Commder David Thompson, who contributed an article in 2013 on the impact of the Spanish influenza pandemic on the U.S. Military effort in the war, has sent us some interesting details on the civilian homefront suffering.
His earlier article on Roads to the Great War can be seen here.
The Spanish Flu in America: the Civilian Impact
|The Killer of 1918: Virus H1N1|
Multiple Polio Outbreaks: 13,000
HIV/AIDS: 658,000 (1981–2012)
Three waves of the flu hit America. The last in the spring of 1919 left far fewer casualties.
Severe cases showed the following development: bodily aches, temperatures spiking at 104 degrees, rapidly developing pneumonia accompanied by cyanosis (a lack of oxygen in the blood turned one's skin bluish-black), and a high probability of death.
The average age of the flu victims was 33.
The Actuarial Society of America determined that the average loss of active life for every flu victim was 25 years.
The flu virus had an incubation period of 24 to 72 hours, meaning that a person who showed no symptoms could pass on the virus.
The flu virus could survive airborne for up to 24 hours. The lower the humidity, the longer the virus lived.
In most cities, the epidemic lasted six to eight weeks. Researchers believe the virus simply ran out of susceptible victims.
Thanks to David Thompson for sending us the December 2006 issue of American History magazine, which contained this information