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The subject of climate in its relations to diathesis and to disease has never received the philosophical considerations which its importance demands, It is well known to every attentive observer, that in some climates certain diseases are very active in their development and rapid in their course, and but slightly amenable to treatment, while in other climates the same affections are mild in form and easily controlled by remedies. Moreover, an individual case which has resisted treatment in one climate, may yield satisfactorily to the same treatment, when removed to a more congenial climate. Well as this fact is known, we are still almost absolutely ignorant of the conditions which govern the suitableness of different climates to different diseases. Our knowledge on the subject is fragmentary and experimental, and we have no law by the aid of which we can form an a priori judgment respecting the probable effect of any given climate upon any given case of disease.

It is not my purpose to attempt the formal proposition of any such law. I desire rather to call the attention of our school to the subject in the hops that, by simultaneous observation in different localities upon the prevalent diatheses and upon the comparative average amenability to treatment of various chronic diseases which depend on dyscrasias, we may gather materials from which such a law may be deduced.

These investigations are peculiarly important and appropriate to Homoeopathists, because in questions of treatment of disease in various climates, as in questions of prognosis, the statistics of the old school afford us no aid.

The diseases with reference to which I would invite observation are especially-

1. Diseases of the Respiratory organs, acute and chronic.

2. Rheumatism and cognate diseases.

3. Fevers.

4. The Exanthemata.

In making observations the epidemic tendencies of the year and place in which the observations are made should always be noted.

By observing the severity of a given disease in a given climate and observing at the same time the peculiarities of that climate as to the temperature and alternations of temperature, as to the weight and humidity of the atmosphere, and as to the direction and violence of the winds, we may arrive at some constant relation between climate and this disease, which may serve as one element at least in the construction of the desired law. To give an instance; Phthisis pulmonalis, the treatment of which, in Brooklyn, was in my hands most unsatisfactory, is here, in Newburgh, very amenable to treatment, and although in cases in which the disease is far advanced and can boast of no cures, yet the relief afforded even to such cases is very remarkable, constant, and enduring for a period to which my previous observation of the disease offers no parallel. Since my treatment of the disease is the same as that to which I had recourse in Brooklyn, the difference in result must be attributable to differences in the climate of the places, and it becomes a matter of great importance to note these differences. What they are, I hope to be able to show in a subsequent paper.

Appended are some observations on the climate of the Bahama Island, which I had an opportunity of making at Nassau, their capital, during the months of Feb. & Mar. 1859.

Situated on the E. edge of the Gulf Stream in about the latitude of the Southern extremity of Florida, Nassau enjoys a climate totally different, from that of any portion of our own country, and quite different also from that of the West Indies proper. The sudden alternations of temperature, the searching damp chilliness suddenly succeeding a scorching heat, the humid penetrating N.E- winds sweeping down our Atlantic coast on the W. edge of the Gulf Stream-which make the climates of Charleston, Savannah and St. Augustine so trying to invalids with pulmonary or rheumatic diseases having the same effects as the alternations of Sirocco and Tramontane winds at Rome and Naples) are utterly unknown at Nassau.

The temperature is remarkably uniform, a circumstance which appears to be of very great importance in pulmonary and rheumatic affections.

While the climate of Nassau is free from the occasional cold of even our Florida coast it is, at the same time free from the extreme heat of Cuba and Santa Cruz.

The sanitary condition of the island speaks remarkably well for its climate. Yellow fever which has of late been so prevalent in the West Indies and in our Southern States has long been unknown at Nassau. Intermittent Fever is never seen and Bilious Fevers are rare, occurring only during the months of August and September and are mild in character. Cases of Phthisis, though not infrequent among the blacks, as might be expected from the peculiar condition of that race, are rare among the whites.

The experience of invalids resorting to Nassau corroborates the favorable impression which the above facts create. For incipient Phthisis a climate like this, which, by its mildness allows the patient to spend his whole time in the open air, while at the same time the bracing trade wind prevents him from falling into the lassitude so common in tropical regions, cannot but present conditions most favorable to recovery of vigor; and I know of no place more favorable for such cases during our winter and spring months. Cases of Phthisis fully developed and far advanced, I should not incline to send to a warm climate. In my opinion the progress of the malady is thereby accelerated.

The island is so small (9 miles by 17) and so far removed from the continent as not to be liable to the objection which obtains against the “mixed air” of the sea coast in its action upon Phthisis. The same considerations apply to Rheumatism, and abundant experience has shown the favorable action of the climate on both these diseases.

As a place of resort for invalids, this island presents peculiar advantages:-1. In the fact of its proximity to the U. S., being within 4 or 5 days steaming of New York. 2. In the fact that, as it is an English colony, the comforts of life as we understand the terra, can be there obtained, and the society of a most kind and hospitable people enjoyed. 3. In the security one may feel against attacks of epidemic and contagious diseases such as one is exposed to in the Southern United States and in the West Indies.

Table of Meteorological changes in Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas, Feb. 13 to April 1, 1859.

Feb. 14-28 8 AM. 2 P. M. 8 P. M
Average Temperature, 75° 79 1-2° 76°
Dew-point, 70 1-2° 72 1-8° 72 1-2°
Extremes of Temperature, 71° and 78° 74° and 85° 72° and 80°

Wind constant N. E. No rain.

March 1-31 8 A. M. 2 P. M. 8 P. M.
Average Temperature, 76 1-2° 82° 76 2-3°
Dew-point, 71 1-2° 76° 72 1-2°
Extremes of Temperature, 73° and 80° 75° and 90° 70° and 83°

WIND-2 days calm; 12 days N. or N. E.; 6 days W. or N. W.; 11 days S. or S. W.; 4 days showery.

During S. wind the dew-point is higher and the air more-oppressive.

The changes in temperature from day to day were singularly constant. Thus in February the lowest temperature 71°, was noted on the 15th inst.: the highest 85° on the 28th and the ascent from one to the other was uniform. So in March, 73° was noted on the 3rd, and the highest 90° on the 31st inst. These tables for Feb. and March are of value since these are the months in which one would expect, and in which in fact one finds the greatest variations from uniformity in temperature and humidity of climate.

It will be seen that the average daily range even in March is 5?°. At Pau in the South of France it is 7?°; at Nice 8?°; at Rome 11°.


Source: The AMERICAN HOMOEOPATHIC REVIEW Vol. 01 No. 12, 1859, pages 549-552
Description: Climate.
Author: Dunham, C.
Year: 1859
Editing: errors only; interlinks; formatting
Attribution: Legatum Homeopathicum
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