The Flu Epidemic
Laura K. - Period 5 - May 21
What is the flu?
The flu, or influenza, is an infection/virus that causes things such as fevers and severe aching. Influenza is highly contagious, and many people during the World War I caught it and spread it to others. It was caught in camps, homes, and in trenches and hiding places of soldiers during World War I in 1918.
How was influenza spread?
In camps and homes, coughs, sneezes, and even speaking released germs and droplets into the air. This is what made influenza contagious. Simply inhaling these invisible droplets in the air put germs in your system. That is how people caught it. These germs went into many people through inhaling and being near people who were infected. Many people were not conscious of their health during the war because they were so concentrated on the battle. Touching things that infected people touched got germs on hands and feet, getting people infected with the virus.
How many people were infected?
The contagious influenza virus infected approximately 500 million people worldwide in 1918 alone. 20 to 50 million died. More than 25% of Americans became sick. About 675,000 Americans died in the process.
Was it ever cured?
There were many attempts at permanently curing the influenza virus, but none worked. Vaccines, medicines, and pills were tried, but all failed. Instead, people became more conscious of their health in the war and in everyday life by washing their hands more often and some wore face masks.
-There is usually one time a year when the flu strikes
-There is no permanent cure for the flu, but there are vaccines and shots to help its cause
-During the war, large industries had to shut down because too many people got sick