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PORCHES WHERE TUBERCULOSIS PATIENTS ARE KEPT SHOULD BE DISINFECTED OFTEN.
Outdoor sleeping will not alone suffice to cure.
methods. We no longer need a cure for tention to stamping out the disease at its that which has practically ceased to source, by methods that have hitherto exist. Why can't we do the same with never been considered. tuberculosis? We can. Why don't we? Optimists who claim to know, are for
Consumptives are being bred hourly, ever making the assertion, in vague, unmore rapidly than they can be cared for, defined ways, that tuberculosis will be much less cured, by any present arrange- stamped out completely within ten years. ments of any kind whatsoever. Special And it should be. But not one of them hospitals and sanitaria can not be built seems to think it necessary to take the fast enough to meet the essential require- public into his confidence long enough ments, now or for the future. Even to so much as hint at any definite method were it possible to make the demand for by which this much desired consummahospitals equal to the supply of patients, tion is to be accomplished. Most of the economic drain on the public purse them do go so far, however, as to be could not long be borne. The load loud in their continuous demands for would prove greater than any community more money. It would be a pleasure, could sustain. For economic, as well as and perhaps a revelation to those who for practical sanitary reasons, we shall are accustomed to contribute, to know have to change the policies devised for exactly, by itemization, what these the immediate future, and adopt instead medical prophets do, and intend to do, some method of checking, at the very with the many munificent contributions. source, the increasing annual crop of But, any money is useless for the purconsumptives. Those afflicted must, of pose intended, unless some sane, definite, course, be cared for; but an increase in logical method be presented, with the the number of hospitals will not stamp sole object of combating the disease at out the disease. We reap what we sow; its very fountain-head. Who of the let us cease to sow the seeds of consump- great public has ever heard of such a tion, and there will be no harvest to plan? One man, at the head of the store, in sickly human form, in the health department of one of our forenumerous and expensively projected, most cities, thinks that an appropriation special hospitals. We must reconsider by the city, of about $22,000,000, would our plans, for they are built on sands, be about the right amount as a beginning and devote more of our time and at- in the extermination of the disease, to be
THROWING DEATH OFF THE TRAIL
followed by appropriations of like and patient, the disease is usually pretty amount for the next fifteen years. This well established by the time it is discovmakes a total of $330,000,000. Rather ered, and often past the stage of probbig figures for a modest health-officer
able cure. to deal with! Yet he presents no defi- But granted that the disease is discovnite plan of campaign, nor states in any ered in time, what then? Brown, for detail whatever how this huge sum is to instance, having been told that he has be expended. These figures apply to his tuberculosis, takes a sensible view of the one city alone. With the present lack- situation, and packs off at once for Ariof-method style of campaign against the zona, where he pitches a tent in the disease, ten times that, or any other sum, desert, as a more or less permanent would be useless. However, if the ex- abode. One would imagine the conpenditure suggested should bring the re- ditions under which he lives to be ideal sult predicted, the price paid would not
for his purpose.
The air is dry and be too high. But why follow vague warm; the sky always blue, and the only prophecies, when the desired end should time he spends in his tent is during the be attained by an expenditure of $100,- heat of mid-day, and when he retires to 000, or less, annually, in the instance his blanket for the night. For a time cited, by adopting a practicable, com- he improves, and makes no change in mon-sense method, with the probability of completely exterminating the disease in less than five years?
It is generally conceded that if consumption can be “caught early," discovered at the beginning and “taken in time," the consumptive stands a very good chance of being cured. This statement should pass unchallenged. But there are two great difficulties in the way of discovering the disease "at the very beginning." The first pertains to the physician. Not one physician in ten can diagnose the disease in its earliest stages. This is no reflection on the average medical man, for even the eleventh physician, who is probably an “expert," is sometimes mistaken. The other difficulty is "in the very nature of things,” and pertains to the patient himself. Not one person in fifty so much as even thinks of consulting a physician, until the disease becomes troublesome to himself, and fairly apparent to his friends. As a result of these two difficulties, per- No HARM, But Much Good Will BE ACCOMPLISHED BY SLEEPING
OUT LIKE THIS. taining alike to physician
In the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, Arizona.
the location of his tent for months. last and all the time, a “house” disease. Then as time rolls on, he takes a turn A realization of the vast importance of for the worse, and in less than a year is this one fact, simplifies the problem of dead. Why? Jones is another victim the prevention and cure of tuberculosis of the disease, who also makes up his to such an extent, that the mind of a mind to go to Arizona. He has an idea child should be able to solve it. Any of his own that he can get along without physician who has had any experience any tent, and sleeps with only the stars worth considering, can call to memory above, rolled up in his blanket. Having innumerable instances of houses which no tent as a fixed abode, he naturally he knows to be nothing less than veritamoves from place to place each day, ble breeding-places for tuberculosis,sleeping on new and different ground houses in which family after family, each night. That is an important point. healthy enough when they moved into Jones ends by being cured. Why? Just one of these plague-ridden dwellings, has
more instance, after which these sacrificed victim after victim, too often in "whys” will be explained. Smith has the name of heredity, to the devastating the disease, and goes to the West. He ravages of this most treacherous of makes a rapid gain from the start, and plagues. feels and looks in perfect health long With this hint as a key to the probbefore a year is gone. He returns home, lem, let us try to answer the three satisfied that he is cured. His friends "whys” which arose in the typical incongratulate him, and life looks sweeter stances of Brown, Jones and Smith. In than ever before. In less than four the first place, not one of these three months he is once more in the tenacious should ever have contracted the disease. clutches of the disease. It is time to Secondly, the three of them could have consider, at this point, some reason for been cured at home, and Brown should these different terminations, as an ex- never have died. Let us explain. planation of these three instances will Before Brown had contracted the disthrow much needed light on the cure and ease, he had moved in the month of May, prevention of tuberculosis.
into a house in another part of the town In any discussion of tuberculosis, one where he had always lived. By fall, he important fact must be constantly kept had contracted tuberculosis. It was disin mind: consumption is contagious. It covered later, that several different is useless to dodge this statement. Yet
Yet families, who had occupied this same it is the most difficult fact to drive into house in succession, had lost in turn the public mind. Owing to the slow de- several members from tuberculosis. No velopment of the disease, it is difficult attempt had ever been made to disinfect for its victims to understand how or the house. As already stated, Brown where they contracted it. This slow went to Arizona, pitched his tent on a development is unfortunate. If tubercu- certain spot, and never made any change losis developed its symptoms in a few from that one spot until his death. Note days, like cholera or yellow-fever, it that fact. As a result, the soil over would have been stamped out in all which he slept, night after night, became communities long since. Further, it is saturated with the accumulated germs seldom, or never, “caught" on the high- which he expelled in coughing, so that ways or by-ways, from some consump- he was continually, at night, re-breathing tive passer-by; nor from occasional into his system, the very "seeds" which travel on railways or street-cars; nor cause the disease. He was re-poisoning from the casual wind or dust of the himself nightly, and didn't know it. His streets. One does not have to go so far system would have been able to throw from home to find the real source of the off the original “germ-poison” which it contagion. It is safe to say that nine contracted, but it was not strong enough persons out of ten who have the disease, to withstand a new dose of the poison contracted it in their own homes, or, every night. Had he changed the locamore specifically, in the very rooms in tion of his tent daily, he could have which they are accustomed to live and slept each night in an atmosphere pracbreathe. In short, tuberculosis is first, tically germ-free. There is a new lesson in this. The open-air treatment is all been disinfected, before being occupied right, but it must be carried out by right by him or any one else. These three methods. All early cases of consump- cases cited are but typical instances. tion which have failed to recover by out- There are thousands upon thousands of door treatment, must lay the blame to Browns, and Joneses, and Smiths, living faulty, incomplete methods in carrying and dying this very day, whose story, if out the details of the treatment. Jones, told in its true light, would match exwho recovered, you will remember, did actly the simple, but pathetic history, of change his location every day, having no these three men. tent to bother him, and in doing so, Before taking up the important matavoided the fatal mistake of Brown. ter of prevention and cure, the temptaHow about Smith? The case of Smith tion is strong to give some detailed is of the greatest importance. He had criticism as to what has been thus far recovered, you will remember, and re- accomplished as a result of legislative turned to his home feeling fine,—back enactment in its specific bearing on to what? To the very same plague- tuberculosis. Much could be said on ridden room in which he had first con- the mooted question of the "tuberculin tracted the disease,-a room reeking test" of dairy herds, but lack of space with tubercular germ-life, and which had forbids. Aside from that, any legislation been occupied, it was learned later, by enacted, or even so much as suggested, five different consumptives at various has pertained almost exclusively to the times. The disease got a hold on him “spitting nuisance," and the use of the a second time, for the simple reason that public drinking cup.
These crusades he came back to the original source of are certainly harmless enough, and do his disease. He should have sought new good in the way of inculcating good quarters; or else the house, and particu- manners and etiquette, but how about larly the room he occupied, should have their utility as regards actual results? Any one, after a moment's thought, can adoption. The extreme simplicity of a answer that question, but we wish to method is often against it. People are consider it in the light of information so accustomed to "taking something" for derived from existing conditions in other all ills of the flesh, that it is not easy for countries. In the cities of the most en- them to change their habits of thought lightened of European countries, anti- on the subject. Besides, the public is spitting ordinances are unnecessary, be- so used to having something mystericause the people there are not addicted ously complicated thrust at it, at so to the habit. This is true of London, much per "thrust," that it is almost imParis, Berlin and Vienna. Another possible to bring this same public to the thing, no European in the cities men- realization that any one is sufficiently intioned ever thinks of using any but his terested in the welfare of the people, to own drinking cup. This is not said for offer them something for nothing. And the purpose of praising Europeans at the too often they are quite right. Forexpense of our own belittlement, but tunately, the idea here presented offers merely as a prelude to the statement that no opportunity for any material gain. the European mortality from tubercu- No would move into a house losis is as great as ours, and in some which had not been disinfected, in which instances, greater. The conclusion the very last occupants had just gone drawn is, if all legislation thus far en- through a siege of small-pox. It is imacted against the spread of tuberculosis portant to bear this in mind, whenever were stringently enforced to the very one moves into new quarters. Did the letter, we would note little or no diminu- last occupants have consumption, or did tion in the ravages of the disease.