Thursday, April 30, 2009

Before you panic

I see Joe "foot in mouth" Biden has unintentionally put the fear of god in everyone this morning. Stop for a sec and do a little research or better yet I've done most of it for you. I wanted to post news articles from the time but they are a little hard to copy and paste as they were reproduced from microfilm. I went back to newspaper articles of 1918 to see what was really going on at the time. Was it bad and did it spread like wildfire? Yes on both counts, but there was a difference from then and now. Back then the sanitary conditions were not what they are now. And the most important difference was that they had no antibiotics back then. From what I've read most of the people back then died of bacterial infections that were secondary to the actual flu. The "grippe" as it was called was not the primary cause. Bacterial pnumonia and "consumption" (that would be a bacterial form of TB) were the main causes. With the population having discharges from both ends and poor sanitation (they only had the old fashioned lye soap back then) you can see why it was so contagious and deadly. To give you an idea my dear old grandma before she died told me what life was like back then. They didn't have many cars then so people got where they were going by horse drawn wagons or carriages. There was the emissons from that mode of transportation that wasn't too pleasant but more importantly horses being living things died and it wasn't uncommon to note a steed laying in the street for days until the sanitation department came by to remove the remains.
One last item comes to mind from that period. A doctor from San Francisco wired a doctor in New York and ask him about the situation. How should we prepare for this emergency? The NY doctor wrote back "Build coffins!".
I think we're lucky right now. We have phones and the internet for communications and many antibiotics as well as better sanitation than in the early 1900s. You need to remember that was back when a common cold could kill you.

If you're a bit of a history buff you can go read the articles by going to the Brooklyn Eagle and look through their articles. Just type in influenza in the search.

UPDATE: Watching the CDC and DHS I thought I'd throw in a bit of info that they are not saying. That would be that this flu can be contageous when those infected show no signs of flu. In addition the flu can be contageous up to 7 days after becoming infected. For the agencies to tout how they're putting their emergency plan into effect is nothing more than damage control. They may be able to move Tamiflu around the country but that will do nothing to prevent the spread of the illness. My advice: If you have a low immune system or have young kids or older grandparents keep them away from crowds and public places as much as possible. They could no stop this event anymore than anyone could stop a tornado or hurricane. And as I said before wash your hands and cover your coughs and sneezes. And wipe the grocery cart handle. Now for the nice cheap BLT sandwich mmmmmm.


J. Marquis said...

Good article. I heard today the number of cases in Mexico seems to be stabilizing. Hopefully that's not just public relations.

BBC said...

The bottom line is that us monkeys have come too good at saving us fucking monkeys. The result being overpopulating the planet because we whip mother nature faster than she can kill us off.

I'm not sure this is a good thing. But I have become a cranky old fuck that doesn't care if I die today or tomorrow anyway.

I just want mention on the front page, fuck page eight.

Demeur said...

I'm sure the Mexican Health Dept. is overwhelmed. I've noted that the number of reported cases has doubled in just the last few days down there. So yes I'd say it's pr at this point.

Demeur said...

Hey Billy maybe we'll just let you just go to the top of the space needle and jump off. That would make front page news for sure. Hey and I'll be your guide to the top. I took the asbestos out of the elevator shaft many years back so I know how to lead you there ha ha ha.

BBC said...

They have made it pretty hard to jump off of the space needle. And why in the hell should I do that when the two new bridges here are good places to jump off of?

A young man just jumped off of one a few days ago, and I will be doing a post about that soon.

BBC said...

PR? Go team, kill everyone.

Demeur said...

That's the problem. A guy jumps off a bridge over there and nobody over here knows about it. You said you want to make front page.

Tom Harper said...

In spite of all our modern advantages that you mention, I think those earlier generations had some advantages too. This is a generalization, but most of them were in better shape than us. They did physical labor all day, and whatever food they ate was "real," not processed and refined and full of chemicals. And I think antibiotic overuse has wrecked the natural immunity of most of us. Even if you don't take antibiotics, you're probably getting them in some of your food.

I'm not trying to romanticize earlier generations or say they had it "better" than us; but I think we've lost certain benefits that we used to have.

Demeur said...

Tom you need to do a little more reading about the time. If you think what we have in our food now is bad consider they used DDT and arsnic around their crops. It was a common practice to till a 100lb bag of arsnic into the soil before building a house to keep the rats and insects away.
When the flu hit doctors didn't know what to do. Many doctors and nurses died along with their patients. Here's their prevention measures for the time:

1. Wash inside nose with soap and water each night and morning

2. Force yourself to sneeze night and morning, then breathe deeply

3. Do not wear a muffler; a wooly scarf that was popular in those days.

4. Take quick walks regularly and walk home from work

5. Eat plenty of porridge