Night air

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This article is about the actual air at night. For the song by Teddy Geiger, see Underage Thinking. For the ABC Radio National program, see The Night Air (radio program). For the Jamie Woon song, see Night Air.

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, 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.

Particularly important was the understanding that the agent spreading malaria was the mosquitoes (active at night) rather than miasmata.

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