Wednesday, July 12, 2017

1901: Treatment for Asthma

Marcous Proust was a writer and a lifetime asthmatic.  The year 1901 was the dawn of modern asthma treatment and wisdom.  That was the year adrenaline and cortisone were just being discovered.

According to Mark Jackson the following are the medicines Proust used during his lifetime:
  1. Strammonium cigarettes (same type of medicine as atrovent and spiriva)
  2. Legras powders
  3. Espic powders
  4. Epinepherine (adrenaline)
  5. Caffeine (same family of medicine as bronchodilator theophylline, not as strong
  6. Carbolic acid fumigations
  7. Escouflaire powder fumigations
  8. Isolation -- cork lined bedroom (staying away from allergens)
  9. Opium (relaxes breathing, mild bronchodilator)
  10. Morphine (relaxes, mild bronchidilator)
  11. Sea, lakeside and mountain resorts  (getting away from allergens, relax)
Jackson quotes Proust's journal entry to his mother:
"Yesterday after I wrote to you I had an asthma attack and incessent running of the nose, which obliged me to walk all doubled up and light asthma cigarettes at every tobacconist's as I passed, etc.  And what's worse, I haven't been able to go to bed until midnight, after endless fumigations..."  (August 31, 1901)
If the Internet were available to Mr. Proust I bet he'd be involved in an online asthma community as this blog is a part of.  While he didn't have the ability to blog, at least he wrote of his asthma experience in letters. 

Mr. Jackson is a professor at the Center for Medical History at the University of Exeter in England.  He's written books on asthma and articles on asthma and allergies and COPD.  I will link to some below so you can check them out at your liking.

Click here for more asthma history.
  1. Divine Strammonium:  The rise and fall of smoking for asthma
  2. Marcus Proust and the global history of asthma (slide show)
  3. On Asthma:  A Biography
  4. Allergies:  A history of the malady
  5. The Oxford handbook of the history of medicine
  6. Asthma timeline


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