Hot Packs and Fomentations
Hot packs are another very useful means of treating local pains in the arms, legs, or back. It is also of value in treating chest colds and inflammation in any part of the body. Select a piece of blanket or flannel large enough to fit over the chest or back. Fold it into a pack and wiring it out in very hot water, as dry as possible. Wrap this in a thick enough to protect the skin, and apply the whole pack to the area to be treated. This is known as fermentation.
Leave the hot pack in the place for ten or fifteen minutes, or until it is cool, then rub the chest with a small piece of ice, and dry the skin with a rough towel. The pack or fomentation may be re-applied several times, as desired. Follow this with some massage or heavy rubbing, as suggested below.
If you are treating a patient with a chest cold, first apply the pack to the back, and then later treat the chest. Or preferably, use two packs at the same time. At the conclusion of the treatment, wipe the skin dry and apply rubbing alcohol. This is an excellent way to treat such conditions as colds, influenza, croup, bronchitis, laryngitis, and pleurisy. It is also valuable in treating muscle injuries involving the back and the extremities. Fomentations are great value in treating polio and other serious conditions. Patients suffering from arthritis may also benefit from this treatment.