Colds Consumption And Pneumonia

Sources: A Handbook Of Health

Disease Germs. In all foul air there are scores of different kinds of

germs--many of them comparatively harmless, like the yeasts, the moulds,

the germs that sour milk, and the bacteria that cause dead plants and

animals to decay. But among them there are a dozen or more kinds which

have gained the power of living in, and attacking, the human body. In so

doing, they usually produce disease, and hence are known as disease


These germs--most of which are known, according to their shape, as

bacilli (rod-shaped organisms), or as cocci (round, or

berry-shaped organisms)--are so tiny that a thousand of them would

have to be rolled together in a ball to make a speck visible to the

naked eye. But they have some little weight, after all, and seldom float

around in the air, so to speak, of their own accord, but only where

currents of air are kept stirred up and moving, without much opportunity

to escape, and especially where there is a good deal of dust floating,

to the tiny particles of which they seem to cling and be borne about

like thistle-down. This is one reason why dusty air has always been

regarded as so unwholesome, and why a very high death rate from

consumption, and other diseases of the lungs, is found among those who

work at trades and occupations in which a great deal of dust is

constantly driven into the air, such as knife-grinders, stone-masons,

and printers, and workers in cotton and woolen mills, shoddy mills,

carpet factories, etc.

In cleaning a room and its furniture, it is always best to use a carpet

sweeper, a vacuum cleaner, or a damp cloth, as much as possible, the

broom as little as may be, and the feather duster never. The two latter

stir up disease germs resting peacefully on the floor or furniture, and

set them floating in the air, where you can suck them into your lungs.

There are three great groups of disease germs which may be found

floating in the air wherever people are crowded together without proper

ventilation--for most of these disease germs cannot live long outside of

the body, and hence come more or less directly from somebody else's

lungs, throat, or nose. The most numerous, but fortunately the mildest

group, of these are the germs of various sorts which give rise to

colds, coughs, and sore throats. Then there are two other

exceedingly deadly germs, which kill more people than any other disease

known to humanity--the bacillus of consumption, and the coccus of


Our best protection against all these is, first, to have our rooms well

ventilated, well lighted, and well sunned; for most of these germs die

quickly when exposed to direct sunlight, and even to bright, clear

daylight. The next most important thing is to avoid, so far as we can,

coming in contact with people who have any of these diseases, whether

mild or severe; and the third is to build up our vigor and resisting

power by good food, bathing, and exercise in the open air, so that these

germs cannot get a foothold in our throats and lungs.

Colds. Two-thirds of all colds are infectious, and due, not to cold

pure air, but to foul, stuffy air, with the crop of germs that such air

is almost certain to contain. They should be called fouls, not

colds. They spread from one person to another; they run through

families, schools, and shops. They are accompanied by fever, with

headache, backache, and often chills; they run their course until the

body has manufactured enough antitoxins to stop them, and then they get

well of their own accord. This is why so many different remedies have a

great reputation for curing colds.

If you catch cold, stay in your own room or in the open air for a few

days, if possible, and keep away from everybody else. You only waste

your time trying to work in that condition, and will get better much

more quickly by keeping quiet, and will at the same time avoid infecting

anybody else. Get your doctor to tell you what mild antiseptic to use in

your nose and throat; and then keep it in stock against future attacks.

Often it is advisable to rest quietly in bed a few days, so as not to

overtax the body in its weakened condition.

Keep away from foul, stuffy air as much as possible, especially in

crowded rooms; bathe or splash in cool water every morning; sleep with

your windows open; and take plenty of exercise in the open air; and you

will catch few colds and have little difficulty in throwing off those

that you do catch. Colds are comparatively trifling things in

themselves; but, like all infections however mild, they may set up

serious inflammations in some one of the deeper organs--lungs, kidneys,

heart, or nervous system, and frequently make an opening for the

entrance of the germs of tuberculosis or pneumonia. Don't neglect them;

and if you find that you take cold easily, find out what is wrong with

yourself, and reform your unhealthful habits.