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

Headline: “How to Prevent ‘Flu,’ Told by Health ‘Boss’”

Source: Spokane Daily Chronicle, October 11, 1918, page 8

Subject: Suggestions to prevent influenza

Synopsis: The following is a list of suggestions to prevent influenza by Dr. J.B. Anderson, Spokane’s leading health officer.  One interesting instruction is for citizens to not put pencils or fingers into their mouths. This may sound like an odd instruction at first, but because influenza is caught through germs, these were behaviors to avoid.

Notable Quotations:

• “Keep away from persons who are coughing or sneezing. ”

• “Eat plenty of simple, nourishing food; keep the body warm. ”

• “Do not use a public drinking cup.  Do not use any cup without first washing it.”

“How to Prevent ‘Flu,’ Told By Health ‘Boss’”

Keep Fingers, Pencils Out of Mouth; Eat Plenty, Keep Warm, He Says.

            Dr. J.B. Anderson, city health officer, today passed out the following rules for protection against the influenza epidemic:

  1. Keep away from persons who are coughing or sneezing.
  2. Do not put into the mouth fingers, pencils, etc.
  3. Do not use a public drinking cup. Do not use any cup without first washing it.
  4. Keep away from crowds.
  1. Avoid getting hungry, tired and cold.
  2. Sleep and work in rooms filled with fresh air.
  3. Take as much exercise as you can in the fresh air.
  4. Eat plenty of simple, nourishing food; keep the body warm.
  5. Change your clothing with the weather conditions. Avoid too much heat or too much cold.
  1. When you cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a handkerchief. If you have no handkerchief, turn your face toward the ground.
  2. Keep away from crowds.
  3. Wash your hands before eating.
  4. Keep your mouth and teeth clean with a good dental antiseptic.
  5. Do not spit in public places.