This section is from the book "Clothing And Health. An Elementary Textbook Of Home Making", by Helen Kinne. Also available from Amazon: Clothing And Health.
Do you know that clothes help to keep us well? Mollie Stark wishes to know what kind of clothing should be worn at night.
What should be done about clothing at night? We have learned that, in order to keep well, we must think about the right kind of clothing as well as food. Grown people sometimes forget about this; and growing girls and boys, too. The body must be kept clean; and clothing worn next to it should also be kept clean at night as well as during the day. Who can remember how many pints of water the normal body gives off each day? It loses about three pints in 24 hours. Can you recall what becomes of this waste? Yes, some is evaporated, but some is collected by our clothes; that is why they are soiled as they collect the perspiration and excretions, although often they do not look soiled. The day garments should be hung up at night in a place where they will air and dry out by morning. They should not be shut up in a closet. Different clothing should be worn at night. A muslin nightdress, like those you are making, is usually suitable for six or seven months of the year; but some of us who live in the country or in houses not well heated require warmer clothing at night. Old people and babies, as well as sick people, require more clothing because they are not able to resist the cold as easily. Do you recall why?
What is the normal human body temperature? Why is the human body called a machine?
If our day clothing collects waste and should be aired at night, what should be done with the night clothing during the day? Yes, it should be well aired. Have you ever noticed how the air of a room is spoiled by the odor of night clothing and of bed coverings which have not been properly aired? Some people roll up the nightdress and put it under the pillow. That nightdress will not smell sweet and clean at night. Clean clothing is absolutely necessary in order to keep well. We shall some day learn how to cleanse clothing properly, by washing. Clothing worn next to the body should be changed once a week at least, and twice or three times if possible. When one works very hard and the body sends off more waste, clothing should be changed more often.
Fig. 56. - The clothing worn during the day should be aired at night.
The body which is to wear the clean clothing should be washed every day. It may not be possible to take a tub bath or a swim in the river or lake, but one can bathe all over with a bucket of water and a cloth and soap. It pays, for one feels so fresh; and, then, the waste of the body is removed by the washing, and the pores of the skin are kept in good condition. When our skin is in good condition, we do not feel the cold as much as do those who do not bathe frequently.
Do you remember that we said our clothing must help to save some of the body heat? That is how clothing protects. Why must some heat be saved?
We also learned that when our body works very hard much heat is created. Where does it go? It is not all saved. Why? Our clothing helps to prevent the heat of the body from escaping too rapidly. We should plan to wear light clothing in summer and heavier in winter, or to adapt our clothing to the weather. This is only good sense. In summer we have cool days, and in winter warm ones. People whose habits of living keep them indoors a great deal should be clothed lightly for a warm house and, when going out, should protect themselves with extra clothing. The boy or girl who walks to school rapidly does not require as much clothing as one who rides. Can you tell why?
Have you heard that several layers of thin clothing are warmer than one thick layer? Frank Allen says he knows why. Yes, because of the layers of air between the thicknesses of clothing. Still air does not carry the heat away, so we feel warmer with several layers of still air. Clothing helps to keep the layers of air from conducting the heat away too rapidly. Porous clothing is always better because air can pass through and can be collected in the meshes. Loose wool material is warm because it holds the air between the spaces made by the woolly fibers. Some day we shall study the wool fiber as we have the cotton, and find out why it collects air and why woolen clothes shrink. Do you think you understand why clothes should be changed at night? Can you tell your big brother at home why? Mollie Stark and Jane Smith told about this part of the story when they went home from school. Mrs. Stark had invited some friends in for tea. All enjoyed hearing Mollie's story.
1. Why is it important to change one's clothing weekly?
2. What care should be taken of the clothing worn at night? Why?
3. How do clothes help to keep us well? Tell mother or father how.
4. Look in your teacher's book on physiology. What does it say about body temperature; about cleanliness of the skin ?
5. Write the story of what you think Mollie and Jane told about this subject at Mrs. Stark's tea party.