Loading...
Larger font
Smaller font
Copy
Print
Contents

Health, or, How to Live

 - Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "undefined".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First
    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents

    HOW TO TAKE BATHS

    BY MISS HARRIET N. AUSTIN, M. D.

    To many persons the descriptions and explanations below may seem unnecessarily minute, but they will not, I think, to him who has had much experience in giving instructions for home-treatment. He who has seen persons attempt to take Sitz-Baths in wash-bowls, to take Half-Baths without undressing, to give a Dripping-Sheet by wetting one corner of the sheet in cold water, or to give hot fomentations with a small linen towel, or a bit of flannel as large as his two hands, has learned how crude are the notions of the people in regard to the whole matter of water treatment. A vast deal of injury has been done in this method of treatment, as well by the bungling use of appliances, which, if skilfully used, would have been entirely proper, as by the use of such as were wholly unsuited to the person to whom they were administered.HHTL 78.1

    We do not give heroic treatment. We do not believe in it. Our baths are all mild, and given at not very frequent intervals. The first thing to be done when a bath is to be given is to prepare the room, making it of a comfortable temperature. The second is to prepare the bath, using soft water, and making it of the right temperature, as indicated by a thermometer. Persons sometimes ask us to explain what we mean by certain temperatures, so that they can get along without a thermometer. This is impossible. The terms hot, cold, warm, tepid are so indefinite, and convey so different impressions to different persons, as to be entirely unreliable in giving directions. What is hot to one person is cold to another, in the morbid states through which sick persons pass. And the sensations of healthy persons are so variable that they cannot be relied upon to temper baths by the touch, for those with whom a slight change is of consequence. Of course the line where cold passes into tepid, or tepid into warm, is inappreciable, but in general terms I should consider a bath at 75 degrees Fahrenheit cold, at 85 degrees tepid, at 95 degrees warm, and at 105 degrees hot. The idea that the hotter a person is, the colder should be his bath, is productive of great mischief. The true rule is exactly the reverse of this. That is, a person in a high fever should have his bath at a higher temperature than if he had no fever; for what, in the latter case, would be a pleasant temperature to him, might be shockingly cold in the former. So, while in such conditions a bath at 90 degrees would subdue the fever, one at 75 degrees would be likely to produce violent reaction, and in half an hour the fever would be higher than before. 1If a person in fever is to be packed, his conditions are much more readily and safely controlled by wetting two sheets in water at 90 degrees, wringing them but slightly, packing him in them, or even by putting him into a fresh pack when the first one becomes heated, than by putting him into a cold sheet.HHTL 78.2

    Having the bath ready, the next thing is to get the patient ready. One who is suffering from acute disease may often, when feeling nervous, and restless, and exhausted, be greatly refreshed and soothed by the administration of a bath. But persons who are taking a course of treatment for chronic ailments, or those who simply bathe for cleanliness, should never take their baths when tired. Baths are always most beneficial in their effects when taken with the body at its highest point of vigor. Hence, as a rule, ten or eleven o’clock in the day is the best hour for bathing. When this is impracticable, the hours of rising or retiring are unobjectionable. No bath should be taken immediately after or before a meal. Care should be taken to have the feet warm on coming for a bath. In cases where they are habitually cold and cannot be warmed by exercise, it is often well to take a warm foot-bath for a few minutes before a general bath or pack. Next, the patient lays aside all his clothing, and wets his forehead and top of the head in the bath or cool water; and if the bath is continued beyond a few minutes, like a Sitz-Bath, a wet towel or cap should be kept on the head. If the bath is to be reduced, as we very frequently do, as reducing a half or Sitz-Bath from 90 degrees to 85 degrees or 80 degrees, the patient rises out of the water while the attendant pours in cold water. Soap should never be used except for persons who bathe very seldom, or who are very dirty. When a person comes from any general bath, that is, having the whole surface bathed, he should be instantly enveloped in his wiping sheet, and himself and the attendant should fall to rubbing vigorously. Sheets should be made specially for bathing purposes. A common cotton bed sheet will answer for wiping; for a sheet of some kind must be used, towels after a general bath being entirely unfit, and crash towels quite out of the question. But for packing or dripping sheets, use linen, and have the sheet not longer than to reach from the person’s head to his heels. The fabric may be coarse and heavy, but must be soft and smooth.HHTL 79.1

    As soon as the skin is thoroughly dried after a bath, the sheet is removed, and the rubbing continued briskly and gently over the whole surface with the dry hands, for four or five minutes. A healthy person can do his own rubbing, but the invalid is greatly benefited by having an assistant. And every thing that this person has to do in administering the treatment, should be done with energy and expedition, not leaving the patient in a shivering, uncomfortable state for even the shortest length of time.HHTL 80.1

    After getting through with the bath, immediate means must be taken to establish thorough and permanent reaction. If the person has a good degree of strength, he may go out well dressed for a brisk walk, or to split wood, or fodder the cattle, or do anything which will keep him stirring. But in the case of very delicate persons, it is often better, particularly if the weather is inclement, to go to bed. well covered up, with a cool cloth on the head, and a warm blanket at the feet, if needful, and lie for an hour or two, till the circulation becomes entirely quiet. And sometimes comparatively strong persons do well to follow this course, and get up and take their exercise afterward. If a person uses these means, and still grows chilly thirty or sixty minutes after the bath, or if after an hour or two he feels an unusual languor or exhaustion, his bath has done him harm instead of good.HHTL 81.1

    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents