A nasty flu outbreak hit London in the freezing 1930’s winters. This stylish couple walks down the streets of London sporting a pair of matching antiseptic masks in the thick of the flu season. They’re making the masks work.
One child’s parents decided to take precautions beyond just those provided by the daily tablets or tonics. When taking their baby out in his carriage, the two enterprising parents placed a note on the child’s chest reading, “Flu Precaution. Please don’t kiss me.”
The 1918 flu epidemic didn’t just affect those who suffered with it. The Red Cross volunteers were burdened with pressure. The poster behind these masked volunteers reads, “If I Fail, He Dies.” A bit morbid but also inconveniently true.
This woman caught in the 1918 flu epidemic is going about her business, wearing her fancy jacket, and reading her important document. She just happens to be wearing a complex flu mask, which is also an uncanny toilet plunger look-alike.
Workers at army camps were particularly susceptible to the virus during the 1918 flu epidemic. The workers here are captured using a home remedy, swigging tonics of salt and water — almost as appealing as the original Listerine — to guard against the flu.
The fear of contracting the flu during the fateful post-WWI period reached panic levels by 1920 and inspired the establishment of the Anti-Tuberculosis League.
The sign above features a seemingly counterproductive warning, posted by the League in a public-transport vehicle, suggesting that people leave their homes’ bedroom windows open. Cold air in your lungs sounds like a great way to prevent pneumonia!
Yes, this looks like Phil Dunphy from Modern Family in some bizarre plotline about scaring off one of Haley’s boyfriends. In reality, it’s a man from 1920 preparing an anti-flu spray device that would later be used to aerate buses.
Two gussied-up actresses spray anti-flu tonics into their throats. Without the bottles present in the scene, these two could easily be singing a lively duet about the absurdity of feathered hats.
A trained nurse visits the staff at Mutual Property Insurance Co. in London during 1932 flu season. She teaches them the best practices to guard against the flu, providing hygienic paper cups and pills.
An apple a day may not keep the doctor away, but according to authorities in London circa 1940, three oranges do. Here, an officer hands the actress, Molly Lamont, her emergency ration of three oranges after a flu epidemic killed 200 victims at the famed London Elstree Studios.
A class of boys at Tollgate School performs a collective gargle session to guard against the flu. Rules, like uniforms and gargling, are good; they keep kids looking neat and safe from harm.
A school nurse administers the daily anti-flu medicine to her students, who are equal parts disgusted and amused at their friend’s reluctant gulping.
The Nautical School in Somerset trained young cadets to become sailors. They also trained them to take preventative measures against the flu and look adorably satisfied while doing it.
At this school in England in 1935, the students were inculcated with the “Gargle Daily” philosophy from a young age. They look healthy here, so maybe the chalkboard speaks the truth.
In 1937, mulled ale was considered a treatment to prevent the flu. Here, an employee serves the beverage for free to delighted consumers at Thames House.
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