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March 20, 2020

Instructions on How to Prevent the Spread of Influenza From 1918

Instructions on how to prevent the spread of influenza, published in a warning published by the Illustrated Current News in October 1918 when the pandemic first began to spread.

Poster of Red Cross nurse with a gauze mask over her nose and mouth, published by the Illustrated Current News (New Haven, Connecticut) in October 1918, the height of the influenza pandemic. (Image: US National Library of Medicine)
  • Do not take any person’s breath.
  • Keep the mouth and teeth clean.
  • Avoid those that cough and sneeze.
  • Don’t visit poorly ventilated places.
  • Keep warm, get fresh air and sun-shine.
  • Don't use common drinking cups, towels, etc.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze.
  • Avoid Worry, Fear and Fatigue.
  • Stay at home if you have a cold.
  • Walk to your work or office.
  • In sick rooms wear a gauze mask like in illustration.
The 1918 influenza pandemic killed more than 50 million people worldwide. The flu virus strain, H1N1 influenza A, killed young, healthy adults in addition to the very young, the very old, and people with existing health conditions. Victims tended to die from pneumonia as a secondary complication.

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