Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/515

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SCIENCE IN THE SICK-ROOM.

tention or a sense of expectation. If you have anything to say which you do not wish your patient to hear, say it somewhere else than in his presence.

The first and greatest requisite in a sick-room is purity of air. This is only to be attained by constant and thorough ventilation. Ventilation is the displacement of impure by pure air. To secure this, there should be two apertures to the room, one for the egress of the foul air, and one for the admission of fresh air. The best possible arrangement is that of an open window and an open fire-place. If you do not wish a constant fire, keep a lamp burning at the mouth of the chimney to create a draught. Arrange a blind or screen so that the air will not blow directly upon your patient, and you may keep the window open day and night without danger of chilling him. Do not make the common mistake of confounding cold air with pure air. You may keep the room at any desired temperature, and still have the atmosphere perfectly fresh; or you may lower the temperature to any extent without removing a particle of the poisonous impurities with which the air is laden. Keep your patient as warn by means of external appliances as his comfort demands, but never shut out the fresh air. Fresh air can only come from outside the house. Opening a door into a passage or an adjoining room, itself imperfectly aired, is not ventilation. Fresh air, may, however, be admitted to the sick-room through an adjoining apartment, first thoroughly ventilated. This is sometimes the best method of procedure. It requires, of course, more care to keep a small room well aired without objectionable draughts than a large one.

Stationary basins should never be used in the sick-room. The perfect system of house-drainage has yet to be invented, and the danger from leaky and defective traps is so great that the only safe way is to avoid them altogether. If you have such arrangements in the room which you propose to devote to your invalid, cork up the overflow holes—or, better, stop them with plaster-of-Paris—and fill the basin with water, which must be changed from time to time, or cover it entirely with a board. The increased healthfulness of the atmosphere will more than compensate for the extra trouble which will be occasioned by adherence to this precautionary measure.

No cooking should ever be done in the sick-room. Neither should damp towels or articles of clothing be aired and dried there. All excreta should be promptly removed. Upon attention to these details depends that which should be the first care of every person in charge of the sick—that the air they breathe should be as pure as that outside.

The room, then, which we select for our invalid should be sunny, quiet, the one which affords the best facilities for ventilation and warmth, and without sewerage.

In the arrangement of the room, the same regard for the comfort and welfare of its occupant should be maintained.