Address to the Inhabitants of the City and Liberties of Philadelphia
Beloved Fellow Citizens,
An anxious desire for your preservation, in this time of general alarm, has induced me to present you with the following advice. When you are assured that it is offered by one who has had a large share of experience in the fever of ninety-three as well as in the present calamity, you will not I hope be unwilling to listen to the truth, because the name of the author is concealed.
In the first place, I wish you to pay attention to the following rules, to avoid taking the fever, they are generally allowed to be safe and effectual.
Be very temperate in your diet; Do not over heat nor fatigue yourselves by any kind of exercise; Be not exposed to the sun nor to the night air; Be very cleanly in your houses and persons; Keep the body laxative by small doses of cream of tartar, glauber's salts, or castor oil, and by a free use of ripe fruit, with which a kind providence hath, at this time, so plentifully supplied us. But above all things endeavor to keep your spirits calm and even. A due observation of these rules will do much, with the divine blessing, in preserving you from the fever; and if you even should be taken with it, the disease will be lighter. Indeed the remedies now generally used have proved so effectual, that if the sick are placed in airy rooms, and are well nursed, and have proper medical assistance, this fever is not more dangerous than many others.
Although it is cruel to desert a sick person yet it will be well not to have any unnecessary intercourse with the sick.
Secondly - I would recomment the following rules to be observed by those who are taken ill with the fever:
If you are seized with a chilliness or shaking, followed by a fever, bad head-ach, pain in the back and loins, sick stomach or vomiting, uneasiness about the breat, soreness of the eyes or pain in them, immediately get bled; and take one of the powders of jalap and calomel, so successfully used in 1793 - They may be had at the apothecaries with proper directions for using them. - Drink very freely of molasses and water, or tamarinds and water. If this method does not carry off the disease, which it often does in a short time, send for a physician.
The chamber windows of the sick should be always kept open; the bed clothes and other linen often changed; the face, hands, and arms of the sick must be frequently washed with water or vinegar. The mixture of oil of vitriol and saltpetre, recommended by the College of Physicians, and prepared, with proper directions, by the apothecaries, should be constantly used.
If you cannot get a physician, the best general rule is:
For the first three or four days, drink molasses and water, tamarinds and water, cream of tartar and water, or toast and water. Afterwards use thin sago, tapioca or barley water and eat ripe peaches or grapes. Use no wine till the fever is gone. Then take chocolate, tea, and weak broth for nourishment, and cool chamomile tea to strengthen the stomach. The sick should keep as quiet as possible taking care to make no unnecessary exertions for these have often proved to be extremely dangerous by bringing on faintings, and convulsions - for some time after recovery, the sick must be very cautious in their diet and exercise, to prevent relapse.
When a sick person gets well, expose their bed to the rain, or let it be well washed by throwing cold water on it - this will not injure the feathers: - But do not put the bed in the sun, nor in such a situation as to injure a neighbour - wash all the cloaths, in cold water - the walls of the sick room should be immediately white washed, the floors and doors well washed - and the windows kept constantly open.
This advice is offered you from an earnest solicitude for your good - it is a plain account of the methods generally allowed, by the physicians, to be most beneficial and if you will but assist them by your endeavours to be calm and tranquil, I have no doubt but they will, with the blessing of God, be found highly salutary and effectual for the preservation of your health.
A FRIEND TO MANKIND
Philadelphia September 6th, 1797