Spanish influenza was deadliest influenza in modern history. It was a pandemic flu that prevailed from 1918 to 1919. In fact researchers believe it to be the lethal outbreak of all pandemic flu till date. At least 500 million people all over the world were affected by the virus. 20 to 50 million people died as a result of Spanish flu.
The disease was first observed in U.S, Europe and Asia. Slowly it started spreading all over the globe. Spanish influenza occurred during World War 1. Many soldiers died due to this viral disease.Spanish flu was named so because during the days of World War many reports were kept secret, but a daily in Spain reported it as large population in Spain had died due to highly infectious disease.
Symptoms And Effect Of Spanish Influenza
The general systemic symptoms of Spanish influenza are similar and common as any other form of influenza. Fever, tiredness, backache, muscle pain, leg pains, pain in joints, headache, decreased appetite are prodromal symptoms. The symptoms were quick and within hours patients turned blue due to lack of oxygen.
The respiratory symptoms are more severe in Spanish influenza as compared to other influenza viruses.Nasal discharge, cough, soreness in throat, scratchy feeling in throat, breathing difficulty, chest pain, etc is intense. Cough was so severe that some patients were found with torn abdominal muscles.
According to histopathological reports, researchers found exemplary damage to the lung tissue in Spanish influenza patients. The bronchi and tiny alveoli were severely damaged. It resulted in massive bleeding from lung and even from the nasal cavities. The lungs were prone to bacterial infection. Secondary pneumonia was common cause of death in Spanish influenza.
Pneumonia is common complication of influenza but in Spanish influenza it increased risk of fatality. High fever, bloody sputum from mouth, shortness of breath and chest pain are its symptoms. Many patients bled even from ears apart from mouth and nose. Some patients died within hours or one day after the suddenness of symptoms.
Treatment For Spanish Influenza In 1918
During those times public health associations advocated avoidance of use of common cups and utensils since the disease was extremely communicable. The other measures to prevent the disease were to avoid coughing, spitting and sneezing in public places or crowded places. People have to take proper hygienic care.
Gargling with salt water will help as salt has mild antibacterial and antiviral properties. People used to take various home remedies which included onion soup, onion salad etc. Patients during this period used to eat healthy food products such as vegetables, fruits etc. Vitamin C present in fruits and vegetables increased body’s immunity.