||It has been suggested that this article be merged into Miasma theory. (Discuss) Proposed since June 2013.|
Prior to the late 19th century, night air was considered dangerous in most Western cultures. Based on “zymotic” theory, people believed vapors called “miasma” (plural "miasmata") rose from the soil and spread diseases. Miasmata came from rotting vegetation and foul water—especially in swamps and urban ghettos.
Many people and especially the weak or infirm avoided breathing night air by going indoors and keeping windows and doors shut.
In addition to ideas associated with zymotic theory, there was also a general fear that cold or cool air spread disease.
The fear of night air gradually disappeared as understanding about disease increased as well as with improvements in home heating and ventilation.
- Baldwin, Peter C. "How Night Air Became Good Air, 1776-1930" in Environmental History, July 2003
- Cipolla, Carlo M. Miasmas and disease: Public health and environment in the pre-industrial age. Yale University Press, 1992. ISBN 0-300-04806-8.
- Early theories of diseases (includes miasma theory)