Sunday, February 8, 2015

Ralph Pool Writes About the Spanish Flu, 1920

“Influenza” by Ralph Pool, from the Feb. 27, 1920 issue of the Elizabeth City Independent

The influenza still is here despite the fact that Spring draws near, nor does it seem to wane. This dread and prevalent disease accompanied by cough and sneeze brings worse ills in its train. Pneumonia often follows the “flu” when convalescents fail to do the wise things that they ought; the folks who cast aside their pills too soon, had better write their wills, and have their caskets bought. A wise man will not risk his life by faring forth from home and wife, ere he is fully well. He cares not to expose himself that he may gain a little pelf* in the city, farm or dell. Albeit among us yet are fools whom neither rhyme nor reason rules, who must do bonehead things; half-well thru rain and slush they ply, who help make the death rate high, while each grave-digger sings.

Now if you care to undertake, for naught but your own worthless sake, to dodge “flu” and its ills, be cheerful in your daily place, and smile, ev’n though it hurts your face, and dislocates your gills. Live sanely and good hours keep, that you may get enough sound sleep, and take some exercise; pay heed to all that doctors say, chase groaning pessimists away, and dodge the sneezing guys. Be sure to keep your system clean, and, whether you are fat or lean, be optimistic too. In skipping pains of every name a cheerful mind is half the game, and this is up to you.

*Pelf is money or wealth

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