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Camp diseases.

While the subject of hospital regulations, and proper nursing is before the public, it would be as well to recount a few facts gathered from some of the Army Surgeons. In endeavoring to account for prevailing diseases, we find that what is termed ‘"Camp Fever"’ is most general. It is caused by a cold and chill upon an exhausted or wearied body, and leaves the system so enfeebled as to require weeks, sometimes months, to recover. Another kind of fever is produced by over-crowded and unhealthy tents. If a company have a scarcity of tents there is the greater reason for airing those they have. Persons are seldom injured by too much pure air. If a number of men are compelled to sleep in one tent, it should not be closed. It is when the lungs are weakened, and the blood impoverished by breathing impure air, that the body is most liable to disease. It may be observed, at our more stationary encampments, that those companies who are most careful to keep their tents clean, and the neighborhood free from impurities, have been the least subject to disease. Those who are compelled to roll up their tents at sunrise and leave the interior exposed to the sun's rays and the purifying breeze till sunset, and who once in every week take them down, and subject every article to a regular Saturday's cleaning, while no refuse or impurity is allowed to be thrown within a certain distance of the camp, are seen to be the most robust and healthy. The tents should not be left standing many days in the same spot. Their whole width moved forward or backward every week could not interfere seriously with the arrangement of the regiment, and would materially preserve the health of the army. Another danger is in neglecting the first symptoms of camp fever; because ‘"it is only a cold"’ in its on set, the patient is allowed to remain in his tent, infecting the air his comrades breathe, while the disease is taking root, perhaps past remedy. The doctors assure us that it is highly important that this kind should be treated immediately, when it could be more easily checked.

An immense responsibility rests with our officers in regard to these things. They are able to keep off a vast amount of sickness by enforcing camp regulations, and not permitting their men to wait till too late before they are taken to the hospitals; also by exercising a watchfulness and kindly influence over them to induce prudence on their own part. Each season will bring its maladies. It is not because the hot season is over that we can expect to be free from fevers. If such a scourge as small-pox were to creep into our army, and from thence into all the towns and villages where our soldiers are now being nursed, what greater calamity could happen to our country under present circumstances?

Every soldier who has not been vaccinated within five or seven years should use the prevention of having it done immediately. Some cases of small-pox were reported to have existed in the Federal army that was in Western Virginia. We have no right to feel ourselves secure, though vaccination, added to temperance and cleanliness, are pretty sure safeguards.

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West Virginia (West Virginia, United States) (1)
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