[ Prophylaxis, or Method of Preventing Infection ] Dr. William James Almon
Date: Published after 1796.
Source: Manuscript Notebook of Dr. William James Almon
Institution: Nova Scotia Archives | Source Origin: Almon Family Fonds | Reference: MG 1 / Microfilm Reel 10,045
Recommendations for preventing the spread of infectious disease based on observations of a fever that prevailed in Boston in the summer of 1796. Newspaper clipping found on p. 260. Original source unknown.
M E D I C A L.
Boston, August 2.
The following observations are a part of a
dissertation on the fever, which prevailed
in this town in the summer of 1796. I[f]
you think proper you will give them inser-
tion. I offer them for publication with
more confidence and willingness, since
they are said to be “judicious” by the
respectable authors of the Repository,
published at New-York.
Prophylaxis, or Method of prevent-
DIET--All gross food, especially meat[s]s.
when prepared with spices and pepper. sti-
muli, which greatly inflame the blood and
fit it for disease, are to be avoided. Food
should be chiefly vegetables, cooked in a sim-
DRINKS--Should be chiefly of the su-
basive kind. Porter is good; tamarind wa-
ter, cream of tartar in water, spruce beer,
&c. But the drink which most effectually
allays the thirst, and perhaps is safe and
healthful as any, because both nutritive and
diluting, is simply milk and water, equal
parts. These drinks will serve to keep the
body regular, neither too lax nor too costive,
a point which should be closely attended to.
The exhalation of putrid and putrifying
matter, also pools and puddles of stagnant
water, must be carefully shunned.
All possible attention must be paid to clean-
liness of body, by frequent shifting the lin,
en, and washing off perspiration by frequent
bathing in water of a middle temperature,
or the temperature of the surrounding air.
The purity of the common atmosphere
should be preserved with all possible dili-
gence by emptying and cleansing the cellars,
streets, drains, ditches, vaults, &c.
The chambers of the sick must be visited
as much as humanity and the conveniency of
the sick, require, and no more. Doors and
windows should be opened for free entila-
I now add--that bread and butter should
be our principal food at this season. Sweet
butter, from this balsamic and lubricant na-
nuture, is peculiarly soothing and grateful
to that fretted and irritated state of the bow-
els which precedes the commencement of the
fever, and I believe will tend much to pre-
vent the dissolution of the blood and fluids
which takes place in all its fatal terminations.
Dwelling apartments should be scented with
balsamic or aromatic perfumes, and remem-
ber that the kind of perfume be occasionally
changed, otherwise the sensation will be lost,
and the intention frustrated.
Smoke a pipe or Segar two or three times
a day, or use snuff; and let the dress be com-