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25 The disease which the Greeks call elephantiasis, whilst almost unknown in Italy, is of very frequent occurrence in certain regions; it is counted among chronic affections; in this the whole body becomes so affected that even the bones are said to become diseased. The surface of the body presents a multiplicity of spots and of swellings, which, at first red, are gradually changed to be black in colour. The skin is thickened and thinned in an irregular way, hardened and softened, roughened in some places with a kind of scales; the trunk wastes, the face, calves and feet swell. When the disease is of long standing, the fingers and toes are sunk under the swelling: feverishness supervenes, which may easily destroy a patient overwhelmed by such troubles. At once, therefore, at the commencement, he should be bled for two days, or the bowels loosened by black hellebore, then a scanty diet is to be adopted as far as can be borne; after that the strength should be a little reinforced and the bowels clystered; subsequently, when the system has been relieved, exercise and especially running is to be used. Sweating should be induced primarily by the patient's own exertion, afterwards also by dry sweatings, rubbing is to be employed with moderation so that strength is preserved. The bath should be seldom used; neither fatty nor glutinous nor flatulent food; wine[p. 345] is properly given except on the first days. Plantain crushed and smeared on seems to protect the body best.
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