WOMEN AND THEIR, WORK

The Midsummer Duty of Coolness

If By Any Chance You Are Not Cool And Comfortable There is Something Wrong With Your Habits or Environment.

DR. WOODS HUTCHINSON August 1 1919
WOMEN AND THEIR, WORK

The Midsummer Duty of Coolness

If By Any Chance You Are Not Cool And Comfortable There is Something Wrong With Your Habits or Environment.

DR. WOODS HUTCHINSON August 1 1919

The Midsummer Duty of Coolness

WOMEN AND THEIR, WORK

If By Any Chance You Are Not Cool And Comfortable There is Something Wrong With Your Habits or Environment.

DR. WOODS HUTCHINSON

IF by any chance you are not cool and comfortable, then there is something seriously wrong with your environment or habits or conscience. Incidentally, it is no mere coincidence that the lowest death-rates of the entire year in nearly all civilized countries outside of the tropics fall in June and July—the season when the air is so warm that nobody is afraid of it, even indoors,, when the children are set free from their schools, when the pressure of indoor work is less, and even the poor can enjoy life.

But this natural paradise doesn’t last forever. By and by the heat ceases to be grateful and becomes a burden, the glare of the sun becomes weariness to the eyes, the warm brown earth a source of dust, and the singing of birds is replaced by the buzzing of flies and the “zing” of the mosquito. Then if you are to preserve the health and comfort and coolness of the family you must beat the enemy to it.

Of course, as a first step toward making yourself comfortable for the summer, it goes without saying that you will put screens over all the windows and doors of your house, and screen in at least one wide porch. Since we discovered that malaria is carried by mosquitos and by no other means, and that flies carry typhoid, summer dysentery, and other infectious diseases, screens have been lifted out of the class of mere comforts and luxuries, and have become necessities of life and health.

Also screens have been found to be not only life-savers, but good investments in a commercial way, for even cows give •more milk if they are kept in screened stables and cool sheds, and protected from the maddening attacks of flies.

Indeed, when we come to analyze the matter, it is really surprising how many of our so-called luxuries and self-indulgences and even extravagances are following screens into the same category as health-preservers and efficiency increasers.

If you have not wire screens and can’t afford them, or your landlord thinks he can’t afford them, cotton mosquito-bar screens will serve admirably for one season. If you have no handy man to make frames for these improvised screens, you can tack the mosquito-netting right onto the window-casing outside. This, any one who can balance on

a step-ladder and hit a tack on the head —instead of her thumb—can put up. In any case, the screen or mosquito-netting should eover the whole window; a cotton mosquito-netting tacked over all the window is far better than one of those wretched little compromises with sin, a wire screen which covers only half a window, or even slips in and out under the sash, and leaves comfortable little runways at the top, bottom, and sides for the flies to go in and out.

The next step toward making yourself comfortable for the summer is to provide some sort of porch—screened in if flies and mosquitoes breed near you —large enough to be used as both sitting-room and dining-room, and capable of being turned into a general livingroom for the family during the summer. If you haven’t a porch wide enough— have one built. You can have a thoroughly substantial, screened-in, awnj ine--clad norch built onto your house for] $150. If this is too great an expense, ; you can dispense with the awnings, and ! use instead the Japanese lattice screen! ing, which can be drawn up when the j sun is not shining; and merely have' your po»-ch floored and roofed, for one hundred dollars, the amount you will save at the drug-store. Eat in the open air if possible—and make it possible by cutting a window or door to give “gangway” between the kitchen and the livj ing-norch. Few things add more to the r>!; asi”'C of life and relieve the depressing effect of hot weather upon the appetite so effectively as eating in the onen air. If your house is wired for electricity, put in a single or double! socket over the porch table for electric . cooking appliances, and make your coffee, and toast, and cook your eggs, bacon, and waffles right at the table. ' Give the big stove in the kitchen as com■ pleto a summer vacation as possible. If you have no electricity in your house, you can do your summer cooking on a gas, or gasoline, or improved oil stove. I

i this plan will add largely to the comfort and peace of mind of the cook, and through her to that of the rest of the ! family. There is a great deal of waste motion in roasting the cook with the i roast and stewing her with the stew— especially if you happen to be the cook yourself.

After making a porch to keep your! self cool on, the next step is to provide ! for an abundant flow of air through all i the rooms of your house both day and ! night. Usually this can be secured by a 1 proper arrangement of windows and dcors. The doors are often the most important featui-e in the whole scheme of summer ventilation. Every livingroom in any bouse which stands by itself ought to have windows on at least two sides, and if they are not there, they ought to be put in. But in many houses there is not exposure on two sides, and even where there is, ventilation from three sides is a desirable thing and may be attained by utilizing the doors of the rooms in connection with the opgn windows of the room, or rooms, across the hall. In this way you can get a good free cross-sweep of air through all the rooms. Wherfe you have only your own family, or young children to consider, just throwing the doors wide open is sufficient, but if considerations of propriety are supposed to interfere, the doors should be fitted with light swinging screens of the Venetian „blind type. This will satisfy the proprieties, keep out bears and burglars, and yet let a current of air through.

In offices, hotels, or apartment-houses any room which can not get good crossventilation, or opens on a narrow court, ought to be equipped with an electric fan. The initial cost of an electric fan is not heavy, it lasts a number of seasons, and the expense of running it is slight. It will return fifty per cent, per summer on the investment, for the sense of coolness it produces is not merely grateful and agreeable, but is life-saving and efficiency increasing. Much of the depression and discomfort which at all times of the year comes from stuffy, ill-ventilated rooms and bad àir is now known to be due to heat and stagnancy. So any agency which keeps the air moving is a real benefit to health.

Of course the coolest and healthiest * place to sleep during the summer is on a porch, and a little ingenuity will usually succeed in devising some outdoor refuge from the heat at comparatively little expense. In the absence of a real sleeping-porch, any balcony which already exists, or can be built onto a house, will serve for this purpose. A flat roof, or even the roof of an ordinary porch which does not slope too steeply, will serve in an emergency, though any sleeping-place you are going to use constantly must be roofed and screened against insects. However, it is a great relief and resource all through the dog days to have even the most temporary place, where on the worst and most stifling nights a mattress can be pulled out and used.

The best aspect for a sleeping-porch, or a mere “night-camp” as the case may be, is south, southeast, or southwest, because the summer winds come from these quarters. The awnings or screens of a sleeping-porch should be colored green, brown, or dark blue.

Next to fresh air in the campaign for coolness and comfort, comes the necessity for abundant bathing and splashing and sponging with cool water. In hot weather the bathroom becomes one of the most important rooms in the house, and a refreshingly cool bath in the morning and another one at night should be as regular as sunrise and sunset. It is an excellent thing to come home from business in time to get a luxurious bath before dinner, and any time during the day that you feel distressed by the heat, or have half an hour to spare, it is an excellent idea to take a bath if possible. When in doubt take a bath is-an important rule in the game called life.

For children free and frequent dabbling and splashing and paddling in water is even more important and health-protecting than in the case of adults. Heat, just plain heat, seldom I does any very serious harm to grown-

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The Midsummer Duty of Coolness

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ups who are in fair condition, but to children, with their translucent skins, and big brains, and delicate nervous systems, heat is a serious danger. At times it seems literally to melt them like an

overripe peach, or wilt them like a lettuce-leaf. Their one protection is in their profuse and abundant perspiration, which keeps them cool. When a cool breeze or a current of air is to be

had, all is well; but on muggy, stifling days without a breath of air stirring, some artificial means for promoting evaporation is necessary. Give the little ones a bath at least three times a day, and let them splash and rollick and play frog or fish in the tub as long as ever they wish.

Last and by no means least in the comfort code comes the admonition, “Be good to yourself in the matter of food in summertime.” Fortunately, there is usually an abundance of wholesome appetizing foods to be had at this time of the year—such things as fruits, fresh vegetables, milk, eggs, butter, ices, and ice-cream. A high place in the summer diet should be given to ice-cream, iced puddings, and frozen custards. Their combination of sugar and fat gives them a high nutritive value, and they are readily digested by a healthy stomach, especially if eaten slowly, with plenty of good cake, home-made cookies, or salted crackers. Every family should be equipped with a good ice-cream freezer, and should use it as least three times a week. A couple of nice sandwiches, a large saucer of ice-cream (one pint), and a plate of good cookies make not only an attractive lunch, but a full meal with a fuel-value of over a thousand calories.

Of course you don’t need quite so much of the substantial foods, particularly meat and fat, in summer as in winter, because they do give a little extra heat to the body—which is very useful in cold weather, but not needed now—but you can’t keep healthy and in good working condition without a fair, yes, a liberal amount, of .upbuilding food. Many people feel weak and depi'essed and grouchy in hot weather because they try to live on the principle that the less we eat the cooler we keep.

Never forget that when there is real work to do, you must shovel coal under your boilers to do it with.

Of course it is hardly necessary to say that you should plan your clothing for the summer on comfort and health-giving principles. Give yourself the widest leeway and liberty in matters of fit and color and weight; fit yourself and all your family out with plenty of cool, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing of inexpensive materials that will wash easily, and then wear just as little of it at a time as the law allows. Fortunately most of the absurd old conventions about formal dress, and stiff collars, and black clothes, and wearing your coat or hat upon all occasions, at the peril of your life, have been done away with, or at least suspended during hot weather. On the other hand, everything that keeps you cool and fresh looking and pretty, provided it isn’t too tight or too stiff, helps to keep you comfortable and in a good summer-time mood.

If you deliberately plan in advance for comfort in this way, you will soon cease to dread the summer, and if you don’t dread the summer, you will find the hot weather won’t get on your nerves half as much as it used to do. Heat, just plain heat, never killed anybody outside of the fiery furnace. Most of the harm heat does comes in the way of aggravating unhealthful conditions which already exist in your system, or in making you worry and fuss. You won’t worry if your nerves are properly fed and ventilated and rested. Then, if a real old-fashioned hot spell does come, keep cool, don’t fan yourself into apoplexy or imagine that you are heading for a sunstroke, but take it easy and trust your constitution, remembering that the only thing certain about the weather is that it will soon change.