Health & Wellness

Lorane’s history includes Spanish flu epidemic

Let’s address the elephant in the room – the Coronavirus pandemic and how it is affecting us in our part of the world. Whether we live in urban areas, in small towns or rural areas, our lifestyles and daily routines are being turned upside down. Up until this past week, we have been trying to figure out how all of the dire predictions about this new flu virus will affect us. We haven’t truly known what to believe or think, and some began hoarding vital necessities that we all need. Others scoffed about how there was no need to panic, that surely it was no worse than the regular flu that we try to avoid each year.
This past week, however, it’s been made clear to us that our lives are going to have to be put on hold for an indeterminate amount of time if we are to avoid what could be tragic consequences. Many of us are vulnerable to the effects of this new virus – senior citizens, particularly those with medical issues and weakened immune systems.
Jim and I are both in the first category, and Jim, as a diabetic and a recent surgical patient, puts him in the other one. It’s now apparent that we need to stay out of crowds and places where we could be exposed to the virus. But we also have a store to run – a responsibility to our community to try and keep as much on hand as possible so the people of Lorane don’t have to make trips to town for needed items.
We’ll order as much as possible from vendors who deliver, but much of our merchandise has always come from Winco, SmartFoods, Costco and Walmart. Our family is working out a plan on keeping a list of things the store and each of us needs and when one of us goes in, we will buy for our whole group.
I understand that other groups in our area are doing the same type of thing, organizing phone trees and other communication so that they can help each other and save trips to town by sharing and joining together. One of those groups in particular is on Simonsen Road. They are working out a plan together to figure out how to help each other. Good stuff!
We haven’t been faced with this type of a world-wide epidemic since the Spanish flu epidemics of 1918 and ’22. While researching my history of Lorane, I ran across how we lost our own people in that epidemic. Here is what I wrote about it in “From Sawdust and Cider to Wine” …
“In 1918 and 1922, the Lorane community experienced a flu epidemic along with the rest of the country. Many were taken sick and several, including Edith Counts” (Lloyd Counts’ mother), “and two Thompson children, died. During the time when homes were quarantined, food was brought to the homes by volunteers and placed on the porches for those inside.
“A popular means of warding off cold and flu germs during the early 20th century was the practice of both children and adults wearing asafetida bags on a cord around their necks. These cloth bags contained asafetida, a foul smelling substance obtained from a plant related to the carrot family. It was believed that it protected humans from not only cold germs, but spasms, too. And, I imagine, it protected against other people and animals getting too close, as well …”
Asafetida bags are no longer in use, thank goodness, so we all need to protect ourselves from the virus in today’s world.
Above all, don’t hoard! Have products you need on hand, but don’t buy more than you think you’ll need for a couple of weeks at a time. Others need these products, too, and if we can’t all be protected, we will all be more vulnerable.
Let’s join together and help each other work out a system that will allow all of us to be as safe as possible. We can do this!
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