Spanish flu: The worst pandemic of all time

The Spanish flu pandemic was an influenza caused by H1N1 virus, that lasted from January 1918 to December 1920. The disease was deadly as it killed 50 million people out of the 500 million infected. This was nearly 1/3 of the world’s population which was approximately 1.8 to 2 billion people.

The pandemic was believed to have been accelerated by malnourishment, overcrowding and poor hygiene. All these factors promoted bacterial superinfection.

The most common symptoms associated with the Spanish flu pandemic included headache, tiredness, dry cough, loss of appetite, stomach problems, excessive sweating and difficulty in breathing because of pneumonia.

Spanish flu virus didn’t have a cure as it killed indiscriminately, both young and old, healthy and sick, white and black. Doctors suggested a couple of things that would stop the infections, and perhaps end the pandemic. They included avoiding crowded places, eating cinnamon, drinking wine, drinking beef broth, covering mouth and nose when in public and avoiding handshakes. These measures eventually worked as the infection rate reduced drastically.

The most recent Spanish flu epidemic was reported in 2009-2010 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. It was caused by H1N1 Influenza named Swine flu, because the virus that causes it is similar to the one found in Pigs. The virus caused respiratory illnesses that killed 150 to 500 thousand people globally.

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