THE AIR WE BREATH. WHAT IS AIR? Air is that which we breathe in and out. We can also notice air when we run or when we are riding down a hill on a bicycle.
If you look out of the window, you will notice that the leaves on the trees are moving. This movement of the leaves is due to air.
WHAT MAKES UP THE AIR?
Clear your nostrils with a handkerchief or soft tissue paper. What do you notice?
These dirts are some dusts which are in the air and which was removed by the tiny hairs in our nostrils when we were taking in air.
If you breathe out on a mirror you will notice some tiny drops of water vapour.
This is also part of the air. Apart from these two—dusts and vapour, air contains other things or gases. These are oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and some other minor gases.
WHEN WE BREATHE
When we breathe in, we are taking in oxygen and nitrogen
It is only oxygen which is useful in our body. It gives us life and without it death occurs. It helps to break down the food we eat and thus give us energy and power.
When we breathe out, we expel the air which we took in. this air, however, contains plenty of poisonous carbon dioxide and little oxygen since the body used it to live.
The poisonous carbon dioxide that we breathe out is used by plants to manufacture their food during photosynthesis. When plants take in carbon dioxide, they produce oxygen which we breathe in. this is why we should always have flower bottles in our houses and in the classroom.
THE ORGAN OF BREATHING
The main organ of breathing is called the lungs. It is made up of a right and left lungs. Each lung is a big bag with tiny air sacs.
From each lung arises a pipe. The two pipes (from the two lungs) join to form the windpipe. The windpipe opens into the back of the tongue.
Air usually enters the lungs through the nose. Occasionally during illness it can do so through the mouth. The nose has some hairs. These hairs filter and remove all dust before the air passes into the lungs.
THE BREATHING PROCESS
When we breathe in, oxygen in the air enters the body through the nose. It then passes into the windpipe it gets into the two lungs.
The air sacs of the lung has very many tiny blood vessels in their thin walls. The oxygen, on getting into the lungs passes through the thin walls of the air sacs into the blood in the blood vessels. From here, the oxygen is carried round the body.
As the oxygen passes into the blood, carbon dioxide in the same blood from the body passes out into the air sacs of the lungs. When we breathe out, the carbon dioxide is expelled.
Hence, during breathing, oxygen is taken in while carbon dioxide is sent out of the body.
VENTILATION OF OUR HOUSES
If you enter a house without windows, what happens to you?
You will feel uncomfortable, hot and will start to sweat. This is because the air in the room is stagnant or is standing still. Worse, the room itself will be warm or even hot. In such situations, you will want to get out of the room quickly.
To keep our houses and our rooms cool and allow air to pass through it, we always have windows. A good and well ventilated house, has windows at opposite sides of the house, so that air entering at one end, gets out through the other.
It is dangerous to live in poorly ventilated houses.
Some houses in the villages have no windows. This makes the house to be hot, dark, stuffy and wet. If there is a sick person in such house, then, it is likely that everybody in the house will be sick. This is because as he breathes out disease germs, the others will be taking them in since there is no window for the germs to be blown out.
Diseases that can attack persons living in poorly ventilated houses are tuberculosis, measles, chicken and smallpox, cough and common cold.
The practice in villages of keeping animals such as fowls, goats and sheep at night in the same badly ventilated rooms where people sleep, is bad. These animals will compete with people for the little oxygen there is in a room. Some of these animals may be sick and they can thus
spread germs that are harmful.
It is also bad to have wood or coal fire in the sleeping rooms at night. The smoke from the fire contains poisonous gases that can kill people. This is a warning to all villagers who make coal fires to warm themselves at night during the rainy season or during harmattan.
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