The Philosophy of keeping warm.
A thin shawl may be made warm by folding a newspaper inside of it. The paper is impervious to the wind and cold air from outside, and prevents the rapid escape of the warm air beneath it. Every one knows that the heat of the body is carried off much more rapidly in a high wind than in a calm.
The wind blows away the heat evolved from the body; but in a perfectly still air this heat remains, and constitutes an atmospheric envelope so nearly of the same temperature with the body itself, that the latter is not so quickly robbed of its natural heat.
There are some very interesting facts about the body in power to make and contain heat, which are familiar to all, when told, but which are seldom thought of in daily experience.
For example, the body will hold a great deal more heat than it gets from its own furnaces.
The stomach is a furnace, and our food is the fuel.
It keeps up a uniform temperature in the blood equal to about 98 degrees of Fahrenheit's thermometer.
If the stomach could consume food fast enough to maintain that heat, the body could not be frozen by any extreme of cold.
But in proportion to the severity of cold to which the body is exposed, is the rapidity with which it looses.
Some substances taken into the stomach make a hot blaze much sooner than others, as brandy.
To put brandy in the stomach is like putting pitch under a steam boiler.
It soon burns out, and the greater heat injures the furnace.
We say that the body will hold more heat than it gets from its own furnaces.
Heat is measured by degrees.
On going out of a warm room, the body will immediately begin to lose its heat, and it must part with a certain number of degrees before it can begin to feel cold.
The direction has sometimes been given--‘"Don't hug the stove, if you are going to set out on a cold journey."’ But experience says do hug it. Get in as many degrees of heat as you can carry, if it is 500.
Then wrap yourself up well, and you can economize these 500 degrees through a long ride.
But if you had only taken 100 degrees at the start, they would have been exhausted mid-way of the journey, and then you would have begun to feel cold. --Nevertheless, it is an unhealthy habit to accustom one's self on ordinary occasions to more heat than is actually needed.
This is a very common fault, and bears on the pocket as well as on the health.
One may easily get the habit of requiring two or three more blankets on a bed than are necessary.
Some families will burn twice the fuel that others do, and enjoy less comfort.
The extremities of the body get cold first, often to a painful degree, while the trunk is warm.
But so long as the trunk keeps warm, in a person of common, vigorous health, there is little fear of "catching cold" by aching toes or fingers.
In rail-car riding, it is much safer to let the toes ache, than to allow the lungs to feed on the foul air around the stove.
When you set out on a winter journey, if you are liable to suffer from cold toes, which many people do in spite of "rubbers," fold a piece of newspaper over your stocking, which you can readily do, if your boots or shoes are not irrationally tight.
This is better than "rubbers," which are, in fact, very cold comforters in extreme, while they make the feet sweat in moderate weather.
The main use of India
rubber overshoes is to keep out water, and for that they are second only to a stout, water-proof, first-rate, calf-skin boot.
There is not a more villainously unwholesome article of wear made than the high topped rubber boot.
It makes the foot tender, especially in children, gives an ugly gait, and when left off in any weather, the wearer is liable to "catch cold." Saint Crispin is the best friend of the human foot, when his leather and stitchers are honest.
Although the body can take in a greater number of degrees of heat than it gets from its own furnace, the stomach, yet its capacity is limited in this respect.
For example, when the hand is warm you cannot hold it in the air of a hot oven for a second; but when it is cold, and especially when damp, also, you may hold it there for sometime without being obliged to withdraw it. And so of the whole body.
It appears that the body may carry less, as well as more heat, than the quantity supplied by its own furnace.
Its extremities and its surface often become painfully cold.
In winter, a traveler occasionally finds in a hotel a deficiency of bed covering: or in the sensitiveness of disease, he may require more than in health.
The newspaper for which he paid two cents on the cars, spread under the upper cover, will be equal to an additional blanket.
A piece of silk oil cloth
, stitched in the folds of a shawl, is more flexible than the paper, and will last a whole winter.
It has the advantage of securing inward warmth without the additional weight of a thicker garment.
The constitutional vivacity and temper of a person has much to do with his endurance of cold.
For this vivacity is a sort of nervous fire that lessens the sensibility to outward impression.
An indifferent, milk-and-water person, without energy and force, is at the mercy of every cold blast that sweeps round the corner.
He, and especially she,
has no defence but to wear a dozen shawls during the day, and sleep under a bale of blankets at night.
One without any mental purpose, (unfortunately there are such,) though in vigorous health, is much more liable to catch cold than a spirited, delicate body bent on some positive pursuit.
In this world of changeable climates, there are not a few people who get a habit of being annoyed by any weather that is in the slightest degree adverse to their present caprice. --In winter, they don't like winter; in summer, they prefer autumn; and in autumn
is the most delightful season of the year.
A snow storm in August would be charming, but in its proper season it is a perfect nuisance.
For such people, we are utterly incapable of writing any useful hints.
We hope they will succeed in doing what they have set out to do, until they are punished into acquiescence with all the seasons of the year — that is, in making themselves uncomfortable, no matter what wind blows, or what sunshines.--The Century.