Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/234

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As a general rule, where a cough is habitual, whatever the age of the patient, recourse should at once be had to those means of cure which usually are resorted to only at the last moment, and then without any hope of good results. But, unfortunately, most people think only of the present moment. They want a son to complete his schooling as early as possible, and to go to earning money. But what is the gain if the young life, after a few years, ends its earthly career? Better, therefore, that a year or two should pass without remunerative employment, while in the mean time care is taken of the bodily health and strength, the affected lungs are invigorated, and the spirits are renewed. In the first case we have dead capital, in the second capital which bears interest.

The person whose lungs are affected must once for all give up dancing, for dancing as now practised is not "motion," but only destruction of the pulmonary apices by dust and vapor, fatigue of the body through want of sleep and privation of fresh air.

With this one exception, "caution" as usually understood is bad. Let the one who is threatened with consumption look on himself not as one doomed to die, but only as a pulmonary invalid. He should consider that, while it is a misfortune that the pulmonary apices are from their position exposed to disease, we nevertheless have plenty of lung-cells which can be made to do duty in place of them. Still, if these are not daily strengthened by careful treatment, they are in danger of being infected by the others, and of becoming diseased like them. By timely and continuous exercise, it is possible to restore even the diseased cells, and to cure the consumption, or at least to stay its further progress. If one can find the means of visiting Florida, Colorado, or Southern Europe, it is well to do so. But if this is not possible, one must find the means of an air and movement cure at home. That this is possible, the reader will see from the following analysis of the means of cure:

1. Lung-Ventilation.—The patient must with scrupulous conscientiousness insist on breathing fresh, pure air, and must remember that the air of closed rooms is always more or less bad, impure. No man, however uncleanly, would drink muddy, dirty water. Unfortunately, for detecting impurities of air, the only organ we have is the nose, and in most persons the nose is of so obtuse a sensibility that it is of no service. Besides dust, injury to the lungs is caused principally by the products of respiration (carbonic acid and watery vapor), which act as poison on the lungs and the blood. A party which occupies a room for hours, breathing the same air, might be compared to a party of bathers drinking the water in which they bathe. The man who on the street cuts off from his lungs the "cold" air, is like a ruminant. If this literally true comparison were universally accepted and acted on, the number of cough-complaints would be reduced one-half.

The patient must keep the window of his bedroom open. Night-