Air and Ventilation.
Pressure of the Atmosphere.The atmosphere presses upon man and upon every object on the surface of the earth, with a force equal to fifteen pounds to every square inch; and as a man of average size has a surface of about 2500 square inches, the air in which he lives presses upon him with a weight of eighteen tons. This would of course crush every bone in his body, but for the fluids within him which establish an equilibrium, and leave him unoppressed.
Deep Breathing.The right lung is divided into three lobes, the left lung into two lobes (see page 40, also Manikin opposite page 60). These lobes are divided into millions of very fine air cells all of which should be filled with pure fresh air, many times a day, by deep breathing.
The best way to practice deep breathing is to stand by an open window, or better still, out of doors. Place the feet together, body erect, head thrown back. Place the hands upon the back of the hips, the thumbs about three inches apart. Then with the mouth closed inhale the air into the lungs to their fullest capacity. Then raise the arms stretching them forward slowly in front of you as in the act of swimming, at the same time allowing the air to pass slowly through the mouth until the lungs are absolutely free from air. Repeat this ten times in succession. Do it at least twice a day, morning and night.
The following chapter will explain the tremendous advantage to health derived from deep breathing.
Objects of Breathing. There are at least three objects to be accomplished by breathing; the renewal of the blood and the taking of impurities out of it; the warming of the body; and the finishing up of the process of digestion, and the change of chyle into nutritive blood
There is no good reason for attempting here to explain the last of these objects. To give any idea of the first two, it is necessary to furnish a very brief explanation of the circulation of the blood.
The heart is double. There are in fact two hearts, a right and a left, joined together. The right heart receives the blood from the veins, and forces it up into the lungs, whence it is brought back to the left heart, and by this is driven through the arteries into every part of the body. When received into the lungs, the blood is of a dark purple color, and is loaded with carbonic acid and some other ~impurities. It has also been deprived, daring its circulation through the body, of most of its oxygen. The small, delicate vessels which convey this dark and impure blood through the lungs, pass directly over the aircells; and at this moment the carbonic acid and water ?us through the bloodvessels and aircells, and are borne from the body on the outgoing breath while the oxygen enters the blood through the walls of the same vessels; and this exchang4, which takes place with every breath, alters the blood from a dark purple to a scarlet red. Fig. 71 shows at 1, a bronchial tube divided into three branches; 2, 2, 2, are aircells; 3, branches of the pulmonary artery winding around the air cells with the dark blood to be reddened.
That carbonic acid and water are borne out of the lungs with every
breath, may be easily proved. If we breathe into limewater, it will become white. This is owing to the carbonic acid in the breath uniting with the lime, and producing carbonate of lime. Then, if we breathe upon a piece of glass, it becomes wet, showing that there is watery vapor in the breath. That the blood receives oxygen from the air we breathe is proved by the fact that the ingoing breath has onefourth more oxygen in it than the outgoing.
The lungs, then, take out of all the air we breathe, onefourth of its oxygen. If we breathe it over a second, a third, and a fourth time, it not only has less oxygen each time, and is less useful for the purposes of respiration, but it becomes positively hurtful by reason of the poisonous carbonic acid which, at every outgoing breath, it carries with it from the lungs.
Effect of Sleeping in a Small Room, Now, consider the effect of sleeping in a small room, seven feet by nine, not furnished with the means of ventilation. A pair of lungs, of ordinary size, take in, at each breath, about a pint of air. Out of this air onefourth of its oxygen is extracted; and when it is returned from the lungs, there comes along with it about eight or nine per cent of carbonic acid. As it is not safe to breathe air containing more than three or four per cent of this gas, the pint which the lungs take in and throw out at each breath is not only spoiled, but it spoils something more than another pint with which it mingles; and as the breath is drawn in and thrown out about eighteen times per minute, not less than four cubic feet of air is spoiled in that time by one pair of lungs. This is two hundred and forty feet an hour; and in eight hours, the usual time spent in the sleeping room, it amounts to one thousand nine hundred and twenty cubic feet. During the hours of sleep, therefore, one pair of lungs so spoil one thousand nine hundred and twenty cubic feet of air that it is positively dangerous to breathe it.
In a room seven feet by ten, and eight feet high, there are five hundred and sixty cubic feet of air, a little more than onequarter the amount spoiled by one pair of lungs during sleeping hours. In a room of this size, there is not air enough to last one person three hours ; and yet two persons often remain in such rooms eight or nine hours.
Why then do they not perish? Simply because no room is entirely airtight. Fortunately, all our rooms are so made that some foul air will get out, and a little that is pure will find its way in. Were it not so, no man who closed the door behind him, for the night, in a Small bedroom, would ever see a return of day.
Suppose fifty children are confined in an unventilated schoolroom, twenty feet by thirty, and ten feet high. These children will spoil about one hundred and fifty feet of air in one minute, or nine thousand feet per hour, or twentyseven thousand feet in three hours, a usual halfday's session. But the room holds only six thousand cubic feet of air, the whole of which these children would spoil in forty minutes.
These simple facts show the absolute necessity of ventilation. Yet how poorly it is provided for in our sleeping rooms, our sitting rooms, our school houses, our churches, our court houses, our halls of legislation, and even in our anatomical and medical lecturerooms!
In sickrooms, ventilation should receive special attention. Every disease is aggravated by the breathing of bad air. Yet it is common to close all the doors and windows of rooms where sick persons are confined, lest the patients should take cold. This is a bad practice. The sick should have plenty of fresh air. Their comfort is promoted by it, and their recovery hastened.
It is strange that human beings should be afraid of pure air. It is their friend and not their enemy. Impure air only should be shunned.
The supply of good air ample.There is no necessity for breathing air which has lost a part of its oxygen, and acquired a portion of carbonic acid. The supply of good air is ample. An ocean of it fortyfive miles deep, covering the whole globe, seems a pretty plain intimation that it is not to be sparingly used. When men retire within their dwellings, and attempt to shut out this great sea of air, they show about as much wisdom as would be exhibited by fishes which should build watertight huts around themselves at the bottom of the ocean, and swim about continually in the unchanged water within. Fishes can live in glass globes only when the water is changed every day; and if the water be changed half a dozen times a day , they cannot be as healthy as when swimming in the great ocean.
Cultivating Trees. In most of our cities there is almost a criminal neglect of the cultivation of trees; yet they add greatly to the health, and prolong the lives of the citizens.
The leaves of a tree are the lungs with which it breathes; but instead of extracting oxygen from the air, and giving back carbonic acid, like man, it takes only the poisonous carbonic acid, and gives back oxygen.
Were there no animals on the globe, the vegetables would consume 0 the carbonic acid, and die for want of breathing material; on the other hand, were there no trees or other vegetables, the animals would in time so far exhaust the oxygen as to perish for lack of it. The two together keep the air healthy for each.
The relation of plants and animals, in all that relates to their peculiar actions and effects, is a complete antagonism. Their movements are in contrary directions, and by hostile forces. Their opposing actions may be illustrated thus
These simple facts should teach man the sanitary importance of trees and bushes; and wherever he has a rod, I had almost said a foot of ground to spare, a tree should be planted and carefully nursed. This is particularly necessary in large cities. Every narrow street in a city should be lined with trees. For their absence, thousands of men, women, and children have died sooner than they otherwise would. We want them stretching up their arms to all our windows to give us oxygen, and to take to themselves the carbonic acid we exhale.
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