Tag Archives: health

HOW EPIDEMICS SHAPED MODERN LIFE

2 Apr
How Epidemics Shaped Modern Life | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

A lithograph by Alice Dick Dumas depicts children going to a clinic for a health check to prevent the advance of disease. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

At the end of the 19th century, one in seven people around the world had died of tuberculosis, and the disease ranked as the third leading cause of death in the United States. While physicians had begun to accept German physician Robert Koch’s scientific confirmation that TB was caused by bacteria, this understanding was slow to catch on among the general public, and most people gave little attention to the behaviors that contributed to disease transmission. They didn’t understand that things they did could make them sick. In his book, Pulmonary Tuberculosis: Its Modern Prophylaxis and the Treatment in Special Institutions and at Home, S. Adolphus Knopf, an early TB specialist who practiced medicine in New York, wrote that he had once observed several of his patients sipping from the same glass as other passengers on a train, even as “they coughed and expectorated a good deal.” It was common for family members, or even strangers, to share a drinking cup.

So begins Katherine A. Foss’s concise and insightful essay on how some past epidemics have reshaped modern society. You may read her entire Zocalo essay here.

The 1918 Parade That Spread Death in Philadelphia

14 Nov

Northwest Iowa Center for Regional Studies

A Red Cross nurse wearing a face mask, c. 1918

The influenza pandemic of 1918-19 killed between 50 and 100 million people around the world, more than died in the battles of World War I. In the United States, the hardest-hit city was Philadelphia, where the spread of the disease was spurred by what was meant to be a joyous event: a parade.

So begins Allison C. Meier’s JSTOR Daily post about Philadelphia’s influenza disaster in 1918. You may read the entire post, with links, here.

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THE FLU PANDEMIC OF 1918, AS REPORTED IN 1918

16 Jan

Flu hospital 1918

The 1918-1919 influenza pandemic killed more people than combat did in the First World War. Maybe a lot more: fatality estimates range from 20-40 million to twice that around the globe. In the United States, a quarter of the population came down with the flu; some 675,000 died. Only the American Civil War has been more lethal.

So begins Matthew Wills’ concise reminder of the flu 100 years ago. You may read the entire post at JSTOR Daily here.

 

 

Apropos Flu and Colds: Today’s the anniversary for Bayer’s patent of aspirin

6 Mar

 

As various people battle with flu, colds, and other health issues this late winter, it is interesting to be reminded of the history of aspirin. On this anniversary of Bayer’s patent of aspirin, read about aspirin’s history here at HISTORY.com: Bayer patents aspirin – Mar 06, 1899 – HISTORY.com

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