Some ‘articles’ were advertisements

This notice was run at the top of a page during the 1918 Spanish Influenza epidemic. (The Morning Herald)

Editor’s note: This is second in a series of newspaper articles published in The Leader-Herald during the 1918 pandemic of the Spanish influenza.

Like today’s con artists who are trying to capitalize on the coronavirus, the same was true during the 1918 pandemic. Looking like a feature article printed on Nov. 9, 1918 in The Morning Herald and titled “Spanish influenza rages in U.S. Thousands of cases reported with many deaths” and sub-headlines of “Those who are most susceptible to it — Fruit-A-Tives — The wonderful fruit medicine — greatly helps to resist this disease.”

The “article” reads:

The epidemic of Spanish Influenza which played such havoc in Europe, has reached this continent. Thousands of cases of the strange malady have appeared and many deaths are already reported: Surgeon General Blue of the United States Public Health Service having stated that “Spanish Influenza will probably spread all over the country in six weeks.”

Practically every ship which touches our shores from abroad, brings those infected with the disease.

Surgeon General Blue urges that “the individual take all the precautions he can against contracting the disease by care and personal hygiene.” Plenty of exercise should be taken; the diet should be regulated, etc.

Spanish Influenza affects most severly elderly persons and others whose power of resistance are weakened by illness, work or worry, especially those who are “run down” or “not feeling up to the mark.”

The really great danger from the disease is not so much in the disease itself, as it often develops into pneumonia.

What everyone needs now is a general tonic like “Fruit’a-tives.” This wonderful fruit medicine is not a germ killer. It is a body builder; a strength maker; a blood purifier; a power in protecting against the ravages of the disease.

“Fruit-a-lives” regulates the kidneys and bowels, causing these organs to eliminate waste regularly and naturally as nature intended. “Fruit-a-lives” keeps the skin active, and purifies and enriches the blood. “Fruit-a-lives” tones up and strengthens the organs of digestion, insuring food being properly digested and assimilated.

Everyone can take ordinary precautions, avoided crowded places and use “Fruit-a-lives” regularly to ensure sound digestion, to keep the bowels and kidneys regular and the whole system in the best possible condition. Then we are safe from the disease.

“Fruit-a-lives” is sold by dealers everywhere at 50 [cents] a box, six for $2.50, trial size 25 [cents] or sent postpaid on receipt of the price by FRUIT-A-LIVES Limited, OGDENSBURG, N.Y.

The situation is


On Oct. 12, 1918, the following article appeared:

Health Officer Johnson applies closing rule to soda fountains and ice cream parlors

Yesterday in a further effort to stamp out the epidemic of influenza in Gloversville, Health Officer Johnson took a step that has been taken in several other cities where the disease has prevailed and announced that he had closed all ice cream parlors and soda fountains and they would not be reopened until the epidemic has displayed some signs of abatement. As it is there is little information that is practical or helpful to the health authorities. The physicians are having all they can do to make calls demanded of them and as a matter of fact they have no time to prepare reports that might be helpful and a great source of information to Health Officer Johnson.

New cases are reported daily and there are some deaths daily, but there is really no need for alarm or hysteria. The conditions call for sane and safe precautions on the part of those not afflicted and if everyone only takes the safe course to keep from catching the influenza and the precaution to call a physician as soon as they have taken too their beds, the epidemic will in time be adequately checked.

Health Officer Johnson recommends the following treatment as a preventative for the Spanish influenza: Heat a quart of water to a steaming point and stir in thirty drops of oil of eucalyptus. Hold the head over the steam and inhale it for two or three minutes. During the process place a good sized towel over the head to hold the steam. The steam should be breathed into the throat and mouth. Remain indoors for sometime following the operation. Any person having symptoms of influenza should repeat this operation twice a day, morning and evening. Breath slowly while inhaling the steam. This treatment is soothing and non-irritating and is an effective means of preventing the spread of the epidemic. It should be borne in mind this is not a cure — it is a prophylactic treatment to be resorted to while awaiting the arrival of a physician.

Dr. Johnson stated last night that he noted neither abatement or increase in the number of cases, the situation is unchanged.

The above announcement that visitors would be excluded from the Nathan Littauer hospital was issued last evening by Mrs. Josephine H. Combs, the superintendent, who stated that the imposition of such a rule was an absolute necessity to facilitate the work of that institution.

Churches to remain closed

After conferring with Health Officer Johnson and acting in harmony with his recommendations, the Gloversville Ministers’ association has unanimously voted in favor of keeping the churches closed tomorrow and until local conditions show material improvement.

This action on part of the Ministers’ association makes it unnecessary for the health authorities to issue a mandatory order and indicates that there is the most cordial cooperation between the pastors and the official guardians of the public health. The vote of the association is, of course, only advisory in character, but it is expected that it will be accepted by all the churches as an expression of wholesome public spirit.

By Josh Bovee

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