By Jonathan Reinarz and Kevin Siena (eds)
Illnesses affecting the outside have tended to impress a reaction of specific horror in society. With seen and infrequently repellant outward symptoms of illness, they have been usually gave the impression to be hugely contagious, in addition to synonymous with immorality. Such connotations can have stemmed from the tell-tale buboes of syphilis, however the social stigma of disfigurement is anything that also exists this present day. This choice of essays makes use of case reviews to chart the clinical heritage of pores and skin from the eighteenth to the 20 th century.
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Additional resources for A Medical History of Skin: Scratching the Surface
This healing excretion was crucial to medical practice, as Payne’s chapter explores in detail. Exclusively concentrating the healing processes on the manifestations on the skin – for example, only treating the ulcers themselves – could result in an accumulation of peccant matter in the body. Therapeutic intervention thus consisted primarily in clearing a path to the surface for internal impurities in order to achieve purification. If the body did not open on its own, an exit was created through bleeding or a blistering dressing.
First, lymph stagnates about the wound and immediately inflames. This corrodes the vessels, which contain the lymph, and air ‘bubbles’ into the membrane adipose and other membranes. They instantly form more bubbles, which increases the inflammation. These then spread and extend over the injured limb. Fever is often precipitated with the onset of delirium, and patients experience a great dejection of spirits, often accompanied by a wild demeanour. 68 How did surgeons acquire this detailed knowledge of the stages of skin breakdown and responses to injury?
This chapter will focus on the changing perceptions of radesyge. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, these surface manifestations were perceived as the result of the body’s efforts to rid itself of peccant matter, whereas by the middle of the nineteenth century, these cutaneous lesions constituted the defining features of the disease. Initially radesyge was understood as a disease located within the body, a body open to its environments, and the surface symptoms were indicative of the skin’s porous opening that enabled poisonous matter to exit.
A Medical History of Skin: Scratching the Surface by Jonathan Reinarz and Kevin Siena (eds)