Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918
During the 1918 year period in America , a majority of people were financially well off and spent most of their time going to the movies, roller skating, dancing, and playing pool. Theater was starting to lose popularity was it was still a good competitor for Hollywood. The celebrities from the black and white silent films were just as popular as current actors and actresses. Having large amounts of people gather together for these activities caused an uproar because it cause the risk of infecting more and more people with the deadly influenza.
Because of World War I, the flu quickly made its way from Europe to the United States. It started spring time in Europe and made its way to America by fall which then caused the pandemic to be worldwide. The American troops were among the first ones to be exposed to this disease. Hospitals all across America were filled with dying soldiers. This flu caused about 43,000 men at war to die. The virus threatened every country that was at war. (2009, Duffy)
No one knows for sure where this deadly pandemic came from but there have been guesses, such as Haskell County, Kansas, Asia, and a British Army post in France. “The American Medical Association sponsored what is generally considered the best of several comprehensive international studies of the pandemic conducted by Dr. Edwin Jordan, editor of The Journal of Infectious Disease. He spent years reviewing evidence from all over the world; the AMA published his work in 1927.” (Barry, 2004) After researching with all of his evidence he narrowed the source of the disease to be from Kansas. It was believed to come from a specific army camp in Kansas known as Fort Riley and then it eventually spread to different camps. “After five weeks, 1,127 soldiers at Fort Riley had been stricken with the Spanish flu; 46 of them had died.” (Rosenberg) In a short matter of time it made its way to cities across the country and soon enough it got overseas when the U.S. went to war in 1917.
When the flu finally spread to Spain and infected a large majority of people living there, the government publically pronounced the epidemic. Spain was the only country not to take part in World War I that became infected with the influenza. Since many people across the globe were aware that the Spaniards were infected with it, they began to call it the Spanish Flu. (Rosenberg)
The first wave of the flu was very contagious and it quickly began to disappear by July of that year. Then suddenly, another wave of it hit by the end of August. It was equally contagious, but this time it was extremely deadly. There were three globally known cities that got the worst of it, which were Boston, United States; Brest, France; and Freetown, Sierra Leone. Hospitals all around these countries were full of dying patients. There weren’t enough doctors to take care of all of them at once. Doctors could diagnose people by taking their temperature and feeling their pulse rate. (The Medical and Scientific Conceptions of Influenza) Women who were free of the disease signed up to help the nurses and doctors out. Most of them anyways were overseas in Europe helping the soldiers there who caught it.
People were aware they had the disease when they felt nauseous, got fevers and headaches, and started turning a bluish color. Some people would cough so hard that it would tear up their stomach muscles. It wasn’t unusual to see someone bleeding from their ears, mouth, or nose. At times victims of the flu would die the same day they caught it. Having only one of the symptoms didn’t mean it was a minor case. If someone in your family or neighborhood had it, you were bound to get it the next day. The ones who took care of their loved ones in bed were often lying right next to them soon enough.
In neighborhoods there would be careless children playing and climbing on top of the coffins with the dead people inside of them....
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