U.S. Health Service Issues Warning

Springville (NY) Journal

December 5, 1918

 

Increase in All Respiratory Diseases After the Influenza Epidemic Probable.

 

Influenza Expected to Lurk for Months. How to Guard Against Pneumonia. Common Colds Highly Catching—Importance of Suitable Clothing—Could Save 100,000 Lives.

With the subsidence of the epidemic of influenza the attention of health officers is directed to pneumonia, bronchitis and other diseases of the respiratory system which regularly cause a large number of deaths, especially during the winter season. According to Rupert Blue, Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service, these diseases will be especially prevalent this winter unless the people are particularly careful to obey health instructions.

“The present epidemic,” said Surgeon General Blue, “has taught by bitter experience how readily a condition beginning apparently as a slight cold may go on to pneumonia and death. Although the worst of the epidemic is over, there will continue to be a large number of scattered cases, many of them mild and unrecognized, which will be danger spots to be guarded against.” The Surgeon General likened the present situation to that after a great fire, saying, “No fire chief who understands his business stops playing the hose on the charred debris as soon as the flames and visible fire have disappeared. On the contrary, he continues the water for hours and even days, for he knows that there is danger of the fire rekindling from smoldering embers.”

“Then you fear another outbreak of influenza?” he was asked. “Not necessarily another large epidemic,” said the Surgeon General, “but unless the people learn to realize the seriousness of the danger they will be compelled to pay a heavy death toll from pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.

Common Colds Highly Catching

“It is encouraging to observe that people are beginning to learn that ordinary coughs and colds are highly catching and are spread from person to person by means of droplets of germ laden mucus. Such droplets are sprayed into the air when careless or ignorant people cough or sneeze without covering their mouth and nose. It is also good to know that people have learned something about the value of fresh air. In summer, when people are largely out of doors, the respiratory diseases (coughs, colds, pneumonia, etc.) are infrequent; in the fall, as people begin to remain indoors, the respiratory diseases increase; in the winter, when people are prone to stay in badly ventilated, overheated rooms, the respiratory diseases become very prevalent.

Suitable Clothing Important

“Still another factor in the production of colds, pneumonia and other respiratory diseases is carelessness or ignorance of the people regarding suitable clothing during the seasons when the weather suddenly changes, sitting in warm rooms too heavily dressed or, what is even more common, especially among women, dressing so lightly that windows are kept closed in order to be comfortably warm. This is a very injurious practice.

Could Save 100,000 Lives.

“I believe we could easily save one hundred thousand lives annually in the United States if all the people would adopt the system of fresh air living followed, for example, in tuberculosis sanatoria. There is nothing mysterious about it—no specific medicine, no vaccine. The important thing is right living, good food and plenty of fresh air.”

Droplet Infection Explained in Pictures

The Bureau of Public Health, Treasury Department, has just issued a striking poster drawn by Berryman, the well-known Washington cartoonist. The poster exemplifies the modern method of health education. A few years ago, under similar circumstances, the health authorities would have issued an official dry but scientifically accurate bulletin teaching the role of droplet infection in the spread of respiratory diseases. The only ones who would have understood the bulletin would have been those who already knew all about the subject. The man in the street, the plain citizen and the many millions who toil for their living would have had no time and no desire to wade through the technical phraseology.

(Source: https://www.newspapers.com/image/282097463/?terms=influenza)

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