« PreviousContinue »
with the advice of the committee, many mistakes are avoided.
Different parts of India require different styles of buildings. Sanitary Commissioners have been appointed by Government in each great division. The Missions should obtain suitable plans from them.
The direction in which a house should run, must be determined by the sun and the prevailing winds.
While all display should be most carefully avoided, it is the wisest economy to provide good Mission houses. Where the ground is damp, as in many parts of Bengal, upper-roomed houses should be erected. Small low houses become insufferably hot during summer. The fact that it cost $100 to land a European soldier in India, had some weight in promoting hygienic improvements. Before a married European Missionary will have thoroughly mastered the language, the Society which sent him out will have incurred an outlay of about £1,000. He is therefore a valuable article, worthy of some care.
Dress. This should be loose and light. Linen does not answer in the tropics. It is too easily affected by change of temperature, and after perspiration becomes like so much lead. Cotton from its slowness in conducting heat, does admirably. In the hot season the temperature in the open air often exceeds that of the body's surface. Cotton, then, is cooler than linen, as a slower conductor of the excess of external heat to our bodies. On the other hand, when the atmospheric temperature suddenly falls below that of the body, cotton causes the heat to be abstracted more slowly. Further, cotton absorbs perspiration with greater facility than linen, and will maintain an equable warmth under a breeze when a dangerous shiver would be induced by wearing linen.
Woollen and cotton dresses are actually cooler in high temperatures than linen, as may be readily proved by placing two beds in the same room when the thermoa safer a wide range places where
meter stands at 90° and covering one with a pair of blankets, the other with a pair of linen sheets. On removing both coverings in the evening, the bed on which the blankets were placed will be found cool; the other warm. This arises from the woollen covering being a non-conductor, while the linen transmits the heat.
At certain seasons, or in particular places where the thermometer often takes a wide range in a very short time, flannel is a safer covering than cotton; and is adopted by many experienced Europeans. Sir George Balingall mentions that, when in India, he had a striking proof of the utility of flannel in checking the progress of an aggravated form of dysentery. When contact with the skin causes irritation, a thin cotton shirt may be worn below the flannel.
Dr. McCosh says that he has found a couple of silk handkerchiefs, sewed together, leaving space for the head and arms to go through, a most comfortable under-dress.*
The natives of India, in general, guard cautiously two vital parts of the body,—the ample turban protecting the head from the direct rays of a powerful sun, and numerous folds of cloth round the waist preserving the viscera of the abdomen from the deleterious impressions of cold. The European should copy this attention. The temples and nape of the neck are the most delicate parts of the head. An English black hat is about the worst that can be worn. A ventilating pith hat, with a neck cape, is the best for the hot part of the day. Felt helmet hats, with chambers, are good, but heavy. A flannel band, about a span wide, worn · round the abdomen, is useful in the cold season, and when epidemics prevail.
Food.—There are no points of hygiene to which the attention of a new comer, should be more particularly
* Medical Advice to the Indian Stranger, p. 79.
directed than to moderation and simplicity in his diet. A tendency to general or local plethora characterises the European and his diseases for some years at least after his arrival between the tropics ; and hence nature endeavours to guard against the evil by diminishing the relish for food. The new-comer, therefore, should avoid the dangerous stimulants of winė and beer. : One object of food is to keep the body warm. It must be evident that the consumption of carbon is much less in a tropical than in a temperate climate. This is especially the case during the hot season. If oily or fatty substances are then used largely, it is no wonder that disease should be the result.
Europeans in general eat too much and drink too much; they get sick, and the climate is blamed. It is better to increase the number of meals and make each light; but many Europeans eat often and each meal is heavy. An excess of animal food is especially injurious. Pork is to be entirely avoided. The very sight will be an abomination to any one who knows how pigs feed in India Prawns are indigestible. Tank fish are often bad. Some experienced medical men recommend that only one kind of animal food should be used at a meal. Rice and curry, an excellent article of diet, should not be taken after a large quantity of animal food.
A vegetable diet is, generally speaking, better adapted to a tropical climate than animal food, especially in the case of the unseasoned European; not that it is quicker or easier of digestion, for it is slower, but it excites less commotion in the system during the digestive process and is not apt to induce plethora afterwards. The chapatis, or thin unleavened cakes of Northern India, are nutritious and digestible when eaten fresh and hot. When cold and tough, they are unwholesome.
A good cook should be engaged Badly prepared food injures the system, inducing weakness and disease.
The meals should be taken regularly and deliberately. Take tea or coffee and toast in the early morning before going abroad. The European who consults his health in the east will beware of late and heavy dinners. The principal meal should be taken about two or three in the afternoon Tea at seven o'clock will then be found a grateful refreshment, and a good night's rest may be anticipated.
Attention to the state of the bowels is of very great importance, both to preserve good health and to recover it when impaired. Be regular in relieving the bowels. Constipation may often be counteracted by coarse brown bread or by fruits. Drinking a pint of cold water the first thing in the morning, is in some cases an excellent remedy. Active exercise in the open air and daily friction over the region of the stomach and bowels, are very serviceable. Beware of the frequent use of aperient medicine.
FRUITS.— The new-comer should be sparing in the use of fruit and discriminating in his choice. Whatever is used should be well-ripened, but not over ripe. The plantain, orange, and shaddock, are generally grateful and wholesome. Pine apples and especially green cucumbers, are not safe. Particular kinds of fruit have peculiar effects on certain constitutions. Each person should ascertain cautiously which agree with him. The forenoon is the best time for eating fruit. What may then be taken with impunity, may bring on an attack of cholera after a late dinner. .
Drink.—The great physiological rule for preserving health in hot climates is to keep the body cool. Common sense points out the propriety of avoiding heating drinks, for the same reason that leads us instinctively to guard against a high external temperature. During the first two years of residence at least, the nearer we approach to a perfectly aqueous regimen in drink, so much the better chance have we of avoiding sickness ; and the more slowly and gradually we deviate from this afterwards, so much the more retentive will we be of that invaluable blessing, health. Such
is the opinion of Dr. James Johnson, confirmed by Sir Ranald Martin, the most eminent authorities on the subject. The evidence before the late Indian Sanitary Commission also proved that the freshly-arrived European does best to confine himself to pure cold water. Malt liquor was advocated only as much less injurious than spirits. It is true that the popular idea is different. In cold countries it is maintained that stimulants are necessary to keep one warm, while they are injurious in a hot climate. Here, on the other hand, it is asserted that they may be dispensed with in the temperate zone, but are indispensable within the tropics to keep up the system. This is a comforting doctrine to the man accustomed to his beer. The Missionaries of the American Board are the warmest advocates of total abstinence in India. What is their experience ?
The Report of the Mahratta Mission, noticing the death of Miss Farrar in her 67th year adds, “It may be matter of interest to some to know, that for 20 years before Miss Farrar's death no Missionary or Assistant Missionary connected with the Ahmednugger Mission had been removed by death while labouring in the field.” ... With the exception of one Missionary who was drowned, during the last 16 years there has been no death among the adult members of the American Madura Mission, about 30 in number.
Without denying that there is the highest sanction for the moderate use of fermented liquors, it seems expedient that Missionaries in India should refrain from them as far as possible. The people are prone to run from one extreme to another. Spirits threaten to be as destructive among the Hindus, as “fire-water” among the American Indians. The Friend of India shows that during the last fifteen years the excise revenue has increased a hundred per cent. “All over India during the most enlightened period of our rule, the number of drunkards and drug consumers has in