Spokane and the Nation: The Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919

Headline: “Influenza”

Source: Spokesman Review October 20, 1918 n.p.

Subject: How to deal with influenza

Synopsis: This full page ad, taken out by the Spokane Health Department and paid for by local merchants, gives suggestions on how to prevent influenza, and also how to treat it. For those already infected, it gives tips on how to treat it until a doctor is available. To householders, nurses, and workers, it suggests some precautionary measures to protect themselves from infection. In addition, the ad calls for people to volunteer as nurses.

Notable Quotations:

• “Open your windows at night. If cool weather prevails, add extra bed clothing.”

• “The Germs of This Disease Are Spread Through the Secretions of the Mouth and Nose of Sick People and Carriers, and Not By Books, Clothing, Etc.”

• “Don’t Be Alarmed --- Be Careful!”


Camouflaged by the Word “Spanish” --- Not a New Disease

Just the Old Fashioned Grippe

How to Avoid It --- How to Care for Those Who Have It

Read and Heed the Following Suggestions of the Spokane Health Department

Influenza Symptoms --- What to Do Until the Doctor Comes

            If you feel a sudden chill, followed by muscular pain, headache, backache, unusual tiredness and fever, go to bed at once.

            See that there is enough bed clothing to keep you warm.

            Open all windows in your bedroom and keep them open at all times, except in rainy weather.

            Take medicine to open the bowels freely.

            Take some nourishing food, such as milk, egg and milk, or broth every four hours.

            Stay in bed until a physician tells you that it is safe to get up.

            Allow no one else to sleep in the same room.

            Protect others by sneezing and coughing into handkerchiefs or cloths, which should be boiled or burned.

            Insist that whoever gives you water or food or enters the sick room for any purpose shall wear a gauze mask, which may be made at home of four to six folds of gauze and which should cover the nose and mouth and be tied behind the head.

            Remember that these masks must be kept clean, must be put on outside the sick room, must not be handled after they are tied on and must be boiled 30 minutes and thoroughly dried every time they are taken off.

To Householders

            Keep out of the sick room unless attendance is necessary.

            Do not handle articles coming from the sick room until they are boiled.

            Allow no visitors, and do not go visiting.

            Call a doctor for all inmates who show signs of beginning sickness.

            The usual symptoms are: Inflamed and watery eyes, discharging nose, backache, headache, muscular pain, fever.

            Keep away from crowded places.

            See to it that your children are kept warm and dry, both night and day.

            Open your windows at night. If cool weather prevails, add extra bed clothing.

To Nurses

            Keep clean. Isolate your patients.

            Where in attendance upon patients, wear a mask which will cover both the nose and the mouth. When the mask is once in place, do not handle it.

            Change the mask every two hours. Owing to the scarcity of gauze, boil for half an hour and rinse, then use the gauze again.

            Wash your hands each time you come in contact with the patient. Use bichloride of mercury, 1-1000, or Liquor Cresol compound, 1-100, for hand disinfection.

            Obtain at least seven hours’ sleep in each twenty-four hours. Eat plenty of good, clean food.

            Walk in the fresh air daily.

            Sleep with you[r] windows open.

            Insist that the patient cough, sneeze or expectorate into cloths tha[t] may be disinfected or burned.

            Boil all dishes.

To Workers

            Walk to work if possible.

            Avoid the person who coughs or sneezes.

            Wash your hands before eating.

            Make full use of all available sunshine.

            Do not use a common towel. It spreads disease.

            Should you cough or sneeze, cover nose and mouth with a handkerchief.

            Sleep is necessary for well being – avoid over-exertion. Eat good, clean food.

            Keep away from houses where there are cases of influenza.

            If sick, no matter how slightly, see a physician.

            If you have had influenza, stay in bed until your doctor says you can safely get up.

[The following bolded phrases were in headline form in the original article, following the text above.]

The Germs of This Disease Are Spread Through the Secretions of the Mouth and Nose of Sick People and Carriers, and Not by Books, Clothing, Etc.

Don’t Be Alarmed --- Be Careful!

Neglect Is the Cause of Practically All Fatalities

Spokane Health Department

More Nurses Needed, Both Professional and Practical. Those Willing to Volunteer Report in Person to 1005 Old National Bank Bldg.

This Page Contributed By:

Hart Schaffner & Marx Clothes Shop

John W. Graham & Co.

W.P. Fuller & Co.

Saad Bros.

Emporium Dry Goods Co.

Ware Bros.

Wentworth Clothing Co.


The Crescent

The Palace

Sherman Clay & Co.

Culbertson, Grote-Rankin Co.

Model Café

Lincoln Trust Co.

The Davenport Restaurant

Exchange National Bank

Spokane & Eastern Trust Co.

Old National Bank

Fidelity National Bank