In extreme cold, let each member of a party watch the others for the white spots that denote frostbite. These should be rubbed with a woolen mitten or glove, rather than snow. If the freezing is severe, so that the tissues are stiff, rough rubbing and twisting may break them. The return to warmth must be gradual, as a sudden reaction is dangerous to the vitality of the parts. Keep out in the cold, rub the frozen surface gently with snow, or ice-water, until the natural color of the skin is restored.
To toast frost-bitten ringers or toes before a fire would at least bring chilblains, and thawing out rapidly a badly frozen part would result in gangrene, making amputation necessary. When circulation is restored, rub with kerosene, whiskey, or alcohol and water. This will keep the skin from peeling off. In case the frostbite is old and blackened, or the skin has begun to slough off, treat it just as you would a burn.
When in danger of freezing to death, compel yourself to keep awake and moving. If there are two or more of you, beat each other unmercifully with sticks. To sleep is death. Do not drink liquor: the reaction from it is likely to be fatal.
In rescuing one who is almost insensible from cold, take him into a cold room. Rub his limbs toward the body to restore circulation, first with rough cloths wet in cold water, then in warmer and warmer water, finally with alcohol and water.
If the patient has stopped breathing, use artificial respiration (see Drowning), for several hours if necessary. While one person is doing this, another must keep up the rubbing and m "Instances are on record of recovery after several hours of suspended animation,"
If unbroken, rub lightly with diluted alcohol, whiskey, or alum water. If broken, apply boric acid or an ointment. The Red Cross treatment is: "Paint every two or three days with tincture of iodine pure or diluted with alcohol. Several coats of collodion at intervals of a few days are also good, as the collodion exerts considerable pressure on the dilated blood-vessels".
"Hard corns should never be cut, but should be rubbed down smooth with sandpaper after washing the skin. They should then be covered with a corn plaster or a piece of adhesive plaster. Cutting a corn, if you get below the hard skin, is likely to prove very dangerous, as it often results in blood-poisoning.
"Soft corns should be treated by careful washing and drying of the foot, especially between the toes, then dusting in a little talcum powder and keeping the toes separated by a small piece of gauze." (Red Cross).
Toe-nails should always be cut straight across; rounding off the corners is one great cause of the complaint. A piece of tinfoil, doubled or trebled, may be inserted between the granulations and the nail and all kept dusted with boric acid.
See Page 140.
These come from infection of the hair follicles. Hot antiseptic poultices will help draw the boil to a head. I am aware that the practice of poulticing boils and felons is discredited by many authorities; but this, I think, is chiefly due to the fact that a poultice as commonly made is an ideal breeding-ground for germs. That can be prevented by the addition of a good non-irritant antiseptic. The advantage of a poultice over a fomentation is that it holds the heat longer, and so does not require constant renewing. Its function is to bring the pus near the surface where it can readily be opened. Deep lancing entails more risk of general infection, besides being dangerous in the neighborhood of large blood-vessels.
As soon as the first evidence of pus appears, open the boil with a thin blade that has been held for a moment in a flame to sterilize it. Cleanse both the cavity and the adjacent skin with a strong antiseptic, and cover with a sterilized dressing, to be renewed frequently. Press out the core as soon as it will come.
If the least trace of pus is allowed to remain on the skin, there is danger that other hair follicles may be infected, from which a crop of boils would result.
Treatment is similar to that of a boil, but, after an abscess has been opened and cleaned, a strip of sterilized gauze should be lightly packed in the opening to afford drainage and keep the wound from closing prematurely. This drain should be renewed twice a day, with thorough antiseptic cleansing all around. The pus is deadly. Be careful that none of it gets on your skin or anything else but the fire where it belongs.