Saturday, January 9, 2010

Of drafts and health procedures (an incomplete research project)

"Is it blowing on you?"

"Is what blowing on me?"

"Is the air blowing on you from the window?"

Was it? I hadn't noticed. And it wouldn't have made a difference. But to some people, it makes a big difference.

I have this association of a stuffy British lady in the 19th century whining "Shut the door! There's a draft!" But in fact keeping track of various air currents is still in practice in Russia, and perhaps in other countries.

This article describes it well: continue/-
"...All of these dangers to your health, however, pale in comparison to The Draft. Not the kind where the army comes to take your sons away, but a current of air in a room coming from a window or colder hallway, сквозняк. «Не сиди на сквозняке - простудишься» (Don't sit where there's a draft, you'll catch a cold). The root of the word seems to be сквозь, the preposition meaning through, as in: the cold air will go through the room and lead you to an early grave."

Also, your back might hurt because you sat near an open window at some point.

I've been told that it's okay to keep the window open as long as you close the door. Somehow that keeps you from getting sick.

It's okay to air out a room so that you have something fresh to breathe. I haven't figured out the rules for that yet. Do you open the door and window at the same time? With or without people in the room?

I'm still learning...


  1. Greetings Elizabeth,

    The word I hear is do-it, a draft. It's good to know that it isn't just this American who has been sort of driven crazy with talk about drafts. Just yesterday I got a sore back and it was diagnosed with certainty as caused by a slightly open window near my desk.

    The time to air out rooms is when you leave the apartment... when forgetting to open the windows can get you in equal trouble.

    Russians are stopped by inconsequentials like slight drafts. Of course Americans have their own ways of reacting that probably seem ridiculous, too.

  2. A Russian friend of mine here was telling me about the "magnetic" storms of whatever....she thinks we are so backward here not to be aware of this scientific fact.

    I do think it is human nature to have to attribute any illness or indisposition to SOMETHING. I wonder if we attribute our illnesses to things that the Russians think are stupid.

    I do think that changes in air pressure have an enormous impact on me - sinus headaches!

    My mom was never one to even insist that we wear coats if we balked - let alone hats or mittens or anything else. She said it was all nonsense that getting cold would cause a cold. I remember this contrast between this idea and reading Tolstoy's "Childhood" (I think) when his mother is dumped from a buggy into a stream, gets wet, gets sick and dies. Since Tolstoy's mother clearly died after this incident, I always wondered.

    Recently I heard some research was done on exposure to cold and illness. That study, showed that while being chilled would not MAKE you sick, if you were already ill, getting a chill was extremely likely to worsen your illness. One has to wonder how they did this study, but I found it interesting anyway.

  3. Robert, the word "do-it" (as you wrote) is a verb meaning "to blow," as in the wind. But in English we would probably just say "there's a draft."

    Americans are definitely obsessed with certain things, such as personal safety measures.

    Annie, I have heard Russians talk about air pressure as well.

    I would think that the death of Tolstoy's mother would be attributed more to hypothermia? When the body is no longer able to detect the temperature and adjust accordingly.

    I don't know what effect being simply "chilled" has, if any. I would think eating and sleeping properly would have far more influence. But I'm not an expert.

  4. Лиза напиши еще про то как вы пьете ледяную воду, чтобы победить ангину. :)

  5. Об этом не стоит здесь написать...англоязычных не удивишь. :) Ледяная вода снимает боль в горле, но не побеждает ангину.


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