Influenza Medicines, Then and Now
This article is an extension of the 1918 Influenza Winnebago County, Wisconsin case study. The prior study focused on the epidemiological aspect of the disease, whereas this article delves into a pharmacological investigation encompassing the various Influenza treatments used in Wisconsin (1918-1920). It also makes a modest comparison of 1918 influenza remedies to the over the counter medications used today.
desire to take medicine is perhaps the greatest feature which distinguishes
man from animals."
is one of the oldest and most common diseases known to humankind. It can
also be one of the deadliest. The name itself refers to the ancient belief
that it was caused by a malign and supernatural "influence".
Influenza was first described by Hippocrates in 412 B.C. and the first
well-documented pandemic of influenza-like disease occurred in 1580. Since
that time, 31 such possible influenza pandemics have been recorded, with
three occurring in the 20th century: in 1918, 1957 and 1968. The disease
today still affects large proportions of the population each year. Its
ability to kill stems from the fact that the virus can mutate quickly,
often producing new strains against which human beings have no immunity
(1-6). When this occurs, mortality from influenza can be overwhelming.
preceding information discusses a thorough epidemiological investigation
on the effects of Spanish Influenza on a midwestern community (Winnebago
County, Wisconsin) in 1918. This article reflects upon the influenza folk
remedies, patent medicines advertised, prescribed drugs, and home health
book suggestions used in Winnebago County or nearby Wisconsin communities
during this same pandemic.
Board of Health Recommendations