Friday, January 27, 2017

Common Cold

A few years back when I was hit with a chest cold and I thought it only fitting to choose the subject of having a cold. I found this article interesting. My great grandmother died of influenza in 1918 leaving behind five children, the youngest being only 3 months old.

Below is an excerpt from Six Discourses on the Functions of the Lungs by Samuel Sheldon Fitch. ©1853
I have before hinted that a common cold will occasionally cure consumption. It may seem paradoxical that a cold will cause consumption, and will also at other times cure it. I will endeavor to make you understand how this can be. Suppose I stick a nail in my hand, and suppose inflammation follows; should this inflammation run over the skin of my hand, and be superficial, my hand would swell very much, but I should not lose it; but if the inflammation should attack the bones and deep-seated parts of my hand, I might lose the hand. It is the same with a cold; at one time it will attack the deep-seated parts of the lungs, and cause consumption; at other times it will only run over the skin, lining the air-pipes and air-cells of the lungs; in this way enlarging the lungs very much, and will prevent and even cure consumption, as I have witnessed in many cases. The case of Mr. McNeil, of Hillsboro', mentioned in heart cases, at page 04, is an illustration of consumption retarded, and its fatal termination prevented by a cold on the lungs; or, as it is called, pulmonary catarrh. General McNeil had a cough and seeming consumption for thirty-five years before his heart became affected; when for five years the heart affection and cold acted together, and both cured the consumption upon the lungs; when, the exciting cause being removed, all got well, both the heart disease and the lung affection, &c
In Liverpool, England, I met a lady whose mother died of consumption, and, as her only child was very delicate as she grew up, all thought she would, at an early period, fall a prey to consumption. At nineteen years of age, she took a bad cold, as it was thought, and as it actually was: soon her health became good. When I knew her, she had had a cough and daily expectoration for twentyseven years; saving its inconvenience, she enjoyed excellent health, with a full, well expanded chest, without any symptoms of a decline. In November, 1842, I lectured at Burlington, Vt., upon consumption; after the lecture, a respectable lawyer of that town, Griswold, Esq., came to see me. He told me that if he could have thought I had previously known him, he would have believed that I had lectured upon him; as my various remarks so strikingly corresponded with his experience. He had suffered from a cough for more than thirty years, and raised a great deal from his lungs. At one time he had a bad influenza, and joined to his old cough, presented strong symptoms of rapid consumption. It was in March, a very cold, windy month. He was attended by two extremely well educated physicians, both professors, teachers and practitioners of medicine. They adopted the usual practice, a very warm room; as if cold were a mortal enemy to the lungs, and emetic tartar, confinement to his bed, and all accessible remedies, to reduce the strength of the patient, and thus drive off his disease. Under this treatment his strength rapidly declined; cough and expectoration became profuse, and every symptom of rapid consumption appeared. In this state his two physicians, knowing the extent of his business, felt it to be their duty to make known to him that he was near his end. On this announcement, he said at once, "If that is the case, why have you kept me so long in bed? I should have much preferred to have been up." He immediately had an arm chair brought to him, that had wheels on its feet, and caused himself to be dressed, and was wheeled into his parlor—a large, well aired room. This was on Thursday; on Saturday after, his physicians called; he told them that the next Monday morning he should start for Montreal, capital of Canada, about eighty miles north from Burlington—"For," said he, "as you say, I have a great deal to do, and but a short time to do it in." They remonstrated against this unheard of temerity, as a species of suicide; that his death must be the result in a very short time. Their entreaties and positive advice had no effect upon his resolution. He went to Montreal, and returned nearly well. I saw him eighteen years after this transaction, in vigorous health, although still subject to his old cough and expectoration. As a very strong intimation of his consumptive habit, I may mention he has lost two sons by consumption.

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