Heat and Disease.—Heat becomes a predisposing cause of disease as soon as the temperature rises above 70 degrees or 80 degrees. When it begins to affect healthy life the pulse, the heart action and respiration are quickened. The skin and lungs are unable to equalize temperature, and the condition of the entire body becomes one of susceptibility to disease.

The Sun's Heat.—Exposure of the body for long periods to the heat of the sun is apt to result in more or less serious disturbances, such as congestions, brain hemorrhages, meningitis, etc. Hence the need of protection against the direct rays of the sun.

Sunstroke.—Sunstroke, or thermic fever, is the result of exposure to heat rays. Its early symptoms are faintness, thirst, great heat and dryness of skin, with prostration. As quickly as possible the body should be subjected to the ice or cold water treatment to neck and head.

Traveling in Hot Climates.—Do not travel during the heat of the day. Protect the person by some covering which will reflect the sun' s rays. Rest during the mid-day hours. Content yourself with a scanty, unstimulating diet. Use gently stimulating baths. Wear thin, light, loosely-fitting clothes.

Cold as a Disease Producer.—Cold becomes a disturber of bodily function as soon as it falls to a temperature which ceases to be agreeable. The tissues shrink, the capillaries grow sluggish, perspiration is suppressed, sensibility is impaired.

Sudden Cold.—Sudden falls of temperature are marked by a long train of diseases, or by aggravated or fatal turns to existing diseases. This is particularly true of consumption, catarrh, influenza or grippe and bronchitis.

Cold and Elderly People.—From thirty years on the human body begins to draw on its surplus power. This power is constantly diminishing as we age. Hence cold affects the aged most seriously by calling largely on a diminishing power. It is difficult to sustain a " blood heat."

Cold and Perspiration.—Cold produces disease by checking perspiration, thus preventing the escape of injurious materials from the blood, and throwing more work on kidneys and lungs, which often become overtaxed.

Cold and the Blood.—Cold tends to drive the blood from the blood-vessels to the surface, thus filling one or more of the circulating organs too full of blood. If any of these vessels be weak the man is handicapped in his battle against disease.

Clothes.—The body loses heat by radiation, by evaporation, by rapid air movement. Hence the necessity for clothing, which cuts off radiation of heat, interferes with the evaporation from the body, and limits the conduction of heat by rapid air movements. Clothing, therefore, plays a most important part in warding off diseases and disease-producing conditions.

Regulation of Clothing.—Garments worn next the skin should be of wool or silk, as best absorbents of perspiration, and as non-conductors of heat. Weights may be light or heavy according to the seasons or different constitutions. White or gray clothes are preferable to black, when one is subjected to direct solar heat.

Poisoned Clothing.—Clothes made of dyed materials are sometimes injurious to health, as containing poisons. This is particularly so of bright colored stockings or underclothing.

Local Injuries.—Cold gives rise to painful local affections, such as frost-bite and chilblains, the former involving the nose, ears and fingers, the latter the feet. Heat applications in any of these cases must be avoided. The cold treatment is best.

Light.—Light has a powerful effect on the system, through both the blood and nerves. It is, therefore, an active agency in the generation of diseases and their cures. It is the essential of all growth, and particularly affects the outer tissues as well as the internal organization.

light and the Eyes.—Light for the eyes should be carefully graduated, so as to prevent impairment of vision. It has the effect, if profuse, of rendering the eyes sensitive, so that they cannot bear the effects of even subdued daylight without pain.

Colored Light.—Many advantages are claimed for colored light. Blue and green lights are preferable to orange, yellow or red for the eyes. Certain of the colored lights act beneficially on animal and vegetable growths, and have a great influence in hastening the cures of certain diseases.

Electricity.—Electrical conditions of the atmosphere have a direct effect on the human system. On the approach of a thunder storm, one may frequently notice a difficulty of breathing. Rheumatics are painfully affected, neuralgia is intensified. Many existing maladies are aggravated by electrical conditions.

Electricity in Medicine.—As a medical agent electricity has grown rapidly in favor. As a remedy for many nervous diseases and for pain the galvanic battery has come into quite general use. It is a clean, convenient and safe remedy. It is also economic, for the cost of an electrical machine is within the means of most every one, and it can be self-operated. For the X-ray consult index.

Climate, Soil and Health.—It is not alone in temperature that climates differ from one another, and are endowed with the power to check or engender diseases. Into its influences on the human body must enter all the manifestations of humidity, tempest, fog, dew and wind directions.

Diseases Affected by Climate.—Among the diseases favorably affected by a change of climate are consumption, bronchial affections, diseases of the throat, asthma, chronic gout and rheumatism, dyspepsia, kidney affections, especially Bright's disease, and neuralgia. The advantages of a climate where sea air abounds, or where the air is rarefied and dry, are fully recognized by medical men.

Soils.—These affect health in the most direct manner, and through their mineral, animal and vegetable matter, also their air and water. Diseases connected with moist soils are of almost every type, rheumatism, catarrh and typhoid being most general. Moist soils are favorite breeding places for germs affecting health, and drainage systems should be made as perfect as possible.

Contagion.—The subject of contagion is one of popular notoriety and apprehension. Certain receptive conditions, or a predisposition, the nature of which is as yet unknown, exist in individuals, which appear essential to the development of the specific poisons, and the establishment of the disease. An immunity against the repetition of a malady is generally conferred by one attack of a contagious disease. This safety has been proved real upon an enormous scale in regard to small-pox, and, in relation to the other contagious disorders, a belief in such immunity from second attacks is founded upon very extended observation; but the protection acquired by a first attack of any of these diseases is of no avail against the rest. Measles, for instance, renders the human body proof, as a rule, against measles, but leaves it as open to small-pox as before, and so on with all the rest.

Morbid Poisons.—With regard o the cooperative effect of fermentation, putrescence or decomposition there is some reason to believe that it may quicken the activity or facilitate the development of specific morbid poisons in the way of a predisposing cause to their reproduction. There is no small amount of circumstantial evidence tending to show that conditions of this kind may be thus favorable to the propagation of specific diseases, even to the extent of rendering them epidemics, in consequence of the predisposing agency of putrefying emanations.

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Last Modified: Monday, 13-May-2013 15:31:46 EDT