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Eerie Vintage Photos of People Battling the Flu

2021.02.21 Няма коментари
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By Miri Rosen, Weather.com

Outdoor Tent Influenza Hospital (Photo Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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Outdoor Tent Influenza Hospital

According to the World Health Organization, today – December 15, 2018, the flu affects three to five million people per year and can cause 250 to 500 thousand deaths annually. Though still deadly, these numbers suggest a vast improvement compared to the early 1900s. In 1918, a new strain of influenza trickled in from Europe and ravaged the nation, killing 650,000 nationally and nearly 100 million internationally.

During the deadly sweep, makeshift hospitals — or more accurately, camps of tents with medical supplies — were set up to treat the many afflicted. In this picture, ghostly-looking masked doctors and nurses bustle around patients as they lie lifeless on cots.

Take a look back at moments in history when people battled the cold and flu…

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The Flu’s Bonnie and Clyde

(Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
(Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

A nasty flu outbreak hit London in the freezing 1930’s winters. This stylish couple walks down the streets of London sporting a pair of matching antiseptic masks in the thick of the flu season. They’re making the masks work.

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‘I’m Adorable, But Please Don’t Kiss Me’

(Photo by Harry Shepherd/Fox Photos/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry Shepherd/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

One child’s parents decided to take precautions beyond just those provided by the daily tablets or tonics. When taking their baby out in his carriage, the two enterprising parents placed a note on the child’s chest reading, “Flu Precaution. Please don’t kiss me.”

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Don’t Mess Up

Photo: Getty Images
(Photo by Apic/Getty Images)

The 1918 flu epidemic didn’t just affect those who suffered with it. The Red Cross volunteers were burdened with pressure. The poster behind these masked volunteers reads, “If I Fail, He Dies.” A bit morbid but also inconveniently true.

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Business As Usual

(Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
(Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

This woman caught in the 1918 flu epidemic is going about her business, wearing her fancy jacket, and reading her important document. She just happens to be wearing a complex flu mask, which is also an uncanny toilet plunger look-alike.

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Mouthwash the Flu Away

(Photo by PhotoQuest/Getty Images)
(Photo by PhotoQuest/Getty Images)

Workers at army camps were particularly susceptible to the virus during the 1918 flu epidemic. The workers here are captured using a home remedy, swigging tonics of salt and water — almost as appealing as the original Listerine — to guard against the flu.

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Open Windows Prevent Pneumonia?

(Photo by Cincinnati Museum Center/Getty Images)
(Photo by Cincinnati Museum Center/Getty Images)

The fear of contracting the flu during the fateful post-WWI period reached panic levels by 1920 and inspired the establishment of the Anti-Tuberculosis League. The sign above features a seemingly counterproductive warning, posted by the League in a public-transport vehicle, suggesting that people leave their homes’ bedroom windows open. Cold air in your lungs sounds like a great way to prevent pneumonia!

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Spray the Flu Away

(Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
(Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Yes, this looks like Phil Dunphy from Modern Family in some bizarre plotline about scaring off one of Haley’s boyfriends. In reality, it’s a man from 1920 preparing an anti-flu spray device that would later be used to aerate buses.

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Spritz and Go

(Photo by E. Dean/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
(Photo by E. Dean/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
Two gussied-up actresses spray anti-flu tonics into their throats. Without the bottles present in the scene, these two could easily be singing a lively duet about the absurdity of feathered hats.

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Drink Up

(Photo by J. A. Hampton/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
(Photo by J. A. Hampton/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

A trained nurse visits the staff at Mutual Property Insurance Co. in London during 1932 flu season. She teaches them the best practices to guard against the flu, providing hygienic (and decidedly environmentally-unfriendly) paper cups and pills.

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Get Your Oranges Here

(Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)
(Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

An apple a day may not keep the doctor away, but according to authorities in London circa 1940, three oranges do. Here, an officer hands the actress, Molly Lamont, her emergency ration of three oranges after a flu epidemic killed 200 victims at the famed London Elstree Studios.

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Line Up and Gargle

(Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)
(Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

A class of boys at Tollgate School performs a collective gargle session to guard against the flu. Rules, like uniforms and gargling, are good; they keep kids looking neat and safe from harm.

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Never Stop Gargling

(Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)
(Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

A school nurse administers the daily anti-flu medicine to her students, who are equal parts disgusted and amused at their friend’s reluctant gulping.

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Sailors Smiling Against Sickness

(Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)
(Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

The Nautical School in Somerset trained young cadets to become sailors. They also trained them to take preventative measures against the flu and look adorably satisfied while doing it.

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Old Pros at Gargling

(Photo by Imagno/Getty Images)
(Photo by Imagno/Getty Images)

At this school in England in 1935, the students were inculcated with the “Gargle Daily” philosophy from a young age. They look healthy here, so maybe the chalkboard speaks the truth.

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Drink Ale to Cure the Flu

(Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
(Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

In 1937, mulled ale was considered a treatment to prevent the flu. Here, an employee serves the beverage for free to delighted consumers at Thames House.

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Cats Need Anti-Flu Medicine Too

(Photo by Haywood Magee/Picture Post/Getty Images)
(Photo by Haywood Magee/Picture Post/Getty Images)

In this photo, two veterinary surgeons force anti-flu M and B tablets down a cat named Tibbles’ throat. The cat’s looking to change his name to Must-bite-those-fingerTibbles.

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MORE: Check Your Local Flu Forecast:

www.weather.com/outlook/health/coldandflu/nationalreports

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