Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/16

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An old campaigner would laugh at the idea of "colds" being taken in the open air. He knows that they germinate in close bedrooms and flourish in musty beer-shops, but vanish in the prairie-wind. If he is a government teamster and sells his meat-rations for brandy, he may know that sun-heat and fire-water are burning his candle at both ends; he may see trouble ahead, but he is sure that it will not come in the form of lung-trouble. Koch's lung-parasites do not thrive upon a fresh-air diet.

After the tuberculous cachexy has once been subdued, a moderate daily dose of Nature's specific will suffice to maintain, or even to fortify, the recovered vantage-ground. A foot-trip across the continent would regenerate the respiratory organs, but even a stroll across the next meadow will be booked to the credit of our health account. The human organism is a savings-bank for the elements of vital strength, and in the form of fresh air it accepts the smallest deposits. In stress of circumstances, an hour per day of active exercise will help to keep the lungs catarrh-proof, and that hour may even be subdivided. Buy a large umbrella, and make it a rule to walk on your way to market, to your place of business, or to church; or at least part of the way, if the distance is great and your time limited. In the evening take a large satchel and go a mile out of your way to patronize a good fruit dealer or a vender of old books—or fill the satchel at home, and earn the blessings of a poor family in the factory-suburb. Street-rambles should have a proximate object; the regulation-walk on general principles is too apt to be shirked on very slight pretexts. If you have a garden of your own, fence off a digging corner and prospect for geological specimens. If you have a wood-shed, import an old stump-log (hickory preferred), and do not be too particular about keeping your axe sharp. Ventilate your office; keep a stove and an overcoat in your workshop, and open the windows every now and then. Open the dining-room windows in the forenoon and the kitchen-windows in the afternoon; no force-ventilator can compete with the effect of a direct influx of atmospheric air. If you teach a class or work in a warehouse or counting-house, prevail upon the managers to ventilate the place during the dinner-recess, or else try to do your work in the airiest corner, near a window or near the door of a vacant side-room or hall. In ill-ventilated rooms the azote miasma has its centers of density that can be avoided with a little management.

But at all events get rid of the night-air superstition, and enjoy the blessing of an airy bedroom—the luxury, I might add. A natural instinct may be suppressed, but needs but little encouragement to resume its normal functions, like a river returning to its ancient channel. Thus the fresh-air instinct. In families cursed with the night-air superstition, children are ofter fuddled with miasma till they prefer it to fresh air, and dislike to sleep near an open window. But, in a single month, that aversion can be changed into a decided predilection, till