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Pure air soothes the nerves, circulates the blood healthily through the system, refreshes the body and mind, excites the appetite, renders better digestion and induces sound sleep.
However, ill-ventilated rooms weaken the system, depresses circulation and the mind, and may produce colds. It is close confinement indoors that makes many feeble and pale. They breathe the same air over and over, until it becomes laden with poisonous matter thrown off through the lungs and pores; and impurities are thus conveyed back to the blood.
The lungs should be allowed the greatest freedom possible. Their capacity is developed by free action; it diminishes if they are cramped and compressed. Hence the ill effects of the practice so common, especially in sedentary pursuits, of stooping at one's work. In this position it is impossible to breathe deeply. Superficial breathing soon becomes a habit, and the lungs lose their power to expand. A similar effect is produced by tight clothing. Sufficient room is not given to the lower part of the chest; the abdominal muscles, which were designed to aid in breathing, do not have full play, and the lungs are restricted in their action. Hence, the whole system becomes susceptible to disease.
Every form of uncleanness tends to disease. Death-producing germs abound in dark, neglected corners, in decaying refuse, in dampness and mould 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 an epidemic of fever has been traced to decaying matter about the dwelling of some careless householder.