Listen Live

Your First Day History Lesson…The Spanish Flu of 1918

Experts have been weighing in on the similarities of the Spanish Flu in 1918, and the COVID-19 pandemic of today.  The Director of Reference Services with the Indiana Historical Society, AMY VEDRA joined me to talk about what she could dig up, comparing the two deadly pandemics.

Much like we’re seeing today, the Spanish Flu of 1918-1919 Hoosiers saw shortages. In particular “Mid November, the country was running low on VICK’S VAPOR RUB.  People were relying it to combat the flu in homes and in hospitals.  Back then the stores had to reduce their hours, and closures of schools, churches and social gatherings.  Restrictions varied by location, just like today.

The Spanish Flu didn’t actually start in Spain.  “The 1st reports were in the U.S. Not fully known where.  Spain was doing most of the reporting and because of where the news was coming from, people assumed that’s where the flu originated.

COVID-19 has turned into the “blame game”.   Amy said that “Blame” was also a headline during the Spanish Flu pandemic.  “Blaming drastic restrictions for financial hardships, blaming individuals that had poor heigene.  There was an “anti-spitting” campaign and laws put into place about spitting because of the spread of germs“.

Experts say that we could experience a second wave of COVID-19.  Amy said there WAS a second wave of the Spanish Flu. “A second wave did come and was blamed on the WW1 Armistice Day celebrations in early November, 1919.  People weren’t observing the precautionary measures put into place, and blamed the epidemic resurgence on the celebrations”.  That’s when wearing facemasks in public became a thing.

Check out all of the cool things happening “virtually” with the Indiana Historical Society and the Indiana History Center HERE.  They’d also like to hear and see YOUR COVID-19 Pandemic story.  What you are experience has been like.  They want to keep your story for generations to come.  CLICK HERE for details or give the podcast a listen!