By Glenn Aufderhar
A happy story from the great flu epidemic of 1918 may bring hope and help as we face COVID-19.
The setting in which this story occurred highlights the effectiveness of a natural remedy anyone may use with a little effort and minimal expense.
Dark facts of the world in which this experience occurred make these statistics shine brightly on our current circumstances. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Pevention, 650,000 Americans lost their lives to H1N1 virus that is commonly called the Spanish flu.
Unlike the current coronavirus outbreak, healthy young people under 40 were at greater risk than people 40-65.
In an obscure Minnesota seminary, 120 of the most vulnerable age group were living under one roof — 90 came down with the flu, yet not one of them died.
Equally impressive was the fact that those who did catch the flu did not experience the debilitating aftermath generally endured by survivors.
A story published in the Hutchinson newspaper Dec. 13, 1918, said, “On the authority of Dr. Fred Sheppard, health officer of Hutchinson City, it may be stated that no public institution in the state of Minnesota has up to date made a record in handling influenza … like that to the credit of the Hutchinson Seventh-day Adventist Seminary.”
The story identifies major features of the care students were given — practices not widely heard in today’s tips for combating the coronavirus.
A carefully controlled diet.
Continued bed rest for two to four days after the last symptom disappears — determined by the number of days symptoms were present to prevent relapse.
Fomentations applied to the throat, chest and abdomen.
“A controlled diet in a Seventh-day Adventist school is like our hot lunch program at Orcus Christian School,” said Terry Pottle, the schoo’s principal at the time. “It includes a plant-based diet rich in the nutrients that provide optimum health for the immune system as well as the best nourishment for growing children.”
Fomentations are a form of hydrotherapy that can be done at home by using soft wool flannel clothes moist to apply first hot then cold to the torso and throat alternately.
The story concludes with this statement:
“As a result of this system of handling a disease that is scoring thousands of victims every day, there has not been one case that could have been called serious or a single death in the Seminary although there were more than 90 persons affected.
“The record is remarkable. It makes the ordinary methods of dealing with the flu appear irrational.”