August 7, 2011

Making the Mark - miasma

I never heard the word miasma until I met my hubby, Bruce. He said his grandmother worried about such things and I had him explain it.  Years later, I thought it would be a "better thing" to put in one of my historic novels.  Hey, how about my current work in progress, Mark of a  Man, set in 1898 on Amelia Island, Florida? And so I have.

Miasma was thought to be an unhealthy/disease producing sort of cloud/vapor, sometimes smelly, in the atmosphere resulting from decomposition of organic matter, particularly in and around swamps. Although the odor is bothersome, the vapor, itself does not spread illness.  In my research, I found that nurse Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) was a strong believer in miasma and, to that end, believed in open, airy, clean hospitals which helped out everyone in the end. 

PS While some Marthas (as in Martha Stewart) say, "It's a good thing," my teddy, Martha Bear®, says, "It's a better thing."

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