612. Dwellings, if possible, should be built upon high and dry ground. If a house be built where water settles around it, remaining for a time and then drying away, a poisonous miasma arises, and fever and ague, sore throat, lung diseases, and fevers will be the result.
613. If every family realized the beneficial results of thorough cleanliness, they would make special efforts to remove every impurity from their persons and from their houses, and would extend their efforts to their premises. Many suffer decayed vegetable matter to remain about their premises. They are not awake to the influence of these things. There is constantly arising from the decayed substances an effluvium that is poisoning the air. By inhaling the impure air, the blood is poisoned, the lungs become affected, and the whole system is diseased.
614. Stubborn fevers and violent diseases have prevailed in neighborhoods and towns that had formerly been considered healthy, and some have died, while others have been left with broken constitutions to be crippled with disease for life. In many instances their own yards contained the agent of destruction, which sent forth deadly poison into the atmosphere to be inhaled by the family and the neighborhood. The slackness and recklessness sometimes witnessed is beastly, and the ignorance of the results of such things upon health is astonishing. Such places should be purified, especially in summer, by lime or ashes, or by a daily burial with earth.
615. Shade-trees and shrubbery too close and dense around a house are unhealthful; for they prevent a free circulation of air, and prevent the rays of the sun from shining through sufficiently. In consequence of this a dampness gathers in the house. Especially in wet seasons the sleeping-rooms become damp, and those who sleep in the beds are troubled with rheumatism, neuralgia, and lung complaints, which generally end in consumption. Numerous shade-trees cast off many leaves, which, if not immediately removed, decay, and poison the atmosphere. A yard, beautiful with scattering trees, and some shrubbery at a proper distance from the house, has a happy, cheerful influence upon the family and if well taken care of, will prove no injury to health.
616. Rooms that are not exposed to light and air become damp. Beds and bedding gather dampness, and the atmosphere in these rooms is poisonous, because it has not been purified by light and air. Various diseases have been brought on by sleeping in these fashionable, health-destroying apartments.... Sleeping-rooms especially should be well ventilated, and the atmosphere made healthful by light and air. Blinds should be left open several hours each day, the curtains put aside and the room thoroughly aired; nothing should remain, even for a short time, which would destroy the purity of the atmosphere.
617. Sleeping apartments should be large and so arranged as to have a circulation of air through them day and night.
618. Rooms that are not freely ventilated daily, and bedding that has not been thoroughly dried and aired, are not fit for use. We feel confident that disease and great suffering are brought on by sleeping in rooms with closed and curtained windows, not admitting pure air and the rays of the sun. . . . The room may not have had an airing for months, nor the advantages of a fire for weeks, if at all. It is dangerous to health and life to sleep in these rooms until the outside air shall have circulated through them for several hours and the bedding shall have been dried by the fire. Unless this precaution is taken, the rooms and bedding will be damp. Every room in the house should be thoroughly ventilated every day, and in damp weather should be warmed by fires. . . . Every room in your dwelling should be daily thrown open to the healthful rays of the sun, and the purifying air should be invited in. This will be a preventive of disease. . . . If all would appreciate the sunshine, and expose every article of clothing to its drying, purifying rays, mildew and mold would be prevented. The confined air of unventilated rooms meets us with sickening odors of mildew and mold, and the impurities exhaled by its inmates. . . . The emanations from damp, moldy rooms and clothing are poisonous to the system.
619. Strict habits of cleanliness should be observed. Many, while well, will not take the trouble to keep in a healthy condition. They neglect personal cleanliness and are not careful to keep their clothing pure. Impurities are constantly and imperceptibly passing from the body, through the pores, and if the surface of the skin is not kept in a healthy condition, the system is burdened with impure matter. If the clothing worn is not often washed, and frequently aired, it becomes filthy with impurities which are thrown off from the body by sensible and insensible perspiration. And if the garments worn are not frequently cleansed from these impurities, the pores of the skin absorb again the waste matter thrown off. The impurities of the body, if not allowed to escape, are taken back into the blood, and forced upon the internal organs.
620. In regard to cleanliness, God requires no less of his people now than he did of ancient Israel. A neglect of cleanliness will induce disease.
621. The ten commandments spoken by Jehovah from Sinai cannot live in the hearts of persons of disorderly, filthy habits. If ancient Israel could not so much as listen to the proclamation of that holy law, unless they had obeyed the injunction of Jehovah, and had cleansed their clothing, how can that sacred law be written upon the hearts of persons who are not cleanly in person, in clothing, or in their houses? It is impossible. Their profession may be as high as heaven, yet it is not worth a straw... All who meet upon the Sabbath to worship God should, if possible, have a neat, well-fitting, comely suit to wear in the house of worship. It is a dishonor to the Sabbath, and to God and his house, for those who profess that the Sabbath is the holy of the Lord, and honorable, to wear the same clothing upon the Sabbath that they have worn through the week while laboring upon their farms, when they can obtain other.
622. Several instances have come under my notice where children are being murdered by inches by the mistaken kindness of parents.
623. The calm, self-possessed course the mother pursues in the treatment of her child has very much to do in molding the mind of the infant. If it is nervous and easily agitated, the mother's careful, unhurried manner will have a soothing and correcting influence, and the health of the infant can be very much improved.
624. It ever has appeared to me to be cold, heartless business for mothers who can nurse their children to turn them from the maternal breast to the bottle. But in case that is necessary, the greatest care must be exercised to have the milk from a healthy cow, and to have the bottle, as well as the milk, perfectly sweet. This is frequently neglected, and as the result, the infant is made to suffer needlessly. Disturbances of the stomach and bowels are liable to occur and the much-to-be-pitied infant becomes diseased, if it were healthy when born.
625. Mothers sometimes depend upon a hireling. . . . A stranger performs the duties of the mother, and gives from her breast the food to sustain life. Nor is this all. She also imparts her temper and her temperament to the nursing child. The child's life is linked to hers. If the hireling is a coarse type of woman, passionate and unreasonable; if she is not careful in her morals, the nursling will be, in all probability of the same or similar type. The same quality of blood coursing in the veins of the hireling nurse is in that of the child.
626. Children are also fed too frequently, which produces feverishness and suffering in various ways. The stomach should not be kept constantly at work, but should have its periods of rest. Without it children will be peevish and irritable and frequently sick.
627. The first education that children should receive from the mother in infancy should be in regard to their physical health. They should be allowed only plain food, of that quality that would preserve to them the best condition of health, and that should be partaken of only at regular periods, not oftener than three times a day and two meals would be better than three. If children are disciplined aright, they will soon learn they can receive nothing by crying and fretting. A judicious mother will act in training her children, not merely in regard to her own present comfort but for their future good. And to this end she will teach her children the important lesson of controlling the appetite, and of self-denial, that they should eat, drink, and dress in reference to health.
628. It is much easier to create an unnatural appetite than to correct and reform it after it has become second nature. . . . Meat given to children is not the best thing to insure success. . . . To educate your children to subsist upon a meat diet would be harmful to them. . . . Highly seasoned meats, followed by rich pastry, is wearing out the vital organs of the digestion of children. Had they been accustomed to plain, wholesome food, their appetites would not have craved unnatural luxuries and mixed preparations.
629. One great error of the mother in the treatment of her infant is, she deprives it very much of fresh air, that which it ought to have to make it strong. It is a practise of many mothers to cover their infant's head while sleeping, and this, too, in a warm room, which is seldom ventilated as it should be. This alone is sufficient to greatly enfeeble the action of the heart and lungs, thereby affecting the whole system. While care may be needful to protect the infant from a draught of air or from any sudden and too great change, especial care should be taken to have the child breathe a pure, invigorating atmosphere. No disagreeable odor should remain in the nursery or about the child; such things are more dangerous to the feeble infant than to grown persons.
630. But there is an evil greater than those already named. The infant is exposed to a vitiated air caused by many breaths, some of which are very offensive and injurious to the strong lungs of older people. The infant lungs suffer and become diseased by inhaling the atmosphere of a room poisoned by the tobacco user's tainted breath. Many infants are poisoned beyond remedy by sleeping in beds with their tobacco-using fathers. By inhaling the poisonous tobacco effluvium, which is thrown from the lungs and the pores of the skin, the system of the infant is filled with the poison. While it acts upon some as a slow poison, and affects the brain, heart, liver, and lungs, and they waste away and fade gradually, upon others it has a more direct influence, causing spasms, fits, paralysis, palsy, and sudden death.
631. The garments are made extravagantly long, and in order to keep them up on the infant, its body is girded with tight bands, or waists, which hinder the free action of the heart and lungs. Infants are compelled to bear a needless weight because of the length of their garments, and thus clothed, they do not have free use of their muscles and limbs. Mothers have thought it necessary to compress the bodies of their infant children to keep them in shape, as if fearful that without tight bandages they would fall in pieces or become deformed. Do the animal creation become deformed because nature is left to do her own work? Do the little lambs become deformed because they are not girded about with bands to give them shape? They are delicately and beautifully formed. Human infants are the most perfect, and yet the most helpless, of all the Creator's handiwork, and therefore their mothers should be instructed in regard to physical laws, so as to be capable of rearing them with physical, mental and moral health. Mothers, nature has given our infants forms which need no girts or bands to perfect them. God has supplied them with bones and muscles sufficient for their support, and to guard nature's fine machinery within, before committing it to your care. The dress of the infant should be so arranged that its body will not be in the least compressed after taking a full meal. . . . Another great cause of mortality among infants and youth, is the custom of leaving their arms and shoulders naked. This fashion cannot be too severely censured. It has cost the lives of thousands. The air, bathing the arms and limbs and circulating about the armpits, chills these sensitive portions of the body so near the vitals, hinders the healthy circulation of the blood, and induces disease, especially of the lungs and brain.
632. Mothers who dress their children in accordance with fashion, endanger their health and life. Fashion leaves the limbs of children unclad, save with one covering, or, at most, two. If they are exposed to the chill autumn, spring, or winter weather, their limbs are bathed in a current of cold air. Over the heart, where is the greatest amount of vitality, there are from four to eight coverings. These unclad limbs and feet become habitually cold. While traveling, it is customary to see little girls dressed fashionably, but not healthfully. The upper portions of the body are abundantly clothed with warm cloaks, and over these are furs, while the limbs are scarcely covered. . . . Christian mother, why not clothe your daughter as comfortably and as properly as you do your son?..... His limbs are protected by from three to five thicknesses; hers by only one. Is she feebler? Then she needs the greater care. Is she indoors more, and therefore less protected against cold and storm? Then she needs double care.
633. Societies are formed in our cities for the prevention of cruelty to dumb animals. It would be well to go still further and, inasmuch as accountable intelligences, capable of obtaining life eternal, are of more value than the dumb beasts, there is greater need of societies to prevent the cruelty of mothers in dressing their darling little girls in a manner to sacrifice them at the shrine of cruel fashion.
634. There is a disposition with many parents to dose children perpetually with medicine. They always have a supply on hand, and when any slight indisposition is manifested, caused by overeating or exhaustion, the medicine is poured down their throats, and if that does not satisfy them, they send for the doctor. . . . The child is drugged to death and the parents console themselves that they have done all they could for their children and wonder why they must die when they did so much to save them..... Upon the gravestones of such children should be written, "Died of Drug Medication."
635. Many mothers feel that they have not time to instruct their children, and in order to get them out of the way and get rid of their noise and trouble, they send them to school. The schoolroom is a hard place for children who have inherited enfeebled constitutions. Schoolrooms generally have not been constructed in reference to health, but in regard to cheapness. The rooms have not been arranged so they could be ventilated as they should be without exposing the children to severe cold. The seats have seldom been made so that the children can sit with ease, and keep their little, growing frames in a proper posture to insure healthy action of the lungs and heart. Young children can grow into almost any shape, and can, by habits of proper exercise and positions of the body, obtain healthy forms. It is destructive to the health and life of young children to sit in the schoolroom, upon hard, ill-formed benches, from three to five hours a day, inhaling the air made impure by many breaths. The weak lungs become affected, the brain, from which the nervous energy of the whole system is derived, becomes enfeebled by being called into active exercise before the strength of the mental organs is sufficiently matured to endure fatigue.
In the schoolroom the foundation has been too surely laid for diseases of various kinds. But, more especially, the most delicate of all organs, the brain, has often been permanently injured by too great exercise. This has often caused inflammation, then dropsy of the head, and convulsions with their dreaded results. . . . Of those children who have apparently had sufficient force of constitution to survive this treatment, there are very many who carry the effects of it through life. The nervous energy of the brain becomes so weakened that after they have come to maturity it is impossible for them to endure much mental exercise. The force of some of the delicate organs of the brain seems to be expended. . . .
During the first six or seven years of a child's life, special attention should be given to its physical training, rather than to the intellect. After this period, if the physical constitution is good, the education of both should receive attention. . . . Parents, especially mothers, should be the only teachers of such infant minds. They should not educate from books. The children generally will be inquisitive to learn the things of nature. They will ask questions in regard to the things they see and hear and parents should improve the opportunity to instruct and patiently answer these little inquiries.
636. It is an error generally committed to make no difference in the life of a woman previous to the birth of her children.
637. In past generations, if mothers had informed themselves in regard to the laws of their being, they would have understood that their constitutional strength as well as the tone of their morals, and their mental faculties, would in a great measure be represented in their offspring. Their ignorance upon this subject, where so much is involved, is criminal. Many women never should have become mothers. Their blood was filled with scrofula, transmitted to them from their parents, and increased by their gross manner of living. The intellect has been brought down and enslaved to serve the animal appetites and children born of such parents have been poor sufferers, and of but little use to society. . . .
Wives and mothers who otherwise would have had a beneficial influence upon society in raising the standard of morals, have been lost to society through multiplicity of home cares, because of the fashionable, health-destroying manner of cooking, and also in consequence of too frequent child-bearing. They have been compelled to needless suffering, the constitution has failed, and the intellect has become weakened by so great a draught upon the vital resources. . . . If the mother, before the birth of her offspring, had always possessed self-control, realizing that she was giving the stamp of character to future generations, the present state of society would not be so depreciated in character as at the present time.
Every woman about to become a mother, whatever may be her surroundings, should encourage constantly a happy, cheerful, contented disposition, knowing that for all her efforts in this direction she will be repaid tenfold in the physical as well as the moral character of her offspring.
638. Great care should be exercised to have the surroundings of the mother pleasant and happy. . . . Not half the care is taken of some women while they are bearing children that is taken of animals in the stable.
639. The mother, in many cases previous to the birth of her children, is permitted to toil early and late, heating her blood. . . . Her strength should have been tenderly cherished. . . . Her burdens and cares are seldom lessened, and that period, which should be to her of all others a time of rest, is one of fatigue, sadness, and gloom. By too great exertion on her part, she deprives her offspring of that nutrition which nature has provided for it, and by heating her own blood, she imparts to the child a bad quality of blood. The offspring is robbed of its vitality, robbed of physical and mental strength.
640. Many mothers, while nursing their infants, have been permitted to overlabor, and to heat their blood in cooking, and the nurseling has been seriously affected, not only with fevered nourishment from the mother's breast, but its blood has been poisoned by the unhealthful diet of the mother. . . . The infant will also be affected by the condition of the mother's mind. If she is unhappy, easily agitated, irritable, giving vent to outbursts of passion, the nourishment the infant receives from its mother will be affected, often producing colic, spasms, and, in some instances causing convulsions.
641. At this important period the labor of the mother should be lightened. Great changes are going on in her system. It requires a greater amount of blood, and therefore an increase of food of the most nourishing quality to convert into blood. Unless she has an abundant supply of nutritious food, she cannot retain her physical strength, and her offspring is robbed of vitality. . . . There will be an inability in the offspring to appropriate food which it can convert into good blood to nourish the system. . . . The extra draught upon the vitality of the mother must be considered and provided for.
642. But, on the other hand, the idea that women, because of their special condition, may let the appetite run riot, is a mistake based on custom, but not on sound sense. The appetite of women in this condition may be variable, fitful, and difficult to gratify; and custom allows her to have anything she may fancy, without consulting reason as to whether such food can supply nutrition for her body and for the growth of her child. The food should be nutritious, but should not be of an exciting quality. Custom says that if she wants flesh meats, pickles, spiced food, or mince pies, let her have them; appetite alone is to be consulted. This is a great mistake, and does much harm. The harm cannot be estimated. If ever there is need of simplicity of diet and special care as to the quality of food eaten, it is at this important period. Women who possess principle, and who are well instructed, will not depart from simplicity of diet at this time of all others. They will consider that another life is dependent upon them, and will be careful in all their habits, especially in diet.
643. From the food the mother was compelled to receive, she could not furnish a good quality of blood, and therefore gave birth to children filled with humors.
644. Her clothing also demands attention. Care should be taken to protect the body from a sense of chilliness. She should not call vitality unnecessarily to the surface to supply the want of sufficient clothing. . . . The prosperity of mother and child depends much upon good, warm clothing, and a supply of nourishing food.
645. Very many children are born with their blood tainted with scrofula, through the wrong habits of the mother in her eating and dressing. The very many miscarriages that now occur may generally be traced to fashionable dress.
646. When we do all we can on our part to have health, then may we expect that blessed results will follow, and we can ask God in faith to bless our efforts for the preservation of health.
647. Thousands have died for want of pure water and pure air, who might have lived. . . . These blessings they need in order to become well. If they would become enlightened, and let medicine alone, and accustom themselves to outdoor exercise, and to air in their houses, summer and winter, and use soft water for drinking and bathing purposes, they would be comparatively well and happy instead of dragging out a miserable existence.
648. If those who are well need the blessing of light and air, and need to observe habits of cleanliness in order to remain well, the sick are in still greater need of them in proportion to their debilitated condition.
649. It is also of the greatest importance that the sick-room, from the first, be properly ventilated. This will be beneficial to the afflicted, and highly necessary to keep those well who are compelled to remain a length of time in the sick-room.
650. There is a lamentable catalogue of evils which have their origin in the sick-room from which the pure air of heaven is excluded. All who breathe this poisonous atmosphere violate the laws of their being, and must suffer the penalty.
651. Every breath of vital air in the sick-room is of the greatest value, although many of the sick are very ignorant on this point. They feel very much depressed and do not know what the matter is. A draught of pure air through their room would have a happy, invigorating influence upon them. . . . The sick-room, if possible, should have a draught of air through it day and night. The draught should not come directly upon the invalid.
652. In pleasant weather the sick in no case should be deprived of a full supply of fresh air.... Fresh air will prove more beneficial to the sick than medicine, and is far more essential to them than their food. They will do better and recover sooner deprived of food than of fresh air. . . . Their rooms may not always be so constructed as to allow the windows or doors to open in their rooms without the draughts coming directly upon them and exposing them to take cold. In such cases windows and doors should be opened in an adjoining room, and thus let the fresh air enter the room occupied by the sick.
653. If no other way can be devised, the sick, if possible, should be removed to another room and another bed, while the sick-room, the bed and bedding, are being purified by ventilation.
654. It is of great value to the sick to have an even temperature in the room. This cannot always be correctly determined, if left to the judgment of the attendants, for they may not be the best judges of a right temperature. Some persons require more heat than others, and would be only comfortable in a room which to another would be uncomfortably warm. If each of these is at liberty to arrange the fires to suit her ideas of proper heat, the atmosphere in the sick-room will be anything but regular. . . . The friends of the sick, or attendants, who through anxiety and watching are deprived of sleep, and who are suddenly awakened in the night from sleep to attend in the sick-room, are liable to chilliness. Such are not correct thermometers of the healthful temperature of a sick-room. These things may appear of small account, but they have very much to do with the recovery of the sick. In many instances life has been imperiled by extreme changes of the temperature of the sick-room.
655. While burning fevers are raging, there is but little danger of taking cold. But especial care is needful when the crisis comes, and fever is passing away. Then constant watching may be necessary to keep vitality in the system.
656. The heated, oppressed atmosphere, deprived of vitality, benumbs the sensitive brain.
657. If fevers enter a family, often more than one have the same fever. This need not be if the habits of the family are correct. If their diet is as it should be, and they observe habits of cleanliness and realize the necessity of ventilation, the fever need not extend to another member of the family. The reason that fevers prevail in families and expose the attendants, is because the sick-room is not kept free from poisonous infection, by cleanliness and proper ventilation.
658. Many suffer decayed vegetable matter to remain about their premises. They are not awake to the influence of these things. There is constantly arising from these decaying substances an effluvium that is poisoning the air; by inhaling the impure air, the blood is poisoned, the lungs become affected, and the whole system is diseased. Disease of almost every description will be caused by inhaling the atmosphere affected by these decaying substances.
659. All unnecessary noise and excitement should be avoided in the sick-room, and the whole house should be kept as quiet as possible. Ignorance, forgetfulness, and recklessness have caused the death of many who might have lived had they received proper care from judicious, thoughtful attendants. The doors should be opened and shut with great care, and the attendants should be unhurried, calm, and self-possessed.
660. Much harm has resulted to the sick from the universal custom of having watchers at night. In critical cases this may be necessary; but it is often the case that more harm than good is done the sick by this practise..... Even one watcher will make more or less stir, which disturbs the sick. But where there are two, they often converse together, sometimes aloud, but more frequently in whispered tones, which is far more trying and exciting to the nerves of the sick than talking aloud.... Attendants upon the sick should, if possible, leave them to quiet and rest through the night, while they occupy a room adjoining. . . . The sick as a general thing are taxed with too many visitors and callers, who chat with them, and weary them by introducing different topics of conversation, when they need quiet and undisturbed rest. . . . It is a mistaken kindness that leads so many, out of courtesy, to visit the sick. Often have they spent a sleepless, suffering night after receiving visitors. They have been more or less excited, and the reaction has been too great for their already debilitated energies and as the result of these fashionable calls, they have been brought into very dangerous conditions, and lives have been sacrificed for the want of thoughtful prudence...... In very many instances these fashionable calls have turned the scale when the invalid was recovering, and the balance has borne them down to death. Those who cannot make themselves useful should be cautious in regard to visiting the sick.
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