occupations for invalids applies with particular force
to occupations for chronic patients, since however valuable manual
occupations may be as a means to bring about recovery, they are still
more valuable in furnishing interest and purpose in a life whose only
prospect is a succession of weary, useless years. Handicapped patients
sometimes learn occupations that yield a financial return, and ability
to earn even a little stimulates self respect and mental health, whether
the money is needed or not. The important point, however, is that the
finished product should have a recognized use.

In addition to enabling the patient to make things with his hands, a way
should be found if possible by which he may contribute to the group of
people with whom he lives. If a way can be discovered for him to do so,
the opportunity should not be denied him nor should his service fail to
be noted and appreciated, even if it is nothing more than telling a
story to a restless child.


At the end of life, as at its beginning, every individual especially
needs the interest and protection of his own family. In ordinary
circumstances neither a baby nor an aged person can be cared for so
fittingly or so successfully in any other place as he can be in his own

With advancing years is to be expected a general slowing down of all the
powers. In old age both body and mind show characteristic changes, and
particularly changes causing lowered resistance and diminished vigor. If
the manner of living is adapted to these changes, both happiness and
usefulness may be prolonged. But so gradually do the changes often come
that they may escape notice for a long time, and the younger generation
in looking back sometimes realizes with regret how much earlier measures
might have been taken to prolong the usefulness and to mitigate the
discomforts of aged parents and friends.

Old people are keenly sensitive to cold, since the circulation gradually
becomes less vigorous and they take little exercise. Keeping them warm
both in bed and out adds more perhaps to their comfort than any other
one measure. They should have warm underclothing and soft shawls and
other extra wraps. A real service will be rendered by the person who
invents a suitable and dignified wrap for old or feeble men, who dislike
the informality of sweaters and feel disgraced by shawls. Old persons
should and can be kept warm in bed, by providing them with hot water
bags, with warm night clothes including stockings, by using woollen or
outing flannel sheets if necessary, and by providing a sufficient number
of light but warm bed covers. It is not always understood that many
covers do not remedy the deficiencies of a thin mattress. If a thick
mattress or two thin mattresses cannot be provided, a thick comforter or
even many layers of newspaper should be placed between the mattress and
the springs, and another thick comforter should be placed between the
mattress and the lower sheet. Rubbing the body with warm olive oil often
affords great comfort, by improving the circulation and thus increasing
the sensation of warmth, and also by relieving the tendency of the skin
to become dry and cracked. Poor circulation at night may cause cramps in
the muscles of the legs; the cramps can usually be relieved by warmth
and gentle rubbing.

Old people frequently wish their rooms to be very hot, both by day and
by night, even as hot as 80° or 85°, but if it is possible to keep them
warm in any other way the temperature of the room should be kept at 70°.
Well ventilated rooms are highly important for old people as for all
others of low resistance, and it is entirely possible for their rooms to
be warm and yet well ventilated. Aged persons should be carefully
guarded from chill, exposure, crowds, and infected persons. Like little
children they are peculiarly susceptible to the respiratory diseases,
which cause many of the deaths commonly attributed to old age.

Digestion usually becomes weaker than in earlier years, and less food is
needed. It should be simple, hot, and divided into four or five meals
rather than three. Old people often wake at an early hour, and hot
nourishment will prevent them from growing weak and faint while waiting
for the family breakfast. Both constipation and looseness of the bowels
are common ailments in old age. So far as possible the bowels should be
regulated by means of diet; but muscular weakness resulting in inability
to control the bowels should not be mistaken for and treated as

It is unwise for old people to undertake unaccustomed or sudden muscular
exertion, since the muscular system including the heart muscle grows
weak and is generally unable to endure great strain. The bones,
moreover, grow brittle and heal with difficulty if broken, so that
persons of advanced years no matter how active should avoid walking on
icy pavements, climbing on chairs to reach high shelves, and placing
themselves in other insecure positions. Assistance must be tactfully
given, however, as active old people are inclined to resent it. On the
other hand, old people should be encouraged to continue moderate and
safe activities, and to take regular exercises suited to their strength.
Although increasing muscular weakness tends to make most old people
indolent, it is far better for them both in mind and in body to remain
as active as they can without danger of too great fatigue. At all
events, they should be prevented if possible from becoming bedridden.

Since in old age sight, hearing, and other special senses become less
acute, one should remember that an old person may not notice the odor of
escaping gas, the light of a smouldering match, or the sound of an
approaching motor car, and that he must be specially guarded from such
dangers of every day life. On account of their dulled perceptions old
people are sometimes unjustly considered to be less intelligent than
they really are. Young people moreover should be told, if an aged person
is untidy and careless in personal habits, that the apparent negligence
is caused by dulled perceptions and diminished muscular control for
which old people are no more responsible than they are for failing
eyesight or for inability to hear.

Families should also realize that changes in mind and character are
beyond an aged person's control and that they should not be made the
cause for remonstrance or arguing. Just as the arteries harden with
advancing years, as the bones become brittle and as other tissues become
less flexible, so changes are likely to occur in the nervous system. It
is not surprising when the brain substance like other tissues is
becoming less flexible, that the powers of attention should weaken,
that memory for recent events should diminish, or that other mental
powers should fail. Changes in disposition are not uncommon: previously
controlled persons sometimes become querulous and exacting, while
excitable and irritable persons become more placid. With most old people
emotions become less intense; feeble old people hardly realize great joy
or great sorrow, and seldom look forward to death with apprehension.

Among the most important changes that occur in the nervous system is its
gradual loss in power to respond to new demands. New habits are
difficult or impossible to form, and old habits are hard to break.
Attempts to break the habits of a life time are therefore dangerous, and
radical changes in old people's ways of living are attended by risk as
well as by unhappiness. Such loss of adaptability in the nervous system
makes it increasingly difficult for old people to assimilate new ideas
and to understand new points of view. The feeling that the world is
strange and that the next generation has gone on without them accounts
for the tragic loneliness of many old people. Clearly it is for those
who are younger and more flexible to bridge the gulf between the
generations by their understanding and their sympathy.

Physical care to whatever extent it is needed should be given to all old
people as soon as they are unable to care for themselves, and thought
should be given to adapting their surroundings and ways of living to
their strength and needs, just as they should be adapted to the strength
and needs of chronic patients. But a warning should be given against
managing old people too much. It is hard for people who have managed
their own lives successfully for many years to be managed, even for
their own good. Indeed, it is questionable kindness to deprive old
people of all freedom of action, even if following their own
inclinations occasionally has disastrous results. Few persons would wish
to prolong their lives if long life involved being thwarted in every
desire, and sometimes real kindness consists in allowing old people to
do certain things that are not good for them. Keeping them warm and
letting them do as they please will go far to make old people happy.

Many of the changes in old age reverse the developing process of
childhood. In youth and age extremes meet, and the care of the aged
presents certain marked similarities to the care of little children.
Both require simple food, occupations suited to their strength, and
protection from infections, from fatigue, and from nervous strain; both
are dependent, more or less helpless, and for their happiness both need
the affectionate care of their own families. But in one respect their
needs are fundamentally different. In childhood formation of proper
habits is all important, and in caring for children the future effect of
every word and act must be taken into consideration. Old people, on the
other hand, since they live largely in the past and their habits are
irrevocably formed, may be indulged without harm in ways that would
demoralize a child; with a clear conscience one may make them happy in
ways both great and small. This difference makes possible one of the
greatest pleasures that come to one who cares for the helpless and the
sick, for of all enduring satisfactions few are greater than the power
to fill with comfort and happiness the closing days of life.


1. What is meant by a physical defect? Name some of the most common

2. Name some permanent injuries to the body caused by defective teeth;
by diseased or enlarged tonsils and adenoids; by faulty posture.

3. Describe some common symptoms of eye strain in children; of enlarged
tonsils and adenoids; of deafness.

4. Name several possible causes of round shoulders, and explain why
urging a round-shouldered child to hold himself erect is seldom enough
to make him correct his posture.

5. What measures should be taken to overcome nervousness in children?

6. Describe in detail the health work carried on in the public schools
of your city or town. Considering the important part played by
uncorrected physical defects in causing permanent physical disability
among adults, do you think in the long run it is cheaper or more
expensive for a community to spend money in protecting the health of
school children?

7. Discuss the particular needs of convalescent and of chronic patients.

8. Explain the effect of activity upon recovery, and explain why it is
desirable for invalids to have occupation.

9. What special needs should be provided for in caring for old people?


Invalid Occupations--Tracy.

Occupation Therapy--Dunton.

Handicrafts for the Handicapped--Hall and Buck.

When Mother Lets Us Make Toys--Rich.

Amusements for Convalescent Children--New York State Department of
Health, Albany.

Essentials of Medicine--Emerson, Chapter IX.

Civics and Health--Allen.

How to Live--Fisher and Fisk, Chapter III, Section II; and Supplementary
Notes, Section III.

Health Work in the Schools--Hoag and Terman.

Medical Inspection of Schools--Gulick and Ayres.

The Hygiene of the Child--Terman.

Posture of School Children--Bancroft.



I. Show how you would:

    1. Make an unoccupied bed. (Notice the number of minutes it takes
       you to do it well.)

    2. Remove all the covers from an unoccupied bed and leave the bed to

    3. Open a bed to receive a patient.

II. Show how you would:

    1. Change all the linen and remake an occupied bed. (How long did
       it take you?)

    2. Turn a patient from his back to his side, and the reverse.

    3. Remove, shake, and readjust a patient's pillows.

    4. Move a patient from one bed to another.

    5. Prepare a weak patient to sit up in a chair, and assist him from
       the bed to the chair.

    6. Assist a weak patient from the chair to the bed.

    7. Arrange pillows and back rest for a patient to sit up in bed; and
       also how you would remove the pillows and back rest.

III. Show how you would:

    1. Lift a patient who has slipped down toward the foot of the bed,
       and show what you would do to prevent him from slipping down.

    2. Prevent bed covers from resting upon a sensitive foot, leg,
       abdomen, or arm.

    3. Describe and demonstrate every device you would use and every
       thing you would do to prevent pressure sores.

    4. Arrange pillows to support the arms of a person sitting up in

    5. Arrange a table or a substitute for a table to support the book
       or work of a patient sitting up in bed.

    6. Arrange the light for a patient who is allowed to read in bed.


    1. Assemble all the articles you would use in giving a bed bath.
       (How long did it take you?)

    2. Show how to give a complete bed bath. (How long did it take you?
       Did you have to stop the bath to fetch anything you had

    3. What special care would you give to the mouth and teeth? to the
       finger and toe nails? to the hair? to badly tangled hair? How
       would you cleanse the mouth of a helpless patient?

    4. Show how to shampoo the hair of a bed patient.

    5. Show how you would give a bath to a baby.

    6. Show everything that you would do to prepare a patient for the


    1. Show how to take the temperature, pulse, and respiration.

    2. Show how to cleanse a clinical thermometer.

    3. Show how to give a foot bath (_a_) to a patient out of bed, (_b_)
       to a patient in bed.

    4. Show how you would give a cool sponge bath to a feverish patient.

    5. Show how to give, remove, and cleanse a bed-pan.

    6. Show how to fill and apply a hot water bag; an ice bag.

    7. Show how to prepare and apply a mustard paste; a mustard leaf; a
       flaxseed poultice; hot fomentations; cold compresses.

    8. Show how to measure and administer a fluid medicine; pills or

    9. Show how to prepare and administer a salt and water enema to a
       grown person; to a baby.

   10. Show how to prepare steam inhalations.

   11. Show how to apply an ointment; a liniment.


    1. Show how you would feed a helpless patient who is lying down.

    2. Show how you would feed a patient who is able to sit up but
       unable to use his hands.

    3. Prepare a liquid nourishment tray.

    4. Set a tray for light diet; for full diet.

    5. Show how to place a tray for a patient unable to sit up but able
       to feed himself; for a patient sitting up in bed.

    6. What personal care should be given a patient just before meals?
       just after meals?

    7. How would you modify the diet of a patient inclined to
       constipation? to diarrhœa?


    1. Describe effective household methods for removing dust.

    2. Demonstrate the cleaning of a refrigerator.

    3. Show how to ventilate a sick room while protecting the patient
       from direct draughts.

    4. Show how to clean a sick room with a minimum of disturbance to
       the patient.

    5. Explain how a patient with communicable disease should be

    6. Demonstrate the daily care of a room occupied by a patient with
       communicable disease.

    7. Explain methods of concurrent disinfection.

    8. Explain methods of terminal disinfection.

    9. Tell how the following should be disinfected: discharges from the
       nose, throat, eyes, ears, bowels, bladder, wounds, and sores; bed
       and personal linen; blankets; mattresses; dishes; utensils,
       especially bedpans and urinals; clothing and person of the
       attendant, especially the hands; furniture, rugs, and woodwork.


    1. Name some of the most obvious symptoms of sickness.

    2. Name some symptoms that would lead you to take a patient to a
       doctor; to send for a doctor; to send for a doctor in haste.

    3. Name some symptoms that are dangerous to neglect even though the
       patient feels fairly well.

    4. What are some of the symptoms of physical defects in children?
       Name some conditions that are frequently caused by unremedied

    5. Name some diseases commonly ushered in by symptoms resembling
       those of a cold in the head.

    6. What symptoms would lead you to isolate a patient?

    7. Give as many illustrations as you can of the part played by good
       and bad habits in determining health and sickness.


    1. How would you dress a cut? a burn? a sprain?

    2. What would you do for a person suffering from colic? nausea?
       diarrhœa? chill?

    3. What are the symptoms of shock? heat stroke? heat prostration?
       What treatment would you give in each case?

    4. What would you do for a fainting person? for a person suffering
       from nose bleed? from earache? from a cinder in the eye?

    5. What course of action would you advise for a person troubled with
       sleeplessness? frequent headaches? excessive irritability?
       unusual depression of spirits? unfounded suspicions of other
       persons' motives? a tendency to have the feelings hurt easily?
       inability to control the emotions?


    1. Why is it better to prevent sickness than to cure it?

    2. Name the essentials of good hygienic conditions for babies, for
       children, for grown people, for the aged.

    3. How much of the sickness in the United States is preventable?

    4. If part of the sickness is preventable, why is it not prevented?

    5. What constitutes adequate care of the sick?

    6. What proportion of the young men in your community who were
       drafted have been rejected for physical disability? How many were
       rejected for disabilities that might have been prevented?

XI. (Answers to the following questions can generally be obtained from
local health officers.)

    1. What are the duties and powers of your local board of health?

    2. How much did your city or town spend per person last year on
       health protection? How does this amount compare with the amount
       spent per person for police protection? for fire protection?

    3. Who inspects the water supply in your town? the milk supply? the
       food supply?

    4. In your city, what was the number of deaths per 100,000 of the
       population from tuberculosis each year for the last five years?
       from typhoid fever?

    5. Is there a tuberculosis sanitarium in your city or county? Are
       nurses employed to supervise tuberculosis patients who remain at

    6. What provision does your community make for patients suffering
       from other communicable diseases?

    7. What measures are taken in your community to instruct school
       children in matters of health? to instruct grown persons?

    8. How does your community provide medical and nursing care for
       persons unable to pay part or all of the cost of such service?

XII. Explain why the following common beliefs are erroneous or

    1. That a damp cellar causes diphtheria.

    2. That night air is harmful.

    3. That one should "stuff a cold" and "starve a fever."

    4. That almost everyone needs a tonic in the spring.

    5. That the health of one's family would be endangered if a
       tuberculosis hospital were placed on the next block.

    6. That clearing up the back yard will protect the children of a
       family from infantile paralysis.

    7. That odorless and tasteless water is necessarily free from
       harmful germs.

    8. That all children should have the children's diseases, and have
       them as early as possible.

    9. That boils are a benefit to the system by removing impurities
       from the blood.

   10. That tomatoes cause cancer.

   11. That consumption is inherited.

   12. That dirt breeds disease.

   13. That diseases come up drains.

   14. That if a teaspoonful of medicine does you good, a tablespoonful
       will do you more good.

   15. That instinct teaches a mother how to care for her baby.

   16. That low heeled shoes, though suitable for boys and men, cause
       broken arches in women and girls.

   17. That in one's own case, the rule that everyone needs regular
       meals, regular hours of sleep, and daily exercise out of doors,
       may be safely violated.


The New York City Department of Health has kindly permitted us to
include the following circulars of information issued by the Division of
Child Hygiene.



The physical examination of school children shows that in many instances
the teeth are in a decayed and unhealthy condition.

Decayed teeth cause an unclean mouth. Toothache and disease of the gums
may result.

Neglect of the first teeth is a frequent cause of decay of the second

If a child has decayed teeth, it cannot properly chew its food.
Improperly chewed food and an unclean mouth cause bad digestion, and
consequently poor general health.

If a child is not in good health, it cannot keep up with its studies in
school. It is more likely to contract any contagious disease, and it has
not the proper chance to grow into a robust, healthy adult.

If the child's teeth are decayed, it should be taken to a dentist at

The teeth should be brushed after each meal, using a tooth brush and
tooth powder.

The following tooth powder is recommended:

  2 oz. powdered precipitated chalk.
  ½ oz. powdered Castile soap,
  1 dram powdered orris root.
  Thoroughly mix.

This prescription can be filled by any druggist at a cost not to exceed
fifteen cents.


Instructions to Parents Regarding the Care of the Nose

The physical examination of school children shows that in many instances
they breathe through the mouth because they cannot breathe properly or
sufficiently through the nose.

This may be due to bad habits in regard to keeping the nose clean, or,
in a majority of instances, to a growth which is known as "adenoids" and
which stops up the back of the nose. In either case, the air is not
breathed through the nose, and the child becomes what is known as a
"mouth breather."

Constant breathing through the mouth causes the child to become pale,
restless in its sleep and dull in its actions. The child often speaks as
though it had a cold in the head. Frequently there is an almost constant
discharge from the nose.

Mouth breathing renders a child especially liable to contract
tuberculosis and other infectious diseases; in fact, the child has very
little resistance to disease of any kind.

Every child should be given a handkerchief, and be taught to thoroughly
blow the nose several times each day. If, after doing this regularly,
the child is still unable to breathe properly through the nose, it is
probable that an adenoid growth is present. Such children should be
taken to the family physician or to a dispensary for further advice and

Do not wait too long in the hope that the child will outgrow the
condition, for the effect of adenoid growths persisting throughout
childhood may injure the person for life.

Have your child's throat and nose examined one month after measles,
scarlet fever, or diphtheria.


Instructions to Parents on the Care of Children's Hair and Scalp

Children affected with vermin of the head are excluded from school. The
following directions will cure the condition:

Mix one-half pint of sweet oil and one-half pint of kerosene oil. Shake
the mixture well and saturate the hair with the mixture. Then wrap the
head in a large bath towel or rubber cap so that the head is entirely
covered; the head must remain covered from six to eight hours.

(Tincture of larkspur may be used instead of oil mixture. The directions
for use are the same.)

After removing the towel, the head should be shampooed as follows:

To two quarts of warm water add one teaspoonful of sodium carbonate
(washing soda). Wet the hair with this solution and then apply Castile
soap and rub the head thoroughly about ten minutes. Wash the soap out of
the hair with repeated washings of clear warm water. Dry the hair

Nits: If the head is shampooed regularly each week as above described,
it will cure and prevent the condition of "nits."




(1) 1 to 2 ounces juice of a sweet orange


Pulp of 6 stewed prunes


1 ounce pineapple juice.

(2) 8 ounces milk with either zwieback, or toasted biscuits or stale
toasted bread.

Note: Fruit must be given either ½ hour before or ½ hour after milk.


Milk alone or with zwieback.


(1) 6 ounces soup


3 ounces beef juice.

Note: Soup may be made of chicken, beef or mutton.

(2) Stale bread may be added to the above.


Milk or toasted bread and milk.


(1) 4 ounces thick gruel mixed with 4 ounces top half milk.

Taken with zwieback.

Note: Gruel may be made of oatmeal, farina, barley, hominy, wheatena, or

(2) Apple sauce


Prune jelly.

Total milk in 24 hours, 1 to 1¼ quarts.

Note: 8 ounces is equal to a half pint.




(1) Juice of one sweet orange


Pulp of six stewed prunes


Pineapple juice (fresh or bottled) 1 ounce.

(2) A cereal such as cream of wheat, oatmeal, farina, or hominy
preparations with top milk (top 16 ounces) sweetened or salted. A glass
of milk, bread and butter.

Note: If constipated give the fruit ½ hour before breakfast with water;
if not, they may be given during the forenoon.

Raw fruit juice must be given either ½ hour before or ½ hour after milk.


A glass of milk with two toasted biscuits or zwieback or graham


(1) Broth or soup made of beef, mutton, or chicken, and thickened with
peas, farina, sago or rice


Beef juice with stale bread crumbs; or clear vegetable soup with yolk of


Egg soft boiled, with bread crumbs, or the egg poached, with a glass of

(2) Dessert: apple sauce, prune pulp, with stale lady-fingers or graham


Plain puddings: rice, bread, tapioca, blanc-mange, junket or baked


Glass of milk, warm or cold; zwieback and custard or stewed fruit.

Total milk in 24 hours, 1½ quarts.





(1) Juice of 1 sweet orange


Pulp of 6 stewed prunes


1 ounce pineapple juice (fresh or bottled)


Apple sauce.

(2) A cereal such as oatmeal, farina, cream of wheat, hominy or rice,
slightly sweetened or salted as preferred, with the addition of top milk
(top 16 ounces)


A soft boiled or poached egg with stale bread or toast.

(3) A glass of milk.

Note: If constipated give the fruit ½ hour before breakfast with water;
if not, they may be given during the forenoon.

Milk and raw fruit juice must not be given at same meal.


(1) Broth or soup made of chicken, mutton or beef, thickened with
arrowroot, split peas, rice, or with addition of the yolk of an egg or
toast squares.

(2) Scraped beef or white meat of chicken, or broiled fish (small


Mashed or baked potatoes with fresh peas or spinach or carrots.

(3) Dessert: apple sauce, baked apple, rice pudding, junket or custard.


(1) A cereal or egg (if egg is not taken with breakfast) with stale
bread or toast


Bread and milk or bread and cocoa or bread and custard.

(2) Stewed fruit.





(1) Fruits: an orange, apple, pear or stewed prunes.

(2) Cereal: oatmeal, hominy, rice or wheat preparations, well cooked and
salted, with thin cream and sugar


Egg: soft boiled, poached, omelet or scrambled.

(3) Milk or cocoa.


(1) Soup: beef, chicken or mutton.

(2) Meat: chicken or beefsteak or roast beef or lamb chops or fish.

(3) Vegetables: spinach or carrots or string beans, peas, cauliflower
tops, mashed or baked potatoes, beets or lettuce (without vinegar)

Macaroni, spaghetti.

Bread and butter--not fresh bread or rolls.

(4) Dessert: custard, rice or bread or tapioca pudding, ice cream (once
a week) cornstarch pudding (chocolate or other flavor) stewed prunes or
baked apple.


(1) Milk toast or graham crackers and milk


A thick soup, as pea, or cream of celery with bread and butter


A cereal and thin cream with bread and butter.

(2) Stewed fruit; custard or plain pudding; jam or jelly.


(For complete definitions of the following words the student is referred
to general and scientific dictionaries)


ANTISEPTIC.--A substance which prevents or hinders the growth of

ANTITOXIN.--A substance that neutralizes the action of a toxin.

ASEPTIC.--Free from living germs.

AXILLA.--The armpit.


BACILLUS (pl. bacilli).--A rod-shaped or elongated bacterium.

BACTERIAL.--Relating to bacteria.

BACTERICIDE.--An agent having the power to destroy bacteria.

BACTERIOLOGICAL.--Relating to bacteriology.

BACTERIOLOGY.--The science dealing with microorganisms.

BACTERIUM (pl. bacteria).--A unicellular vegetable micro-organism.


CARRIER.--An apparently healthy person who harbors pathogenic germs in
his body.

COCCUS (pl. cocci).--A bacterium of spherical or nearly spherical shape.

COUNTER-IRRITANT.--A substance or agent which if applied to the skin
causes irritation and thereby relieves an abnormal condition in another
part of the body.


DEGENERATION.--A deterioration in cells or tissues of the body so that
they become less able to perform their proper functions.

DEGENERATIVE.--Pertaining to degeneration.

DEODORANT.--An agent that destroys odors.

DIGESTIVE TRACT.--The entire alimentary canal, including the mouth,
œsophagus, stomach, and the small and large intestines.

DIPLOCOCCUS.--A form of coccus in which two individuals remain attached
after cell division has taken place.

DISINFECT.--To destroy the germs of disease.

DISINFECTANT.--An agent that destroys the germs of disease.

DISINFECTION.--The process of destroying the germs of disease.


EMETIC.--A substance used to induce vomiting.

ENEMA.--An injection of fluid into the rectum.


FECAL.--Pertaining to feces.

FECES.--Matter discharged from the bowels; bowel movement.

FERMENTATION.--Decomposition produced in an organic substance by the
action of certain living agents.

FISSION.--The process by which a cell divides into two parts.

FLAGELLUM (pl. flagella).--A long hair-like appendage, by the action of
which certain micro-organisms are enabled to move.

FLEX.--To bend at a joint.

FOMENTATION.--See _Stupe_.


GASTRIC JUICE.--The fluid secreted by the glands of the stomach.

GERM.--A minute unicellular organism, either animal or vegetable; a
micro-organism; a microbe.

GERMICIDE.--An agent having the power to kill germs.


HOST.--An animal or plant in or upon which another organism lives.


IMMUNE.--Not susceptible to a particular disease; also, a person who is
not susceptible to a particular disease.

IMMUNITY.--The state in which an individual is not susceptible to a
particular disease.

IMMUNIZE.--To render immune.

INCUBATION.--The interval between exposure to an infectious disease and
the first appearance of symptoms.

INFECT.--To communicate disease germs.

INFECTION.--An agent by which disease may be communicated from one
individual to another; also, an infectious disease.

INOCULATE.--To introduce any biological product directly into the
tissues of the body.

INOCULATION.--The process of inoculating.

INTESTINAL TRACT.--The small and large intestines.


MICROBE.--See _Germ_.


MUCUS.--The substance secreted by mucous membranes.

MUCOUS MEMBRANES.--The membranes lining certain cavities of the body,
especially the digestive and respiratory tracts.


NUTRIENT.--One of several chemical groups to which the essential
constituents of food belong.


ORGANIC.--Derived from or relating to an organism.

ORGANISM.--An individual that is or has been alive.


PARASITE.--An individual that lives in or upon another individual.

PASTEURIZATION.--The process of pasteurizing.

PASTEURIZE.--To subject milk to a temperature of 142°-145° Fahrenheit
for thirty minutes.



PROTEID.--One of the complex nitrogenous substances constituting the
essential parts of animal and vegetable tissues.

PROTOZOÖN (pl. protozoa).--An animal organism composed of a single cell.

PUS.--The fluid product of inflammation; matter.

PUTREFACTION.--Decomposition of nitrogenous organic matter brought about
by micro-organisms and accompanied by a foul odor.


RESISTANCE.--See _Immunity_.

RESPIRATORY TRACT.--The air passages, including the nose, mouth, larynx,
trachea, bronchial tubes, and lungs.


SAPROPHYTE.--A vegetable organism that lives on decaying organic matter.

SARCINA.--Literally, a bundle. Applied to bacteria grouped in bundles or

SEPTIC.--Putrefying or decomposing; infected by pus-producing bacteria.

SEQUELA.--A disease or unhealthy condition following another disease or
unhealthy condition.

SERUM.--The fluid which separates from the clot after blood has
coagulated; especially, that containing an antitoxin.

SEWAGE.--Any substance containing urine or fecal matter; also, the
substance which passes through sewers.

SPIRILLUM (pl. spirilla).--A variety of bacteria having spirally twisted

SPORE.--A resting stage, characterized by great resistance, into which
certain germs enter when conditions become unfavorable for their growth.

SPUTUM.--Spit; expectoration.

STAPHYLOCOCCUS.--A variety of bacteria that group themselves in masses
resembling bunches of grapes.

STERILE.--Free from living germs; aseptic.

STERILIZATION.--The process of rendering sterile.

STERILIZE.--To render sterile.

STREPTOCOCCUS.--A variety of bacteria that arrange themselves in chains.

STUPE.--A cloth wrung out of hot water and applied to the surface of the

SUSCEPTIBLE.--Lacking resistance to a disease.

SUSCEPTIBILITY.--The condition in which resistance to a disease is low.


TETRAD.--A variety of bacteria that arrange themselves in groups of

TISSUE.--A collection of cells having the same function.

TOXIN.--A poison produced by the action of micro-organisms.


UNICELLULAR.--Composed of a single cell.

UTERUS.--The womb.


VACCINATE.--To inoculate with a poison in order to bring about immunity
to a disease.

VACCINE.--Any substance which if introduced into the body causes the
formation of protective substances.

VOMITUS.--Vomited substances.



  Abdomen, 68

  Abdominal binder, 68

  Action of drugs, 200

  Adenoids, 284

  Aged, care of, 303

  Ailments and emergencies, 257

  Air, 72

  Alcohol, 160

    bed cradles, 173
    bedpans, 176
    rubber utensils, 138

  Applications, local, 220
    cold, dry, 231
    cold, moist, 235
    hot, dry, 225
      bricks, 226
      flannel, 226
      salt or sand, 226
      water bags, 225
    hot, moist, 227
      fomentations, 229
      poultices, 227
      stupes, 229

  Attendant, 127


  Bacteria, 1, 4, 5
    bacilli, 5
    coccus, 4
    effects produced by, 3
    entrance into the body, 9
    food of, 2
    immunity, 13
    in food, 19
    in water, 19
    methods of study, 1
    motion, 5
    origin of communicable diseases, 3
    parasites, 3, 8
    saprophytes, 2
    shape, 4
    spirillum, 4
    spores, 7
    structure and development, 4
    where found, 8

  Bacteriology, 1

  Baths, 42, 154
    bed, 156
    cleansing, 171
    cold tub, 97, 171
    daily, 24
    foot, 165
      mustard, 165
    hot, 97
    infant's, 78
    sitz, 176
    tub, 154

  Bed cradles, 173

  Bedmaking, 132

  Bedpan, 176

  Bed-rooms, care of, 84

  Beds, 132
    care of, 134
    dimensions, 133
    rubber pillow cases, 138
    rubber sheets, 138
    selection of, 132
    wooden, 132

  Bed sores, 169

  Birth registration, 63

  Blankets, 140

  Bleeding, 272

  Blindness, 33

  Breast feeding, 73

  Bruises, 276

  Brush burn, 278

  Burns, 277, 278


  Cancer, 111

  Carriers, 17

  Charts, 10, 246

  Chickenpox, 236

  Childhood, see Infancy, 60

  Children, care of, 280
    with adenoids, 284
    with defective hearing, 285
    with defective teeth, 286
    with enlarged tonsils, 284
    with eyestrain, 284
    with incorrect posture, 286
    with physical defects, 283
    with predisposition to nervousness, 292

  Chills, 270

  Chronic patients, care of, 299

  Circulars of information, 318
    Department of Health, City of New York, 318
      care of hair and scalp, 321
      care of mouth and teeth, 318
      care of nose, 320
      diet of child twelfth to eighteenth month, 322
      diet of child eighteenth to twenty-fourth month, 323
      diet of child two to three years, 324
      diet of child three to six years, 325

  Cleaning room, 126

  Cleanliness, personal, 41

  Clothing, 47
    disinfection of, 95
    of infants, 68

  Coccus, 4

  Cold applications, 220

  Cold, prevention of common, 241

  Colic, 266

  Compresses, cold, 232

  Constipation, 52, 193, 266

  Convalescents, care of, 294

  Convulsions, 260

  Counter irritants, 233

  Croup, 271


  Degenerative diseases, 20, 24

  Development of child, 64

  Diaper, 69

  Diarrhœa, 266

  Diphtheria, 245

  Disinfectants, 251

  Disinfection, 248

  Drainage, 40

  Draughts, 32

  Dust, effect upon health, 36


  Ear, disorders affecting, 268

  Emergencies, 257

  Enemata, 210
    directions for giving, 210
    for baby, 212

  Environment, 29

  Eruptive diseases, 236

  Excreta, disinfection of, 249

  Excretions, 52

  Expectoration, 249

  Eye, ailments, 267
    compresses for, 232
    foreign bodies in, 267

  Eyestrain, 284


  Fainting, 259

  Fatigue, 53, 106, 181

  Feeding of infants, 73

  Filtration of water, 50

  Flies, as carriers of disease germs, 38

  Floors, 120

  Fomentations, 229

  Food, 35, 48, 188
    classification of, 48
    for children, 78
    for infants, 72

  Foot bath, 165

  Fumigation, 254

  Furniture, 120


  Garbage, 37

  Glossary, 326-330

  Growth of child, 64


  Habits, 82

  Hair, care of, 163

  Handkerchiefs, 239

  Hands, 11, 12, 43, 250

  Headache, 257

  Heat, application of, 220
    exhaustion, 264

  Heating, 54

  Heredity, 27

  Hiccough, 265

  House, cleanliness of, 33

  Humidity, 31

  Hygiene, oral, 44
    personal, 19, 28


  Immunity, 13

  Infancy (and childhood), hygiene of, 60
    air, fresh, 72
    baths, 78
    care of eyes, 80
      of mouth, 81
      of nostrils, 81
      of genital organs, 81
    clothing, 68
    cry, significance of, 82
    diet, 74
    mother's milk, danger of substitutes, 72
      water, 75
      weaning, 75
    excretions, 67
    exercise, 83
    growth and development, 64, 65
      length at birth, 64
        increase, 65
      muscular development, 64
      special senses, 66
      speech, 66
      teeth, 66
      weight at birth, 64
        increase, 65
    habits, 82
    mortality, 61
    nursing bottles, 75
      nipples, 75
    play, 84
    pulse, 96
    respiration, 99
    sleep, 70
    toys, 85

  Infection, 1, 43

  Inflammation, 220

  Inhalation, 213

  Insects, 38, 270

  Insect bites and stings, 270

  Inunction, 214

  Isolation, duration of, 247

  Ivy poisoning, 270


  Kitchens, 34


  Light, 33, 124

  Linen, 251

  Lysol, 251


  Malaise, 106

  Mattress, 135
    care of, 136

  Measles, 246

  Medicines and remedies, 200
    action of drugs, 200
    amateur dosing, 202
    enemata, 210
    inhalation, 213
    inunction, 214
    patent remedies, 205
    sprays and gargles, 213
    suppositories, 209

  Medicines, administration of, 206

  Menstruation, profuse, 275

  Mental condition, 104-112

  Microorganisms, 9

  Milk, 51
    pasteurization, 51

  Mouth, care of, 160
    wash, 182

  Mustard paste, 233
    leaves, 233


  Nausea, 265

  Nipple, bottle, 77
    care of, 77

  Non-communicable diseases, 20

  Nosebleed, 274


  Pain, 105

  Parasites, 3, 4, 8

  Patent remedies, 205

  Patient, care of,
      with communicable disease, 236
      with colds and slight infections, 238
      with more serious infections, 242
    changing sheet, 147
    changing, 146
    lifting, 146
    mouth, 160
    moving, 152

  Personal hygiene, 19

  Pillows, 137
    covers, 138, 140

  Poisonous drugs, 215

  Posture, 286

  Poultices, 227, 228

  Prenatal care, 62

  Prickly heat, 269

  Protozoa, 8

  Public agencies, 107

  Public sanitation, 19

  Pulse, 96

  Purification of water, 50


  Quarantine, termination of, 252


  Records, 107

  Recreation, 55

  Rectum, 93

  Respiration, 99

  Rest, 53

  Rooms, 27


  Saprophytes, 2

  Scalds, 277

  Scarlet fever, 246

  Sewage, 39

  Sheets, 137, 138, 142

  Shock, 261

  Sick-room, model, 118

  Sleep, 55, 70

  Sleeplessness, 258

  Small-pox, 246

  Special senses in sickness, 101

  Spores, 7

  Sprains, 275

  Sprays and gargles, 213

  Stimulants, in emergency work, 263

  Stupes, 229

  Styes, 267

  Sunstroke, 264

  Suppositories, 209

  Symptoms, 88


  Teeth, 45, 160
    defective, 286
    treatment, 46

  Temperature, 92
    method of taking, 92
    normal, 95

  Temperature of baths, 79, 155
    of house, 30, 124
    sponging for, 177
    variations, 114, 206

  Thermometer, clinical, care of, 92

  Tonsils, enlarged, 284

  Tuberculosis, 27-107


  Urine, 103


  Vaccination, 13, 25

  Ventilation, 29, 123

  Vomiting, 265


  Water, 49
    filtration, 50

  Weaning, 75

  Weight, 65
    loss of, 64

  Whooping cough, 246

  Wounds, 272

[Transcriber's Note:

Punctuation errors (e.g. missing period at end of sentence, missing
quotation marks, etc.) and letters printed upside down have been
corrected without note. Except where noted, inconsistencies in
hyphenation, capitalization, and spelling (e.g. travelling and
traveling) have not been changed. The original index had numerous
errors, such as references to terms that do not appear in the text.
Except where noted below, it has been left as printed.

The following corrections were made:

p. viii: Records, 105. to Records, 107. (under Chapter IV)

p. ix: Care of the Patients with Communicable Diseases to Care of
Patients with Communicable Diseases (under Chapter XII)

p. ix: Care of liver, 251. to Care of linen, 251. (under Chapter XII)

p. 15: innoculation to inoculation (Vaccination and inoculation have
saved thousands of lives.)

p. 16: principle to principal (principal causes which diminish
resistance), to match cited text

p. 37: gerns to germs (through which disease germs)

p. 40: From "_The Human Mechanism_." to _From "The Human Mechanism."_
(to match format of other captions)

p. 41: perferably to preferably (preferably, chloride of lime.)

p. 77: runnnig to running (thoroughly cleansed under running water)

p. 82: symptons to symptoms (other symptoms of distress)

p. 96: thay to they (taken together they are)

p. 108: 8:30 to 8:30 a.m.

p. 111: develope to develop (may develop into cancer)

p. 115: missing degree symbol added (At noon his temperature was 101°)

p. 132: illnes to illness (unless his illness is slight)

p. 136: servicable to serviceable (makes a serviceable cover)

p. 150: paitent to patient (ready for the patient.)

p. 150-151: removed duplication of text in captions for Fig. 14 and Fig.

p. 161: erroneous italics removed from "patient" and "her" (even a
patient unable to sit up can brush her teeth)

p. 167: added missing "bath" (to give a cool sponge bath)

p. 175: ahould to should (the protection of the abdomen should)

p. 177: expecially to especially (if it is especially difficult or

p. 177: patients' to patient's (between the patient's back and the pan;)

p. 178: deoderant to deodorant (a properly kept pan needs no deodorant)

p. 183: invarably to invariably (casual visitors almost invariably

p. 189: nurtients to nutrients (pancreatic juice acts upon all three

p. 195: solied to soiled (is always superior to soiled linen.)

p. 205: appy to apply (apply even more strongly to using patent

p. 211: 166 to 176 (the directions on page 176.)

p. 216: selzer to seltzer (seltzer aperient)

p. 226: slighest to slightest (there is the slightest possibility of

p. 227: accidently to accidentally (see that the switch is not

p. 228: cohers to coheres (when the mixture coheres)

p. 229: annoint to anoint (anoint it with vaseline)

p. 233: dicharge to discharge (If there is discharge from the eye,)

p. 242: chould to should (visitors should be rigidly)

p. 245: himelf to himself (safeguard the patient himself.)

Table between pp. 246-247: diappearance to disappearance (Two weeks
after onset and one week after disappearance)

Table between pp. 246-247: pa-patient to patient (after child last saw

p. 250: If to It (It may be necessary to provide two bedpans)

p. 266: 216 to 193 (discussed on pages 193 and 52.)

p. 280: etter to better (no better place)

p. 300: attenom, to attention (constant attention must be given)

p. 300: rotion to room, (hygiene of the sick room,)

p. 301: salutory to salutary (making the salutary small adjustments)

p. 308: querelous to querulous (sometimes become querulous)

p. 329: Putrifying to Putrefying (Putrefying or decomposing)

p. 331: bed-cradles to bed cradles (Index sub-entry, under "Appliances")

p. 331: Bed-cradles to Bed cradles (Index entry)

p. 331: Bed-sores to Bed sores (Index entry)

p. 331: Brushburn to Brush burn (Index entry)

p. 332: Foot-bath to Foot bath (Index entry)

p. 333: Microörganisms to Microorganisms (Index entry)

p. 333: Pre-natal to Prenatal (Index entry)

p. 334: oss to loss (Index entry for "Weight, loss of")

A fold-out table was facing p. 247 in the original book. For the plain
text versions, it has been split into several smaller tables, with the
"DISEASE" column repeated in each section. In the third section,
"POLIOMYELITIS" has been hyphenated (POLIO-MYELITIS) to save space.

The footnote pertaining to the table is immediately after it, not at the
end of the chapter as usual.]

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "American Red Cross Text-Book on Home Hygiene and Care of the Sick" ***

Copyright 2023 LibraryBlog. All rights reserved.