The Spanish Flu in Remission

The Spanish Flu in Remission

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The Spanish Flu in Remission

For many it appears like there is finally reason to take a deep sigh of relief. The deadly Spanish Flu, now believed to have begun on the battlefields and in the military hospitals of the war, appears to be in remission. In the previous two days the death tolls has gone from 302 down to 269, and it today reached a remarkable low of only 17. Still the business men's advisory committee and our local Health Commission say that we must "keep up the fight so long as there is a case of influenza." The eradication of this illness is the responsibility of every citizen and does not simply rest with the physician.

Many are preparing to proclaim an end to this devastating illness which has already claimed the lives of millions world-wide, and has forced many Los Angeles residents to isolate themselves.

The disease was known in the battlefields in which it originated as "three-day fever,". Since then the name stuck. It can attack in an instance without warning, and leave those it infects dead in less than a week. John C. Acker, a Sergeant within the 32nd Division American Expeditionary Force, described the course of the illness in greater detail: "It runs its course in a week or more. It hits suddenly and one's temperature nearly chases the mercury thru the top of the M.D.'s thermometer, face gets red, every bone in the body aches and the head splits wide open."

The disease has been the source of enormous tragedy, and sadly has claimed the lives of some of our nation's greatest young men, who have successfully fought to push back imposing enemy armies despite tremendous difficulties. After these soldiers returned home a new battle confronted Uncle Sam, as the dark shadow of flu claimed countless the lives of countless civilians and military personnel.

Fortunately Los Angeles' reaction to this scourge has been swift. Quarantine has been the official policy. This week such measures continue as nearly all downtown churches announce that they will not hold their regular Children's Sunday School classes since large meetings could endanger the lives of the youth. While the measures are only temporary it has been yet another sign of the inconveniences that quarantine measures have produced. The churches which made this decision hail from virtually every denomination.

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Many parents have expressed their disappointment that their children will not be able to attend Sunday School classes. Yet, given the severity of this disease most parents also confirm that they are far more concerned that the epidemic will be stopped so that life can resume as normal.

In Pasadena recent news has given further reasons to celebrate. The city stated that it is almost ready to lift its ban on public meetings. Residents are eager for this measure to pass, and excited for the opportunity to have concerts, picnics, and other activities once more.

Drawing off their recent experiences fighting the Spanish Flu, medical officials have come up with some basic advice for the citizens of Los Angeles that should help protect them and their communities. One health official stated that "Conditions today demonstrate definitely that enforcement of the quarantine against influenza and pneumonia is most effective" and warns citizens that "We know however, that in many instances there is failure to report cases either through design or ignorance."

In light of the current improving situation officials are encouraging Los Angeles to not lose focus of the danger of the disease at present. Each individual must do their best to educate themselves about the illness and its symptoms, and report possible cases immediately. Experts also advise that there are no known remedies against the disease, and that quarantine should be strictly followed where necessary. Home made remedies and remedies from local hucksters have become common in recent months. Some of these treatments are fairly harmless, such as eating garlic, but there are some remedies that have been extremely expensive that may have some negative effects. One should be wary of advertisements for products that claim to cure the disease which include antiquated phrases. Prominent examples would be a particular remedy that said it cured "listlessness, tainted breathe, and removes excess bile." The best medical experts in the world have been working throughout our nation day and night, and have concluded that the illness is caused by a bacteria (historical note: this is what a majority of scientists claimed at the time). Such unscientific remedies are helpless against it. It would be especially dangerous if individuals decided it is now unnecessary to take quarantine measures seriously due to an overconfidence caused by a belief in unsure remedies or the decreasing death tolls.

All that said Los Angeles has in many senses been fortunate to have effective measures limiting the spread of the disease when compared to much of the world, and even other parts of our great nation. In Europe the disease does not appear to be relenting as quickly, although there is a strange and unexplained dip in death tolls in many places far outside Los Angeles.
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