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Health, or, How to Live

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    GENERAL BATHS

    The HALF-BATH, so called because about half the person is immersed in water, is taken in a tub about four and a half feet long, twenty-six inches broad toward the widest end, and gradually tapering till it is no more than fifteen inches broad toward the other end, and eleven or twelve inches high. At least, this is a convenient size and shape. Ours are made with staves and hoops, and sit on wooden horses about twenty inches high, with a hole stopped with a plug in the bottom, at the small end. The bath is prepared at the right temperature, about six inches deep; the patient wets his head and steps into it, sitting down in the broad end of the tub, with his feet extended toward the narrow end. To have it done just right, there should be two attendants, one to rub the patient’s legs, and the other to rub his back and arms, while he rubs the front part of his body. The rubbing should be done lightly and briskly, dipping the water up on the body with the hands very frequently. The common time to continue the bath is for two minutes, though to gain a particular end it is often continued much longer.HHTL 81.2

    In an institution where all the apparatus is at hand, this is one of the most convenient, pleasant, and efficient forms of bath.HHTL 82.1

    The PLUNGE is taken in a tub four or five feet deep, nearly filled with water, and so narrow that the person can place a hand on each side of the tub, leap in, crouch down till the water rises to his chin, and then leap out. This is a very pleasant, and, if taken cold, a very exhilarating form of bath. When arranged, as we have it at Our Home, so that the temperature of the water can be raised to about 75 degrees or 80 degrees, it is one of the best baths which a robust, healthy person can take for cleanliness, daily or tri-weekly.HHTL 82.2

    The DRIPPING-SHEET will, perhaps, be found to be more practicable for invalids in families, than any other form of bath. It requires but little water, can be taken on the nicest carpet, and if mild in its temperature, produces very mild reactions. An oil-cloth should be spread on the floor or carpet, and the sheet put in a pail half full of water. The patient stands in the middle of the cloth, and the attendant raises the sheet by two of the corners and throws it around him, so as to completely envelop him from his neck to his feet, and immediately falls to rubbing him vigorously with both hands, over the sheet. If desired, the sheet can be partly relieved of the water by squeezing through the hand, as it is raised from the Pail. It is common to apply the sheet twice; first in front, lapping it behind, rubbing one minute, then removing, dipping in the water again, and putting around from behind, and rubbing another minute. A very feeble person can take this bath sitting on a stool, if need be; but in that case their should be two persons to rub outside the sheet. Or a strong person can take it alone, as he can reach nearly every part of his person to rub, and can wash his back by drawing the sheet across it. It is an excellent bath.HHTL 82.3

    The PAIL-DOUCHE should be taken in a room where a portion of the floor is lower than the main part, and from which the water is carried off by a drain. From one to six pails full of water may be used. The person stands on the depressed floor, and the attendant, standing four or five feet away, takes up a pail and dashes the water with considerable force, at three or four dashes, over him, letting it strike near the upper part of the body, and so run down and cover him; the recipient meantime turning slowly round, so as to receive the water on all parts of the body. This is a very pleasant bath, if not taken below 80 degrees, and entirely unobjectionable to be used daily for cleanliness by persons in health.HHTL 82.4

    The Towel-Washing has no advantage over the dripping-sheet, except in instances where it is used simply for cleanliness and is more convenient, or where the person is too feeble to sit up. One who is very feeble may be bathed in this way without fatigue or exertion. The nurse uncovers an arm, or a leg, or a small portion of the body at a time, partially wrings a soft towel out of tepid water, and washes the part quickly and gently, wipes with a soft towel, rubs with the warm, dry hand, covers again, and so proceeds till the whole surface is washed. Or, if this is too much at one time, the operation may be suspended an hour or two. Patients who are feverish are often greatly soothed and comforted by having the back bathed in this way several times in a day, or even by having the face, hands, and feet bathed. Water may be used more freely by spreading a dry sheet or blanket under the patient to protect the bed. If the patient is able to get up for his bath, the dripping sheet should be used instead of a towel.HHTL 83.1

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