Chapter 21 - Domestic Management of the Sick Room
Choice of the Sick Room
Fumigation
Freezing Mixtures
Attendants
Prognostics
Bed Sores
Diet in Disease and Convalescence
Fluid Aliments

21.6 Bed Sores

Bed Sores. THE danger of bed sores is often in proportion to the carelessness of the nurse, although the condition of the patient has much to do with it. They attack first the skin at the end of the spine, the hip joints, knees, elbows and heels. Debility from continued fever, from paralysis, old age, continued pressure, unclean bedding, and the untidy habits of the nurse, are the immediate cause. The first appearance of a bed sore is to be noticed in redness of the skin; soon a blister forms, the skin breaks away, leaving the Surface raw and moist. Decomposition sets in very quickly if the symptoms are neglected, and the blister becomes an open sore. The outcome of the disease depends upon the condition of the patient, and the removal or non removal of the cause. Treatment. If there is much debility, tonics should be given. The various places of the body which are likely to become sore should be rubbed four times a day, from five to ten minutes, with a stimulating mixture like spirits of camphor or olive oil and brandy; a good liniment is alcohol or weak bay rum. Be careful not to irritate the skin, simply cleanse and harden. The prominences of bone may be covered with surgeon plaster if there is sweating of the body. Unless a blister forms, the part should be relieved of pressure by aircushions. Collodion should be applied, and the parts kept dry. If the blister turns to an open sore, use poultices until it is open and the matter discharged, then use stimulating cleansing washes of borax water or weak carbolic acid. Peruvian balsam on cotton wool is a good remedy. The best preventive measures are careful nursing, dry, smooth sheets, air cushions, frequent changes of position. The bedding and night robe should be absolutely clean, dry and smooth and frequently changed. Ovarian Disease. OR, as it is usually termed, ovarian dropsy, has hitherto proved incurable; but it is relieved by tapping; and, if the powers of life be sustained by proper food, and carriage exercise in the open air; and if all medicines be let alone, except such as are required to regulate the bowels, life may be sustained for many years. All diseases not involving organic changes are, with a few exceptions, more or less under the control of medicines, and are consequently curable. But Some diseases, in which no organic changes have been discovered, are nevertheless incurable. This is the case with spasmodic asthma, which has rarely been cured. It is true that functional disturbances are not unfrequently associated with organic diseases; but, under such circumstances, it is the province, of the attending physician to point out to the friends of the patient the greater or the less degree of danger in these complications.

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