All of our dwelling places should take great care to provide good ventilation and plenty of sunlight. Neglect of proper ventilation is responsible for much of the drowsiness and dullness that makes people’s work and study ineffective.
So far as possible, all buildings intended for human habitation should be placed on high, well-drained ground. This will ensure a dry site and prevent the danger of disease from dampness and miasma. This matter is often too lightly regarded. Continuous ill-health, serious diseases, and many deaths result from the dampness and malaria of low-lying, ill-drained situations.
In our homes it is especially important to secure thorough ventilation and plenty of sunlight. Let there be a current of air and an abundance of light in every room in the house. Sleeping rooms should be arranged so as to have a free circulation of air day and night. No room is fit to be occupied as a sleeping room unless it can be thrown open daily to the air and sunshine. Bedrooms need to be supplied with adequate heating, that they may be thoroughly warmed and dried in cold or wet weather.
Even a rarely used guest room should have equal care with the rooms that receive constant use. Like the other bedrooms, it should have air and sunshine, and should be provided with some means of heating, to dry out the dampness that always accumulates in a room not in constant use. Whoever sleeps in a sunless room, or occupies a bed that has not been thoroughly dried and aired, does so at the risk of health, and often of life.
Many of us grow houseplants and make sure they receive plenty of warmth and sun, for without warmth, air, and sunshine, plants would not live and flourish. If these conditions are necessary to the life of plants, how much more necessary are they for our own health and that of our families and guests!
Remove heavy curtains, open the windows and the blinds, allow no vines, however beautiful, to shade the windows, and permit no trees to stand so near the house as to shut out the sunshine. The sunlight may fade the drapery and the carpets, but it will bring a healthy glow to the cheeks of the children.
Those who take care of the elderly should remember that these frail older persons especially need warm, comfortable rooms. Vigor declines as years advance, leaving less vitality with which to resist unhealthful influences, hence the greater necessity for the aged to have plenty of sunlight, and fresh, pure air.
Scrupulous cleanliness is essential to both physical and mental health. Impurities are constantly thrown off from the body through the skin. Its millions of pores are quickly clogged unless kept clean by frequent bathing, and the impurities which should pass off through the skin become an additional burden to the other eliminating organs.
Most persons would receive benefit from a cool bath every day. Instead of increasing the liability to catch a cold, a bath, properly taken, fortifies against illness, because it improves the circulation; the blood is brought to the surface of the skin, and a more easy and regular blood flow is obtained. The mind and the body are alike invigorated. The muscles become more flexible, the intellect is made brighter. The bath is a soother of the nerves. Bathing helps the bowels, the stomach, and the liver, giving health and energy to each, and it promotes digestion.
It is important also that our clothing be kept clean. Our garments absorb the waste matter that passes off through our pores; if they are not frequently changed and washed, the impurities will be reabsorbed.
Every form of uncleanliness tends to disease. Death-producing germs abound in dark, neglected corners, in decaying refuse, in dampness and mold and must. No waste vegetables or heaps of fallen leaves should be allowed to remain near the house to decay and poison the air. Nothing unclean or decaying should be tolerated within the home. In towns or cities regarded perfectly healthful, many epidemics have been traced to decaying matter around the dwelling of some careless householder.
Perfect cleanliness, plenty of sunlight, careful attention to sanitation in every detail of the home life, are essential to freedom from disease and to the cheerfulness and vigor of the family.