Previous Index Next
Page 315
(previous) (Page 000315) (next)
 
' DUST AND DISEASE. 315

Cotton-wool Respirator.

I now empty my lungs as perfectly as possible, and
placing a handful of cotton-wool against my mouth and
nostrils, inhale through it. .There is no difficulty in thus
filling the lungs with air. On expiring this air through a
glass tube, its freedom from floating matter is at once
manifest. From the very beginning of the act'of expira-
tion the beam is pierced by a black aperture. The first
pufl' from the lungs abolishes the illuminated dust, and puts
a patch of darkness in its place; and the darkness con-
tinues throughout the entire course of the expiration.
When the tube is placed below the beam and moved to
and fro, the'same smoke-like appearance as that obtained
with a flame is observed. In short, the cotton-wool, when
used in sufficient quantity, and with due care, completely
intercepts the floating matter on its way to the lungs.1

The application of these experiments is obvious. If a
physician wishes to hold back from the lungs of his patient,
or from his own, the germs or virus by which contagious
disease is propagated, he will employ a cotton~wool res-
pirator. If perfectly filtered, attendants may breathe the
air unharmed. In all probability the protection of the lungs
and mouth will be the protection of the entire system. For
it is exceedingly probable that the germs which lodge in
the air-passages, or find their way with the saliva into the
stomach with its absorbent system, are those which sow in

1 Since the first publication of these results, Professor Lister has
availed himself of the filtering power of cotton-wool in the treatment of
wounds. He first destroys the germs adhering to the wool, and by a
pr0per lotion kills those that may be scattered on the flesh. The cleansed
wool placed upon the wound permits of a free diffusion of the air, but
entirely intercepts the germs, and thus keeps the blood perfectly sweet,
It is here essential that no matter from the wound should reach the out-
side air, for such matter would Open. a highway to the organisms.

Previous Index Next