Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/113

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103
BAD AIR AND BAD HEALTH.

fatal to 4·2, and in the same way that, with proper ventilation (and other improvements) of the stables of the horses, coughs and catarrhs disappeared. He also quotes Dr. Leeds, of New York, to show that the supposed cure of sending a consumptive patient to a cow-stable was in reality the cure of sending him into somewhat purer air than that of his own room (page 502). Dr. Richardson quotes a case where no less than nine members of a family following the occupation of Cheap Jack were in succession the victims of consumption from sleeping in a traveling van, their life in the open air during the day being insufficient to counteract the poison breathed in the night (Our Homes, page 11). Parkes also tells us (page 152) that in the royal navy and in the mercantile navy bad ventilation and phthisis, occasionally amounting to a veritable epidemic, have accompanied each other; and he quotes many authorities insisting upon the close relation between foul air and pulmonary consumption. On the same point—the slaughter produced by unventilated barracks—Dr. Richardson tells us the mortality in the army before Sebastopol was during twenty-two weeks ending May 31, 1856, at the rate of 12·5 per 1,000 as against 20·4 of the Guards quartered in England (Our Homes, page 13). Dr. A. Ransome reports (Health Lectures, 1875-76, page 149) a case as late as 1861, where fearful lung disease broke out in some of the ships of the royal navy. The arrangements were actually such that only fourteen inches space was allowed to each hammock, and the air above the hammock was 8 to 10 hotter than below.[1]

The same evidence comes from the sedentary trades, some of which "afford experimental conditions for the development of disease"; from the cases of phthisis, or destructive lung disease, among cows in unventilated sheds (Parkes, page 162); from the higher rate of consumption in town as against village, and city as against town (Hirsch, page 213)—in each case the dearer lodging implying more overcrowding; from the outdoor treatments now recommended for consumptive patients; and from other sources.[2]

When we come to pneumonia, it is still the same poisons, we believe, which indirectly are at work. As in pulmonary con-


  1. The violence of so-called Russian influenza in America is probably to some extent the result of the breathing of highly impure air, which is so common in that country. We suspect that this disease is just one of the many forms of trouble which appear where people live in constant disregard of the purity of the air of their living-rooms. The subject demands attention from this point of view.
  2. There are many interesting points—such as the discussion as regards the effect of dampness of soil, and Hirsch's theory as regards the high Mexican plateaus—which have to be considered, but they do not seem to shake the main fact that impure air is the great ally of pulmonary consumption.