This can be done partially and gradually by seeing that every consumptive holds a handkerchief, or cloth, before his mouth whenever he coughs; that he uses a paper napkin, pasteboard box, flask, or other receptacle whenever he spits; and that these things in which the sputum is caught are promptly burned, boiled, or otherwise sterilized by heat.
Jones?" he asked. "What have you observed coming from these lungs?" "There is not much quantity, sir. It is greenish in colour." "But what about the microscope, Mr. Jones? What does that show?" "No examination has been made, sir." "Gentlemen," he said, "I will now go to the other ward, and you shall choose a specimen of the sputum of some of these cases.
It is probable that none remain submerged over two minutes, but, what is more remarkable, they are supposed to dive to extraordinary depths, some as much as 150 to 200 feet. Ordinarily they remain under water from a minute to one and a half minutes. Remaining longer, the face becomes congested, the eyes injected; the sputum bloody, due to rupture of some of the minute vessels in the lung.
If, however, quicker results are desired, boil a little water in a test tube and put in about double the above indicated amount of the glycerine mixture, letting it run down the side of the tube, gently shake until absorbed, and pour out the hot liquid into a convenient dish, and at once put in the cover with sputum.
It is a solemn fact that what would appear in England as "No spitting allowed in this car" is translated in the electric cars of Boston into: "The Board of Health hereby adjudges that the deposit of sputum in street-cars is a public nuisance." The framer of this announcement would undoubtedly speak of the limbs of a piano and allude to a spade as an agricultural implement.
F remarque, 'On ne dit point si le malade a appetit ou non, s'il tousse ou non, s'il crache ou non, en un mot on n'entre dans aucun detail sur ces objets. Mais on voit toutes ces circonstances detaillees dans la memoire a lettre A, 'Irritatio membranae trachaealis tussim, initio aridam, siliquosam, deinde vero excreationem copiosam excitat. Sputum albumini ovi simillimum. Appetitus raro deest.
In exceptional instances, however, this does occur, and in illustration of the fact may be cited the case of a servant who cut her finger with a broken spittoon containing the sputum of her consumptive master; the wound subsequently showed evidence of tuberculous infection, which ultimately spread up along the lymph vessels of the arm.
She should be able to show what the early symptoms are, what is then necessary to do, what care should be taken of the sputum, of the patient's food, of his eating and drinking vessels, his bed and bedding.
Another exquisite and illuminating passage occurs in Catullus, 51, given in Marchena's fourth note. "Then she kneaded dust and spittle and, dipping her middle finger into the mixture, she crossed my forehead with it." Since the Fairy Tale Era of the human race, sputum has been employed to give potency to charms and to curses.
The tubercle bacillus is not really destroyed by external influences, and it may retain its virulence for several months in dried sputum if protected from the light. Its vitality enables it to resist high temperatures, changes in temperature, drying and putrefaction to a, greater degree than most non-spore-producing germs.