THERE has long been a need for intense moisture in certain respiratory infections of infants. Among these are laryngotracheobronchitis, bronchiolitis, and laryngeal diphtheria. This necessary degree of moisture is often difficult to obtain by using the average croup tent. Steam has the disadvantage of producing hyperpyrexia in the already feverish infant. The use of wetting agents was first attempted at the University of Virginia Hospital in late 1949, and we have continued this work during the last two years.
There are several agents available at the present time. They are not, however, manufactured for clinical use and can be obtained only for experimental investigation. The table enumerates four of the commoner ones.
Morris1 gave an excellent chemical review of these agents from the medical standpoint. Briefly, they contain two radicals: (1) a long hydrocarbon chain, which is the hydrophobic group, and (2) a short -SO4Na group, which