This year--2018--marks the 100th anniversary of the 1918 influenza pandemic--one of the deadliest viral outbreaks in history.

As we see again and again, history has a way of repeating itself. We're watching news stories the last few days with concerns of measles in Texas, ebola in Congo spreading to a new city, and a mystery illness striking multiple airline passengers on separate flights coming into Philadelphia.

As a reader of our Survival Scouts, you know that there’s a lot we can learn from analyzing how our ancestors handled past world crises, including epidemics. 

While the flu outbreak was a tragedy at the time, it taught us plenty about how we should handle such a situation, heaven forbid a new outbreak ever were to occur. 

Today, I’m going to point out a few ways we can be better prepared based on the actual event that occurred 100 years ago. 

But first, let’s take a look at the history of the Influenza Pandemic 0f 1918 so we are all on the same page of what happened... 

 

The History of the Influenza Pandemic of 1918 

The Influenza Pandemic started in 1918 in the midst of World War I.

During this time period, physicians had little to no knowledge about what a virus was or how viruses spread. 

For this reason, it’s likely we’ll never be able to figure out where the virus originated. 

What we do know is that the virus hit multiple locations around the world, including Europe, China, America, and Spain. 

However, according to CDC.gov, the first wave of the virus was detected in the United States’ military camps in the spring of 1918. 

While any illness is concerning, the first wave of this virus was considered mild and was swept under the rug by military officials who didn’t want the common folk to panic. 

Then, in September 1918, the second wave of the flu hit Camp Devens, a U.S. Army training camp just outside of Boston. 

During this wave, more than 100,000 Americans died. 

The third and final wave started in 1919 and continued to infect people throughout the entire spring, leaving many people hospitalized or dead. 

One of the most interesting things about this viral outbreak is that the flu seemed to target mostly people who were young and the healthy--especially young men in the service. 

It’s a fact that more U.S. soldiers died from the 1918 flu than were actually killed in battle during World War I. 

There’s a logical reason for this. 

Service men spent a lot of time together in close quarters--whether it be on Navy ships or fighting in the trenches together. 

Because these men were always in such close proximity, it made it easy for the virus to spread. 

The war may have facilitated the spread of the virus around the globe as it was carried into battle from country to country. 

In this 1918 photo made available by the Library of Congress, volunteer nurses from the American Red Cross tend to influenza patients in the Oakland Municipal Auditorium, used as a temporary hospital. Edward A. “Doc” Rogers/Library of Congress

All in all, CDC.gov states that… 

  • Approximately 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population became infected with this virus.
  • At least 50 million people worldwide died due to the virus.
  • Out of those who died, around 675,000 were Americans. 

Shocking. Today we now know this pandemic was caused by an H1N1 virus. 

Thankfully, due to modern medicine, we now have a vaccination that generally protects us against this virus. 

But, viruses change every few years due to a phenomenon called antigenic drift. In simple terms, a virus is capable of changing its genetic makeup so it’s able to infect people--even those who have had flu vaccines. That’s not good. 

For this reason, it makes sense to be up to speed on the latest preparedness tactics just in case a devastating strain of viruses were to hit the U.S. 

Here are a few things you can do to prepare yourself… 

 

Tip #1 - Continue to Get Vaccinated 

Even if the next flu virus isn’t deadly, it’s still no fun to be sick. 

One of the simplest things you can do to protect yourself and your family, if you so choose, is to get vaccinated every year. 

This is especially important if you have small children or infants that aren’t old enough to get the vaccine. Or the elderly. 

Most insurance companies will cover the entire cost of the vaccine. 

If you don’t have insurance, many pharmacies will supply the vaccine for about $20. 

 

Tip #2 - Invest in an Air Filtration System 

Bacteria and viruses travel on dust particles or respiratory moisture that is expelled when an infected person sneezes or coughs. 

A quality air filtration system can help stop the spread of these germs by filtering the infected air you breathe. 

Air filtration systems can be a monetary investment. That being said, there are many advantages to owning a system for your home. We recommend the Alexapure Breeze which sells for under $200. 

For example, an air filtration system can help… 

  • Ease allergies.
  • Protect your lungs against pollutants.
  • Prevent mold spores from growing in your home.
  • Eliminate unpleasant odors.
  • Prevent animal dander from collecting in your carpets, furniture, or bedding. 

 

Tip #3 - Prepare for Hunkering Down in Your Home 

By far, the most important thing you need to remember is that exposure to other people puts you at risk for contracting a virus. 

In fact, traveling and being in close proximity to others is a likely reason that the H1N1 virus spread during World War I. 

This is a mistake we can learn from history that we don’t want to repeat again. 

In a worst-case scenario, this might mean you have to… 

Due to these scenarios, it’s important to… 

  1. Have enough food stored and a source of water to get you through an extended period of time in isolation.
  2. Save up extra money and keep cash in your home in case you’re unable to work.
  3. Set up a protocol as to who is allowed to come and go from your home. 

Ideally, it’s a good idea to have at least three months’ worth of food available in your home. Don’t forget...the H1N1 virus spread for over a year. 

It’s also important to have a means for securing clean drinking water in the event that water becomes contaminated with disease.

 

Rain barrels and water filtration systems like the Alexapure Pro are a great way to provide clean water for your family. 

Last but not least, having some cash savings stored around your house is always a good idea in the event that you can't work OR your place of business gets shut down due to an illness. 

It’s also a great idea to have an extra supply of items that are in demand for barter. 

Keep these things in mind, and you’ll be prepared in the event that a new illness begins to spread. 

Today, we’ve talked a lot about the worst-case scenario situations, as history has shown us how devastating these events were in the past, even in the U.S. 

That being said...there are many other reasons it’s good to be prepared. 

For instance, the CDC estimates that every year, the flu kills 3,000 to 49,000 people. Many of these deaths were seniors. 

If you’re a senior and the flu hits your hometown, it might be a good idea to stay inside and live off some of your stored food until it passes so you don’t put yourself at risk of exposure. 

The same source also tells us that 110 children/infants died from the flu in 2017. 

If you’re about to have a new baby or if you have small children and the common flu virus breaks out, that’s another good reason to hunker down in your home for a period of time. 

It is my hope that we can all learn from the past and make more informed and prepared decisions in the future if such an event were ever to occur again. 

Have a great day and stay safe and alert!

In Liberty,

Grant Miller, My Patriot Supply

 

Sources: History.com Cdc.gov TheHill.com ABC13.com PhiladelphiaCBSlocal.com


Share this post



← Older Post Newer Post →


12 comments

  • “Vaccination is not immunization.” Truer words never spoken! I totally agree with #1. What it boils down to is this, influenza is always mutating. It evolves defenses to our vaccines and environmental factors. It’s always changing. We have American citizens that travel abroad and return with all sorts of bugs that I personally would have never been exposed to otherwise. Recently someone boarded a plane and infected many with Measles! Our bodies develop antibodies to defend us from things like influenza and it’s various mutations. It’s simple science. I personally would much rather expose my body to an dead/ineffective form of a virus so that it can build defenses against said virus, rather than potentially be exposed to the one that will get me sick – or cause an epidemic. It’s a form of having the upper hand and preparing ourselves from the inside, while simultaneously protecting those around us. My immune system isn’t bullet proof; nobody’s is. BUT I am thankful to God that he allowed our bodies to develop resistance… for those who are smart enough to choose to accept modern science and how it works in conjunction with His beautiful design. I won’t let some little bug beat me if I can help it!

    Cole S. on
  • Disagree with John. Vaccinations help more than they hurt. If you’ve EVER been in the military…you’ve been vaccinated…(over and over, it seems!). Vaccines help by allowing your body to build up immunity to a particular disease or infection. Some people take the extreme examples of someone with an allergic reaction to a vaccine, and try to apply it to all who receive it.
    Like everything else in life there IS NO guarantee….but I’d stand a better chance with a vaccine than someone who depends on means other than a vaccine. Those who don’t get vaccinated are the danger to the rest of us….because THEY will be the carriers of a virulent infection.

    Phil Bronner on
  • My family is vaccinated! Thank god because if I were to ever loose my kids.. I would be devastated. We grow our vegetables in our garden with our seed vault and prepare just as we would hope any other american would. Don’t hesitate on taking care of your family!

    LeAnn on
  • I agree with John that we should NOT get the flu vaccine. The statistics for last year’s flu vaccine had only around 10% – 20% efficacy, but 100% of what ever they inject into you is still there indefinitely. The CDC never mentions all the nasty adjuvants (nice things like mercury, aluminum and an assortment of nasties, such as pus, etc.) that are in the vaccine, supposedly to stimulate your immune system. What they actually do is make you mildly, chronically ill, and in the case of some vaccines, such as Gardasil, you might end up dead at a very tender young age within hours, or just days after injection. Not exactly the best way to strengthen the immune system, now is it… Or maybe you’d like a nice tumor at the injection site where the cells crystallize thanks to the toxic brew that was injected into your body. Oh, and those CDC stats are also including anyone who had the flu, but may also have had complications from other fun things like pneumonia at roughly the same time, so not exactly an accurate number. It’s one of the tools they use to try to get everyone to take their nasty shots. The flu does kill some people, but typically only those with seriously weakened immune systems as a rule, and good nutrition, a lack of junk food, processed foods, pesticides and household toxins would most likely accomplish more than the vaccine ever could hope to! By the way, I’ve never had a flu shot, and in my nearly 60 years on this earth, have only had the flu one time around 20 years ago while working in a huge call center with several hundred people, many of them were often sick. I didn’t neglect to sanitize my desk and headset after that, and worked there for 6 years more and never got sick again.

    Other than the vaccination recommendation though, a good article. :-)

    Gloria on
  • I disagree on John’s comment. Get vaccinated. It helps your system be prepared to fight whatever it is even if they guessed badly at what strain or strains to put in the vaccine (they often have 18 months lead).

    The one in the news… a version of H3N2, that killed a lot. It came through here and spouse and I both ducked, then as that one passed he got it. I had HongKong flu (same strain family) as a child because of a cousin that came back from Vietnam War, gave it to his family then they gave it to us. I was very very sick. Spouse did not ever have it. That man got sick. Massively sick. I took care of him for three days then went down myself. He was barely in able to function and still pretty much bedridden. I got up a few times to tend to his needs, and mine. We finished with the worst of it at the same time, me two days, him five. I did not get nearly as sick. I still had resistance 50 years later.

    One other reason that H1N1 strain (Spanish Influenza) was so deadly was it evolved into airborne infection, and a pneumonia as well. It shifted again and that is part of why it died out. It had about a two year run…

    One other comment, if one person in the family cluster gets sick, prepare for everyone to get sick, and pretty close to the same time. Often it’s go on a 12 hour minimal water fast at onset of symptoms and after that go to rehydration, electrolyte rebalance, and nutrition afterwards. It sounds counter, but sometimes that fast with stay in bed and be quiet is what is needed to break some of the symptom cycle.

    Dee on

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published.