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Good Health and Bad Medicine:
 First Aid - Part 1

 First Aid - Part 2

 First Aid - Part 3

 First Aid - Part 4

 First Aid - Part 5

 First Aid - Part 6

 Medicine Cabinet


 Pain - Part 2

 Liniments, Rubbing Salves And Plasters

 Read More Articles About: Good Health and Bad Medicine

First Aid - Part 5

( Originally Published 1940 )


Dog Bite

Because of the danger of rabies, every dog bite should be treated at once by a physician. If the dog is known to have rabies or is suspected of having rabies, the wound must be treated by cauterization with fuming nitric acid by a physician. After such first aid, the local health department should be notified immediately so that the dog can be impounded and watched for the development of symptoms of rabies. The health department consultant will also discuss with the patient and his physician the question of vaccine treatment by the so-called Pasteur method. A suspected dog should not be killed, since that will destroy valuable evidence as to the presence of rabies infection.

If the dog is not believed to have rabies and can be impounded and watched, it is simply necessary to clean the wound with soap and water and apply an antiseptic. If afterward the impounded dog develops rabies, the Pasteur treatment must be given.

Snake Bite

Unless you are an expert, consider all snakes poisonous. About 2,000 to s,000 snake bites are said to occur annually in the United States; and up to one-third of these result fatally. The poisonous snakes of North America include the various rattlers, the water moccasin, the copperhead and the coral snakes.

Some protection against snake bite may be afforded by knee-high boots. But if you are vacationing in a snake-infested locality, it is advisable to carry a syringe of antiserum (Crotalus antitoxin, Mulford Biological Laboratories, Philadelphia, is effective against rattlesnake, water moccasin and copperhead).

If you are bitten, immediately apply a tourniquet a few inches above the bite, using a handkerchief, a shoestring or anything else available. Apply this only tightly enough to compress the return flow of blood—if the tourniquet is too tight, gangrene may result. Release the tourniquet every i o to 15 minutes for about one minute.

Once the tourniquet is applied, make a series of incisions at the bite with a sharp knife or razor blade, and apply suction to the wound. For this purpose, the Asepto Snake Bite Outfit (Becton, Dickinson Sc Co., Rutherford, N. J.) may be used. It consists of a tourniquet, razor blade, suction bulb and cups, iodine antiseptic and complete directions. Suction may be applied by the mouth if apparatus is not available. If you have antitoxin with you, read carefully the direction slip, inject the serum and release the tourniquet. Obtain medical attention as soon as possible.

Do not run or get overheated. Exertion tends to cause dispersion of the poison throughout the tissues. Do not use alcoholic stimulants. Do not apply potassium permanganate or cauterize the wound with strong acid.

Mosquito Bites

Since mosquitoes are not only nuisances but also conveyors of malaria, yellow fever and other diseases, especially in the South, it is important to observe certain precautions. Houses should be screened. In the Southern states, beds should be carefully netted. (Drainage of swamps, ponds and other stagnant waters is necessary for thorough prevention.)

Mosquito repellants such as spirits of camphor or pine oil are effective for only two or three hours. Oil of Citronella will act longer, but the odor is objectionable to many people. The U. S. Department of Agriculture recommends the following formula as a repellant:

Oil of Citronella 1/2 oz.

Spirits of Camphor 1/2 oz.

Oil of Cedar 1/4 oz.

The addition of two or three ounces of liquid petrolatum to this mixture will retard the evaporation of the volatile oils.

A few drops on a towel hung over the head of the bed will keep common house mosquitoes away. If they are abundant and persistent, a few drops of the mixture should be rubbed on the face and hands. In Southern states, where the mosquitoes carrying yellow fever may be prevalent, two applications should be made during the night, one before retiring and one shortly before dawn, unless the .mosquitoes can be completely excluded by screening or netting.

Drs. L. O. Howard and E. C. Bishopp, of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, recommend the following as .treatment for mosquito bites:

"The most satisfactory remedy known to the writers, through personal experience, is moist soap. Wet the end of a piece of ordinary toilet soap aid rub it gently on the puncture, and the irritation will soon cease. Others have enthusiastically recommended household ammonia, alcohol, or glycerin. One correspondent touches the puncture with a lump of indigo; another with a naphthalene moth ball; another with iodine. Applying gentle heat has also been reported to relieve the irritation."

Bee, Wasp and Hornet Stings, and Other Bites

In treating a bee, wasp, or hornet bite, the sting, if present, should first be removed and then the same care given as for a mosquito bite. If there is pain or swelling, apply compresses soaked in cold boric acid solution.

Wood ticks may transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever or tularemia and, occasionally, may cause a peculiar type of paralysis, especially in children. These ticks are numerous throughout the eastern section of the United States as well as in the Western states. Persons exposed to ticks, such as hunters, hikers, farmers, etc., should examine the whole body frequently to see whether any of these ticks are attached; the head and neck should be gone over at least twice a day.

If a tick does become attached, don't wait for a doctor to remove it. Get it off as soon as possible, preferably not by force, as this leaves the irritating mandibles in the skin. A drop of benzine or turpentine applied to the insect will often cause it to drop off. The bite and surrounding tissues should then be disinfected by inserting a round toothpick, dipped in iodine, into the exact spot where the tick was attached and drilling it in slightly.

Employ forceps to remove ticks from dogs and other animals. Do not use the fingers, since infection can be contracted by crushing a tick full of blood from an animal that has had the fever. For information regarding the localities where ticks are most prevalent, write to the Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine, U. S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C.

For genuine discomfort, a good case of chiggers is not easily surpassed. Chiggers are brick-red larvae, barely visible to the naked eye, which are sometimes found on low vegetation from April until late October. Once on the body, they generally run until they meet art obstruction, such as a garter or a belt, and then fasten themselves to the skin, where they remain for two to four days, after which they drop off.

The actual bite is not felt, but after several hours the itching is usually very severe. The affected areas become congested and bloody, and may require ten to fourteen days, or even longer, to heal. To remove chiggers, apply kerosene or benzine for a short time to the bites. (Caution: Avoid leaded gasoline.) Their removal should be followed by a half-hour bath, with frequent soapings. Then apply rubbing alcohol to the bites, followed by boric acid ointment. If the itching is very severe, 1% of phenol and o.2% of menthol may be incorporated in the ointment. A complete change of clothing should follow.

The mites may be destroyed on vegetation by spraying with sulphur.

Black widow spiders are distinctly dangerous, and anyone bitten should receive immediate medical treatment. Jet black with a red or yellow spot on the abdomen, the black widow chooses dark, damp places, often privies, for its habitat. An effective antiserum against its poison has been developed but is not yet generally available. The bites of other spiders found in this country are rarely serious.

A more complete description of insects and their bites may be obtained in leaflets distributed free by the U. S. Department of Agriculture.


A. Prevention:

1. Avoid fatigue and exhaustion.

2. Change socks if wet with perspiration.

3. Wear woolens. Clothing should be abundant but not constricting.

4. Recognize early signs, such as numbness, coldness and loss of sensation.

B. Treatment:

1. Do not rub snow on the affected part. Cold snow is gritty and will injure the affected part and make infection possible.

2. Warm the affected part gradually by placing it next to your own warm skin or the skin of a companion. The ears and nose may be warmed by rubbing with the hands; the fingers by placing them under the armpit next to the skin; the feet against the skin of a companion.

3. Too rapid warming, as before a stove, is dangerous.

4. Avoid violent friction.

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