Posted by P. Bingham on September 02, 1998 at 03:46:06:
In response to Fevers and shaved heads, written by Captain Everett on September 01, 1998 at 23:05:28
] Like several other respondants to this thread, I too have a vague recollection about shaving the head of a person smitten by fevers. Like the other, I am unable to recall where I read it, or what the exact context was.]
Have you been hit by deja voux too?
First course of treatment was "depletion", i.e. bleeding. When there was great "determination" (whatever that meant) to the head, "much benefit was obtained by opening of the temporal artery." Might the headshaving preceed this operation? Purgatives, when the stomach was not too irritable, were also prescribed. "When delirium or comma supervened, blisters were applied to the head, and calomel, combined with Jame's powder, was given in such quantities as might affect the mouth." John Douglas, Medical Topography of Upper Canada (1819)
So do you think this kind of treatment was for the common fever? I mean, a fever that is not caused by some serious disease such as typhoid. I would think such a treatment would be thought useful for the improvement over all, rather than to reduce a fever. Did they, at that time, feel that a "fever" was dangerous, do you know? Would they do something specifically to reduce a fever as opposed to the rest of the body?
] On a side issue, trepanning seems to have been a relatively common operation.}
Ah! Maturin's specialty!
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