THE PREVENTION OF CONSUMPTION.
Incidentally all that is necessary has been said on this part of the subject. The precau tions to prevent the spread of the disease by infection from dried spit, or from meat or milk, have been referred to. The value of sunshine and fresh air as disinfectants has been men tioned. Further, the ordinary precautions adopted in every other infectious disease should be regularly in use in tubercular cases. The room used by a consumptive should be periodically disinfected, and, in the event of death occurring, specially thorough disinfection should be practised.
It should not be forgotten that for those who are delicate and suspected of a consumptive tendency much may be done to ward off the disease. It ought never to be taken for granted that a person is bound to be a victim of con sumption either because of the state of health of the individual or because of the family ten dency. On the contrary, many persons have been saved from such a fate by such attention and care as have been recommended in the early paragraphs on treatment, who otherwise would have had little chance of escape. Such measures as have been urged ought to be rigidly carried out. Ordinary colds ought never to be neglected, and if cough, &c., threaten to remain, change of air should be tried without delay. Mothers who, because of family tendencies, fear for their children are apt, in their anxiety, to do the very things that are most hurtful. They smother them up with clothes, and so hamper them in this way that all their healthy movements are restricted, those of the respira tory organs among the number. They keep them confined to hot rooms, and restrict their out-of-door exercise, and when the children are allowed out they are cumbered with so many wraps that walking is a labour ; the children become hot and covered with perspiration, and wish to sit down on every odd door-step or other equally cold resting-place. Such mea sures as these are the grossest possible mis take, for, instead of warding off the threatened danger, they directly invite it.
Abundance of fresh air is an essential in the prevention of consumption, and regular systematic exercise of the body, particularly of the chest muscles, is another.
The child who is confined to warm rooms or kitchen, and whose bodily temperature is artificially maintained instead of by its own activity, is unable to resist the influence of the slightest breeze. It is a hot-house plant that
will be speedily blighted when brought into the open air. But it was made for the open air and not for the hot-house, and it is the ignorance or stupidity (let the proper terms be applied, though they are strong) of mother, nurse, or guardian that has overturned the design of nature, and substituted sickliness and weakness for health and vigour.
There is, however, the other extreme, equally at variance with sense and fact as the former, the extreme of which parents and guardians are guilty who adopt what is called "the harden ing process." They expose their children to all sorts of weather improperly protected; they treat them to daily cold shower- baths as a matter of routine, and so on, in the expecta tion that they will become used to and un affected by exposure. The only proper course is for children to be clothed so that no healthy movement is restricted, and so that a regular and moderate degree of warmth is maintained. Plenty of exercise in the open air should be allowed ; but excessive exercise; that throws the child into perspiration and leads it to sit down to cool, is to be cautioned against. In warm weather the clothing should be lighter to counterbalance it, and in colder weather heavier, both extremes being avoided in which the child is either never warm unless romp ing or always so warm as never to be able to romp.
The preventive treatment for adults is such as has already been described under general treatment.
Young adults, in particular, who have any reason to fear the possibility of this disease, cannot give the subject too serious a place in any consideration as to the kind of life they should lead or the nature of the work they should select. Any occupation involving ir regular hours, close confinement in ill-lighted, ill-ventilated, or crowded premises, engaging in work which, from its nature, impregnates the atmosphere with dust particles, or particles of fluff, or such like, should all be avoided.
Work should be sought in the country or the small country town rather than in a large manufacturing centre, even at a sacrifice of ambition or wages, at least till a vigorous maturity is assured. Wherever possible re creation should be found in the open air and in open-air games, rather than in indoor amuse ments.