That evil spirits sought to escape from the body by the medium of skin eruptions was an ancient belief. Evidence of this attitude of mind is found in folk lore of many primitive peoples and also in inscriptions that form their written history.
Since evil spirits were seeking to escape, treatment for the skin disease was deemed unwise, for it served but to drive back these evil forces, and they wreaked their vengeance on the inner and vital organs. Even among some mothers today the same belief persists. Treatment for a skin disease may "drive it in," they claim.
Physicians have described apparent constitutional improvement coincident with the appearance of the eruption during the course of exanthems. The case histories given by physicians point to these facts: 1. In exanthems, an intense eruption is often followed by a mild course and infrequent sequelae. 2. A mild, cutaneous reaction is apt
LEVIN OL, SILVERS SH. ESOPHYLAXIS. Arch Derm Syphilol. 1931;23(4):614–623. doi:10.1001/archderm.1931.03880220016002
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