7147. This is also a febrile disease; but one of its essential characters is an inflammation of the skin. The skin is red, and this redness rapidly spreads; it is accompanied with swelling, of a variable amount, often very considerable. When it attacks the face, the appearance of the patient is totally altered by the swelling; all the features are confused, the eyes are concealed, the expression distorted; the person would not be recognised by his nearest friends. With all this there is high fever, with quick, full pulse, thirst, vomiting, violent shivering, constipation, and, at a later stage, and in certain forms of the complaint, sinking and exhaustion. The chief domestic treatment is to obey implicitly the medical directions, particularly as to the constant application of warm or cold lotions, as may be recommended. The rags with which such lotions are applied must be constantly wetted; if they are suffered every now and then to become dry, they not only lose their effect, but become positively hurtful. If erysipelas attack the head and face, it is a dangerous disease. Any approach to delirium or stupor, any anxiety as evidenced in the expressions, or any giddiness or faintness, should be looked out for, and should be instantly communicated to the medical man, as inflammation of certain parts within the scull may come on, and be wiih difficulty restrained. One of the best topical applications in erysipelas is an acidulated solution of nitrate of silver, as employed by Dr. A. T. Thomson. The solution is made with a drachm of nitrate of silver, ten drops of nitric acid, and an ounce of distilled water. This is pencilled over the inflamed parts, extending to a little beyond them, and leaving it to dry. It blackens the skin at the time, but the cuticle exfoliates and leaves the surface health in a few days.Readers who are interested in the daily aspects of our mid-1800s ancestors might enjoy taking a look at The American Family Encyclopedia of Useful Knowledge, or Book of 7223 Receipts and Facts: A Whole Library of Subjects Useful to Every Individual. The Table of Contents alone is ten pages and worth browsing to see what you might find useful.
Webster, Thomas, William Parkes, and David Meredith Reese. The American Family Encyclopedia of Useful Knowledge, or Book of 7223 Receipts and Facts: A Whole Library of Subjects Useful to Every Individual. New York: Derby & Jackson, 1856.