The following Rules, in reference to the Cholera, are given by an eminent physician of Philadelphia, to his friend in this place.
SOLELY FOR YOUR OWN FAMILY USE. In the event of the appearance of the New Epidemic among us, the following instructions my not be found useless to you.
RESIDENCE.— If airy, clean, dry, and in a neighbourhood of people of comfortable and cleanly habits, your own house will be as safe a residence as you can find elsewhere. If deficient in any important particular, leave it for a better, or go to the country. A country retreat should be high, dry, distant from water, and not in a place subject to Autumnal fevers. There should be no crowd collected in one house, even in the country.
DRESS.— The dress should be such as will prevent the immediate disagreeable perception of changes of temperature. Flannels, or silk, or thick cotton next to the skin, with a constant attention to make the exterior clothing conformable to the weather and the time of day, will greatly conduce to health and security.
SLEEP.— Excess in sleep is a common and dangerous fault. No one should sleep more than eight or less than six hours. Keep the windows of the chamber open until bed-time, and then close them. In very hot weather they might be left open all night, were our climate less liable to sudden changes of temperature; but that insecurity makes it prudent to endure the heat rather than the hazard of change. The family should be so distributed in the sleeping room, as to avoid a crowd. In rooms of moderate size there should not sleep more than two persons. The higher the rooms, the better, other things being equal. The ground floor is always perilous.
DIET.— The diet should be substantial, plain, and easy of digestion. The best vegetable matter, is, rice, old potatoes, stale bread— the best animal food— beef, mutton, full grown fowls and turkeys. All young meat is difficult to digest. Any desert whatever should be avoided. Regularity in meals, both as to time and quantity, should be observed.
DRINKS.— The plainer the drinks the better; good water is to be preferred, but of that, too much is esteemed hurtful. When any other beverage is agreeable and habitual, its use may be continued, provided it is taken in a quantity esteemed moderate by abstemious persons. Black tea is the safest beverage for breakfast and ‘tea’.
EXERCISE AND EXPOSURE.— That degree of exercise which is conductive to health, and not productive of fatigue, should not be neglected: but it should not lead to exposure to too hot a sun, or too damp a night air. Customary exercise is preferable to any other, unless obviously objectionable because of the time or place in which taken. A damp place, or a noonday sun, would neutralize the benefit.
MORAL STATE.— As we are as much under the protection of Him, in whose ‘hands our breath is,’ when the lonely pestilence is abroad as when the messengers of death come in more varied forms; there exists no good reason for excessive fear, and it is the less reasonable, because people in comfortable circumstances and of judicious habits, are less likely to be destroyed by Cholera, than by Influenza, of which no one feels a dread. — Fear too, may be cultivated, and is one of the most powerful exciters of this epidemic. — An excessive fit of fear offers a strong likeness of Cholera. Any undue mental excitement should be avoided, because it leads to debility, and debility is productive of diseased tendencies.— The absurdity of fear, which causes us to avoid the sick, is plain, from the fact, that “People who have mingled often with the sick, are in less danger of infection than those who are not accustomed to such exposure.” Priests, physicians, and nurses, have suffered less than any other class of persons. To succor you poor neighbors will benefit yourselves.
THE DISEASE.— There is the less reason to fear also, because the acute state of cholera is, generally, preceded by some pain and slight diarrhea, the removal of which is easy, and after that, the patient is much more secure. Immediate attention should, therefore, be paid to any irregularity of the stomach or bowels, but not without the advice of a physician: the habitual remedies so often resorted to by your family should not be applied, for time for professional advice is sufficient, and a slight error may not be easily repaired. Failing to obtain such advice, or the symptoms being urgent, go to bed, and, under blankets, apply dry warmth, by bricks, bottles of hot water, &c. take some warm barley water, and wait the arrival of your physician. If the pain, or vomiting, or purging, should become pressing, apply mustard plasters to the spine and whole stomach, as well as to the ancles and feet; and failing in that, put a bandage round the arm, exactly halfway between the wrist and elbow, and with a short stick twist it until the symptoms cease. Do not regard the complaint of its severe tightness, for if it is tight enough it will suspend the symptoms. A surgeon’s tourniquet is better than a common bandage for the purpose.
REMEDIES TO BE PROVIDED.— Mustard, vinegar, laudanum, spirits of wine, ether, castor oil; a dozen pills, consisting each of 5 grains calomel, and 2 grams of opium. Keep always, night and day, water hot. Keep hot bricks at the back of the kitchen fire. Keep on hand common porter bottles with good corks; and obtain a curved tin warmer.
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