Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/235

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OPEN AIR AND HEALTH.

air is fresh air without daylight; he who fears night-air is like a child who dreads darkness; the light in the room after the lamp is extinguished is also night-air. In close, crowded, heated rooms, the patient suffering from lung-complaint respires consumptively. In winter artificial heat may be employed, but the window must be opened above, and thus we have at once both warmth and ventilation. In the city night-air is always wholesomer than day-air, being both purer and stiller.

If it be objected that "what suits the blacksmith does not suit the tailor," I reply that may be true of a plate of sauerkraut. But here the case is just the reverse. The blacksmith who has no trouble with his lungs can stand vapor-dust, heat, fatigue; but the one who has pulmonary disease risks his life if he has not always abundance of fresh, pure air.

So far of the What?—lung ventilation. Next, of the Why?

On rising, let the patient drink fresh milk (not coffee), which will be relished all the more if one wakes with an inclination to cough. Then let him approach the open window, brandish the arms over the head—which enables the lung apices to inhale air more easily—and for a few minutes fetch as deep inspirations of air as possible. He must frequently take such deep inspirations in the open air.

If the lungs do not become free, let him introduce into them—not into the stomach—something to act on the dry mucous membrane—as the vapor of water or of camomile-tea.

If the cough is caused rather by a "scratchy" feeling in the throat, if it is spasmodic, let him swallow or gargle some substance that will quiet the nerves. Cold water is best—in summer ice-water; in some cases cooled fennel-tea is of service, but not sirup or any hot drink.

2. Skin-Ventilation.—This is of no less importance for warding off simple coughs, as well as for preventing the transition to consumption. With its millions of pores, the skin is on the one side the main sewer for carrying away superfluous fluids, and on the other it is the principal factor in cooling the body, in colds, in overheating, and in fevers. We will now consider skin-ventilation from this point of view under the two heads of—a. Elimination of fluids; b. Reduction of temperature:

a. Elimination of Fluids.—Like the external skin, the inner skin, the mucous membrane, exudes moisture, sweats. The mucous membranes, having no covering, are always moist. The mucous membrane of the lungs exhales watery vapor. This vapor comes from the serum of the blood, i. e., from that portion of the blood in which the corpuscles are suspended, and which, after the corpuscles have been filtered out, resembles water. The external skin under ordinary circumstances gives off about twice as much watery vapor. But, in proportion as this elimination is checked by defective skin-ventilation, the water