426 IDEAL HOME LIFE
smallpox, whooping cough, diphtheria—or even tuberculosis and typhoid fever, and in general any form of sore or injury which is accompanied by suppuration and blood poisoning, should wear special clothing for that purpose, which should be worn nowhere else, at least not until it has been boiled, washed, and ironed.
Books, clothing, and the various small articles in the sickroom which have been exposed to infectious disease, may be baked at a temperature equal to the boiling point of water; but as this is not always easy, and involves the risk of destroying that which is put in the oven for the purpose, the better way may be to subject the infected material to the action of chemical vapors.
All the efficient chemical disinfectants are irrespirable in the state of vapor, and hence the disinfection must be effected in a closed room which is unoccupied at that time. Chlorine is a valuable disinfectant, but it also removes the colors of substances which it attacks.
Formaline has recently been introduced, and has been found very effective as a disinfecting agent. It does not injure nor decolorize substances. There are various lamps on the market which are used for liberating this gas from wood alcohol. There are also metallic boxes, not very expensive, in which a large number of articles can be placed and then disinfected with formaline vapor.
Those who attend the sick, not less than the sick, should disinfect themselves after exposure. Alcohol is one of the best disinfectants, and the daily sponge bath for the entire body of one who has an infectious disease is both agreeable and useful. If the skin peels or scales, the sponge bath should be followed by inunction with fresh (that is not rancid, this being important) cocoanut oil, which will not only soften the skin, but prevent the loosening and flying of scales.
For those who attend the sick the daily bath should be a custom. If the disease is infectious, an antiseptic soap (formaline, mercury, or even plain castile) should be freely used, and especially upon the hair, the hands, and the nails. The latter should be kept closely pared, rigorously clean, and a stiff brush