JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer
Reiling, Assistant Editor.
If the present popular crusade against tuberculosis should fail in its
purpose and "the great white plague" still continue to be more or less an
important factor in the mortality, which we can not reduce beyond a certain
definite point, it will have nevertheless worked out an immense amount of
good in the mere fact that it has educated people to the value of fresh air.
In our northern climate, the changeable seasons and the necessity of
guarding against extremes of temperature make us too apt to neglect ventilation
both in public and private buildings. In the colder season Nature helps us
to some extent against our will, as natural ventilation is then more active
through entrances that can not be altogether obliterated by artificial means.
Our buildings that are heated by grates, furnaces or stoves, when properly
constructed and with air inlets suitably arranged, partly meet the conditions
in supplying fresh oxygen to the inmates, though they are far short of sanatorium
ideals. In our crowded city flats and tenements, however, the evil of vitiated
atmosphere with its germs and other impurities forms one of the most serious
of the disease-breeding factors in our midst. The tuberculosis crusade shows
us that open windows even in our northern climate are not unendurable by invalids,
to say nothing of healthy people, and that by coming back to more natural
conditions we can escape many of the evils that have grown up about us.
THE VALUE OF FRESH AIR.. JAMA. 2004;291(5):640. doi:10.1001/jama.291.5.640-a