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    298. Where is the sense of touch in the human body?HBH 134.1

    The nerves of feeling are the posterior roots of the spinal nerves, and some fibers of the fifth and eighth pairs of cerebral nerves. These nerves are distributed to the papillae of the skin. These papillae are small elevations on the surface of the body enclosing loops of blood-vessels and branches of sensatory nerves. It is not possible to puncture the body in any place with the finest needle without wounding both a blood-vessel and a nerve.HBH 134.2

    299. What is the structure of the skin?HBH 134.3

    The skin is composed of two layers, called the derma and epiderma. The derma, or true skin, is composed of elastic cellulo-fibrous tissue, abundantly supplied with blood-vessels, lymphatics and nerves. It is the color of this skin that gives the color of different races of men. The superficial strata of the derma is the papillae spoken of above.HBH 134.4

    The epiderma, or cuticle, is the sear skin which envelopes and protects the derma. Its internal surface is soft, its external surface is hard and horny. The pores of the epiderma are the openings of the perspiratory ducts, hair follicles, and glands. Of these there are supposed to be about seven millions on the surface of the body. The cuticle becomes very thick and hard on parts of the skin subject to much friction, as the bottoms of the feet, and insides of the hands.HBH 135.1

    300. Is the derma confined to the external surface of the body?HBH 135.2

    It is not. The same membrane lines the cavities of the mouth, nostrils, windpipe, air-passages, the cells of the lungs, the meat-pipe, stomach, intestinal tube, etc. The internal lining of the body is called the mucous membrane. The skin of the surface of the body, and that of the lungs and alimentary canal, in many respects resemble each other, especially in regard to the substances which they throw off from the system; and they are to a considerable extent reciprocal in their offices, the excess of one corresponding with the suppression of the other. Thus if the insensible perspiration of the external surface becomes checked by sudden exposure-by taking cold-the internal skin collects and disposes of this matter that would have passed from the surface of the body. The nerves of the internal skin connect with the nervous center of organic life, while the nerves of the external skin connect with the center of the nerves of animal life, the top of the medulla oblongata. Thus the external skin and internal mucous membrane sympathize in a powerful manner with each other. Irritations of the mucous membrane affect the external skin, and irritations and affections of the external skin also affect the mucous membrane.HBH 135.3

    301. In what parts of the body is the sense of touch the most acute?HBH 136.1

    The lips, tip of the tongue, and the inside of the last joints of the fingers. At these points the nerves are more numerous, and nearer the surface, and the outer skin is thinner, than at other points. The sense of touch may be educated and increased to a surprising degree. The blind are taught to read, and even to distinguish colors, by this touch. As to how the nerves take cognizance of hardness or softness of bodies, whether they are rough or smooth, hot or cold, is another wonder in the structure of the nervous system. It is by the degree of resistance required in the papillae of the body when brought in contact with any substance, that it is supposed the mind forms its correct idea of their quality in these respects.HBH 136.2

    302. What are called the appendages of the skin?HBH 136.3

    The hair and nails. It is a fact, however, that each of these is dependent on an organism of nerves, vessels, etc., for its sustenance and production. The root of the hair, which is situated just beneath the skin, consists of a small oval pulp, invested by a sheath or capsule. That part of the hair in a state of growth is hollow, and filled with this pulp. The vigor of the hair depends on the vigor of its roots. The vigor and integrity of these roots depends on the general welfare of the body. Injury to the digestive organs, gluttony, intemperance, sensual excess of any kind, anger, grief, fear, etc., powerfully affect the roots of the hair, and thus the hair itself. Violent grief, or excessive fear, have whitened the hair, sometimes in a very few hours. The coloring matter is furnished by the bulb at the root of the hair, and the color of the hair is according to the color of the bulb. It is the unhealthy action of the root of the hair that causes its dry appearance, or its turning gray. All applications to the head, except those which give vigor to the roots of the hair, and healthiness to the skin of the head, are decidedly injurious. Dietetic errors, or abuse of the stomach, are of the greatest injury to the hair; so a proper regard to all the laws of our being is the only reasonable ground on which we can expect a healthy head of hair.HBH 136.4

    303. What can you say of the nails?HBH 137.1

    The nails have their roots and organs by which they are produced, yet they are themselves destitute of nerves and vessels. They do not sympathize so powerfully with the affections of the body and mind as the hair, but they are more or less moist and pliable, or dry and brittle, according to the general health of the body.HBH 137.2

    304. What offices are performed by the skin, aside from its sense of touch?HBH 137.3

    The skin, through its sweat ducts, acts as an eliminating organ, removing from the blood a large amount of impure matter. Copious sweating, as a general law, is debilitating to the body, as it exhausts the serum from the blood; this creates a thirst for water. This water is taken up by the absorbents, only to be immediately expelled again from the blood. So excessive drinking of even pure water, and sweating, causes both the absorbing and eliminating organs to do a great amount of unnecessary duty. The skin is also a breathing organ. In a vigorous state of the body, not too much confined by clothing, the action of the skin on the atmosphere is very much like that of the lungs. It absorbs oxygen, and throws off carbonic-acid gas. The amount of solid matter eliminated from the body through the skin daily is about 100 grains. Frequently exposing the entire surface of the naked body to the air of a well-lighted room, at the same time applying a slight friction to its surface by rubbing, is highly beneficial. The skin is also a universal regulator of the heat of the body. When the skin is in a vigorous and healthy condition it throws off the surplus heat, or retains the deficiency, according to the necessities of the body.HBH 137.4

    305. What is necessary to properly care for the skin and assist it in its functions?HBH 138.1

    Bathing is a great assistant to nature, in that it removes from the surface of the body effete matters that have been conveyed there through the pores of the skin. If these pores become closed, and the skin fails to throw off the matters of insensible perspiration, the lungs are oppressed, the head is giddy and painful, the mouth becomes parched and feverish, the heart troubled with palpitations, the kidneys irritated by excess of duty, the bowels become liable to gripings, spasms, exhausting diarrheas, or inflammatory attacks. It is then of the highest importance to keep the skin in a healthy condition.HBH 138.2

    306. What general rules should be followed in bathing?HBH 138.3

    With healthy persons a bath every other day, at a temperature congenial to their feelings, may be good. Soft water should invariably be used in bathing. A good tub to stand in and a good sponge are the only essential articles necessary to give a common bath. A soft towel or a cotton sheet should be used to wipe the body thoroughly dry on leaving the bath, after which the whole surface of the body should be rubbed with the bare hand till the skin feels soft and velvety, and a healthful glow is upon the surface of the body. In case of feeble persons, the labor of the bath should be performed by an attendant, they themselves remaining passive to prevent exhaustion of the body. Feeble persons should take a rest, or a nap, after a bath, before they exercise. After there is a thorough reaction from the bath, light gymnastics, walking, riding, or light labor in the open air, according to the strength of the individual, are beneficial. Persons in good health will not experience any difficulty in taking a general bath on first rising in the morning. For all, and especially the feeble, eleven o’clock in the forenoon is the best time for taking a bath. Never take a bath until at least two hours after a meal. Never take a bath when the body is in an exhausted condition. Swimming or bathing after performing a hard day’s labor, is a very pernicious practice. Those who practice swimming are very liable to remain in the water too long.HBH 138.4

    As a general rule, water cool, but not cold enough to produce a chill, is best for persons in comparative health. Persons of low vitality should use tepid water, extremely feeble individuals should use warm water, cooling the bath before leaving it as their judgment shall dictate. Cold water we call 60 degrees; cool, 60 degrees to 72 degrees; tepid, 72 degrees to 85 degrees; warm, 85 degrees to 100 degrees. Always, before taking a bath of any kind, the head should be wet in cool water, or a linen head-cap, of two thicknesses, wet in cool water, should be placed upon the head.HBH 139.1

    307. What is the cause of colds?HBH 140.1

    A large portion of the blood naturally flows through the superficial veins supplying the capillaries of the skin, which pour their exhalations of effete matter through the pores of the skin. When these pores become closed by exposure to sudden changes of temperature, the blood is thrown from the surface to the deep veins. In this case this effete matter accumulates on the mucous membrane of the internal organs, and causes a cold, irritation, inflammation, etc., varying in intensity according to the violence of the check in the circulation. People usually suppose a cold is always taken by passing from a warm to a colder atmosphere, but frequently passing from cold out-door air into a highly-heated room, will occasion a suppression of the external circulation, and produce a cold. The body when excessively cold should be warmed gradually. Colds are more frequently taken by unevenness of temperature, as for instance, having the room very warm, then letting the fire go down, then raising the temperature again, etc. Eating a full meal at night, after fasting all day, or eating to fullness or oppression, when the body is in a relaxed condition, produces the same change in the circulation.HBH 140.2

    308. What is the most effective way of curing a cold, fever, or any irritation caused by suppression of the external circulation?HBH 140.3

    The old plan would be to take a potion of physic. This is about on the plan of cutting off your finger to cure the head-ache. It may relieve it, but it does it by increasing, for a time, the inward irritation, and of course decreasing still more the strength of the system. In case the bowels need relief from mucous already collected, a tepid water injection is one of the mildest remedies. But, the real end to be gained, aside from this, is to open the pores and establish the natural circulation of the blood. A warm-water sweat, wet-sheet pack, a dripping sheet, etc., act directly on these pores. But avoid all harsh treatment to open the pores, such as the flesh brush, and crash-towel rubbing. These open the pores, it is true, but they leave them gaping wounds. They are thus not only in a condition to dispose of effete matter, but they permit the nutritive particles to pass off from the body through the capillaries, which have been exposed by this harsh treatment. Another, by no means slight, evil inflicted on the surface of the body, is in shaving the beard. Nature requires its growth. If you think you must shave, do it in cold soft water. Better still to keep the razor off your face.HBH 140.4

    309. What further care of the surface of the body is necessary?HBH 141.1

    It is highly important to give special attention to the clothing. It should always be warm in all seasons, as light and loose as possible without bodily discomfort. Cotton and linen are the best clothing for summer. Linen for under-clothes is best in hot weather. Flannel, next to the skin, is hurtful in all seasons. In wearing flannel, as a general rule, cotton or linen should be worn next to the skin. Fur neck-clothing and caps are bad; heating too much those parts of the body. Light-colored clothing is best for summer, because it repels heat. Females are apt to wear too great an amount of clothing about the back and hips. Garters, and tight waist-bands, are both injurious, hindering the circulation of the blood, and producing varicose veins and many other diseases. Every article worn during the day should be taken off the body and permitted to air during the night; and the night-clothes, and bed-clothing, should be well aired during the day. These should all be kept clean by frequent washing. The clothing should be so adjusted as in the greatest possible measure consistent with the proper temperature of the body, to admit of a free access of air to the whole surface, and of the most perfect freedom of circulation, respiration, and voluntary action. Regularity should always be observed also in clothing the body. Boots, shoes, hats, caps, thin and thick stockings, gloves, etc., when worn, should always be worn under similar circumstances, not indiscriminately changed or altered. If a part of the body usually protected by clothing be exposed to a current of cold air, the person will take cold sooner than to expose the whole body. Great care should be taken in clothing the limbs and arms, hands and feet properly. The clothing of females should be of such a length as to escape being wet and brought in contact with the tender ankles, and the feet and ankles should be protected from cold and wet. Rubbers are injurious, and should only be worn to protect the feet from wet.HBH 141.2


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