A review of general suggestion given by Hahnemann for the prevention of epidemics in towns

Dr Eyingthung Odyuo 

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Dr. Hahnemann in his Lesser Writings ‘The Friend of Health-part II’ published at Leipzig in the year 1795. He advocated an active role for each individual, communities, adminstrators, etc., in the management of health. The preparedness measures to be taken during epidemics in various aspect such as in prisons, military hospitals, famines & floods (inundations), hygiene on ships, sanitation in societies, institutions, churches and industrial measures.


  • A well ordered police should take care that rag-gatherers are not allowed to live anywhere but in isolated houses near the paper mills (which should never be built close to towns and villages) nor they be permitted to have in any house in town a place where they may deposit the rags by little and little.
  • Under penalty of imprisonment, he should be forbidden to pick out from his heap of rags and sell to others for their use any articles of clothing that may be still fit for wear.
  • They should also be forbidden to wear such articles themselves or put them on their children.
  • The crude rags should be kept in well ventilated buildings far away from the dwelling houses and the dealers in old clothes should only be allowed to carry on their trade in open shops and should not be permitted to sell them in their houses.
  • All the linen and articles of clothing they have for sale in their shops should be previously washed even the coloured and woollen articles and the police officer should be charged to examine if they be washed.
  • Such an article of clothing, probably worn by a sick person, might prove dangerous to the policemen, in order to avoid such a loss, it should be considered that the poor broker should most certainly take care to have none but clean washed things in his shop and thus the police agent will have little or nothing to confiscate.
  • There are several kinds of prisons, where prisoners are kept imprisonment for life or until the termination of their trial, or for several years. The visitation and inspection of which is often the cause of infectious diseases. Even if the prisoners themselves have not been ill of such fevers, their exhalations, their breath and the miasm lurking about their dirty clothes have often occasioned malignant fatal fevers ( Heysham, Pringle, Zimmermann, Sarcone & Lettsom adduce a number of cases of this kind).
  • Every torture that is unnecessarily inflicted when in custody is a crime on the part of the police ( Dr.Hahnemann only allude here to the pain inflicted on them by unhealthy diseases producing prisons). In order to avoid this, prisons should never be raised less than four feet above the ground & the openings of windows should allow the free access of fresh air.
  • The floor should either be paved with slabs of stone or better with rounded stones, so that it may be deluged and scrubbed once a week with boiling water, also the walls and roofs be washed with hot water.
  • If it were possible to construct an air-hole for the purpose of carrying off the deteriorated vapours into the open air.
  • His bed-cover, together with his clothes & linen should be washed at least once a week in hot water. His chamber utensil should be emptied daily and rinsed out with boiling water.
  • He should be allowed to walk about in the open air at least an hour at a time and when he is removed from prison, his cell must be prepared for the reception of future prisoners by washing a new the floor, walls and the roof with hot water.
  • A person who is exposed to the danger of infection, should not allow his courage to sink, should not leave off any of his accustomed comforts, rest, exercise, food or drink; but he should also carefully avoid all excess in any of these things. Should it be articles of food let him not partake before preparing them on fire or heating them.
  • Infectious diseases have even been communicated by money coins and letters, therefore, the former may be washed in boiling water and the later to be fumigated with sulphur.
  • A draught of air can carry the miasm arising from a sick person to a distance of many paces and then occasioned infection. Thus, should avoid travel across narrow lanes where we should have to pass close by a sick person and for similar reason should shun narrow passages through houses.
  • Above all we should refrain from looking into an open window and conversing with people in whose house or room cases of infectious diseases may exist
  • Acquaintances kissing each other or shake hands and drinking out of another’s glass should be omitted when the danger is so imminent.
  • Avoid particularly making use of a stranger’s water-closet or allowing a stranger to use ours and at such time should never bring second hand furniture into our premises (often seen putrid fevers that occur periodically for many years merely by old furniture which had belonged to person who had died of such affections, coming into other families by purchase).
  • Domestic animals that are given to rove (dogs and cats) often carry about with them in their hair the virus of infectious diseases, for security’s sake it is advisable to get rid of them at such times, and not to allow strange dogs or cats to approach us.
  • The low-lying houses that have been inundated by the water are a fertile source of epidemic diseases. The police authorities must see that every householder digs a deep ditch round his premises and especially round his dwelling-house and that all his windows and doors be open for fresh air, that he occasionally lights fire even in summer and in winter.
  • The deteriorated air in closely built towns with high houses is especially injurious to children which gives rise to deformities such as rachitis. Most of the towns are not adapted and not calculated to promote health. High town walls and ramparts are now generally acknowledged to be useless for towns that are not fortified. That they are injurious by preventing the access of fresh air.
  • The handsome roomy, high and airy butchers shop we meet with in some towns are not so good as the open butchers stalls standing in market places. A putrid stench is always concentrated in the shops built for the sale of meat.
  • The shops for the sale of stock-fish and herrings should be situated in the open air, at the outside of the city-gates, the disgusting stench that proceeds from them is sufficient evidence of heir unwholesomeness.
  • In large manufactories & workhouses, where the workpeople live in the house and those who fall ill should be immediately separated from the healthy workmen and kept apart until they have completely recovered their health.
  • Public schools are generally places for the diffusion of contagious diseases such as small-pox, measles, scarlet fever, malignant sore throat, military fever, etc and many skin diseases. The schoolmaster be given to attend more to the physical & moral training to the pupils than to cramming their memories.
  • A sick child can learn nothing and therefore should be impressed upon them not to admit any sick child to the classes, whose altered appearance betrays the commencement of a diseases.
  • In times of prevailing sickness the clergymen should publicly warn the members of their congregations, not to attend church when they are feeling indisposed and thereby expose their neighbours to dangers.

CONCLUSION: The aforesaid points are the important general instructions given by Dr. Hahnemann way back in the year 1795. On paying attention to safety and being an active role in our health maximize our chances of living a long healthy and quality life because several diseases and injuries are preventable and can be managed especially when there is no specific treatment. Infact, It is always better to cease something bad from happening than it is to deal with it after it has happened.

1) Dudgeon R.E. The Lesser Writtings of Samuel Hahnemann. 14thImpression. Noida-201307: B. Jain publishers (P) ltd; 2019. P. 212-227.

Dr. Eyingthung Odyuo
P.G Scholar
Organon of Medicine and homoeopathic philosophy
GHMC&H, Bengaluru

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