Fresh Air Treatment – February 1925

The latest treatment for pneumonia is almost completely opposed to the old. During the war years it was found that pneumonia patients who, owing to exigencies of space, had their beds placed in open sheds (covered overhead from the rain, no doubt) recovered more generally and always more quickly than those housed in a closed room.

Fresh air was therefore concluded to be an important factor in aiding the lungs to resume their normal functions, and it is used as much as possible in the closed wards of a hospital. The bed is place under an open window, and the draught (as it was named to me) allowed to blow upon the patient’s head.

The temperature of the room is not allowed to rise above 58 deg. Fahr. which is two degrees lower than usual for perfect comfort in a sitting room. Though, here, it may be incidentally remarked that if one is warmly covered in bed, the breathing of a cold atmosphere is agreeable in health, and likely to be more so when there is a difficulty with breathing….

A friend of mine, newly-married, was showing me over her house, and I ventured to express some surprise at her choice of a half-tester (half canopied) bed with pretty side curtains gracing the pillow end.

“Isn’t that rather an old fashioned style?” I asked. “They are always in fashion,” was her reply, “if you want them. Not only do they look well and stately, but I have had so much to do with sickness (she had nursed her mother and father) that I like these curtains to protect the head from draughts.”

Astonishing! I thought to myself. That was in the days of my youth, but the gospel of fresh air, open windows, and untrammelled beds was much preached by the new school of doctors, and I was very keen on it.

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