The Flu: From 1918 to 2018

The Flu: From 1918 to 2018

Andrea Hartley CPhT
Pharmacy Technician / Central Supply Manager
The GRAND of Dublin

fluWe all know the flu virus can be deadly to vulnerable populations, but did you know that in 1918 a worldwide flu outbreak caused illness and deaths in many young and healthy people, as well as those at high risk? This particular strain of the flu became known as the Spanish flu because it was well known that Spain was hit particularly hard, but before the end of the 1918 flu season the virus had spread to every corner of the globe and killed up to 50 million people. The particular strain that caused the 1918 pandemic was of avian origin, as were many of the most deadly flu outbreaks.

The first flu vaccine in America was released in 1940, so at the time of the Spanish flu there was nothing to stop its spread except good hygiene disinfectants and isolation those who fell ill.  Today we not only have a vaccine for the flu, we have diagnostic tests and we have prescription medications to help treat the virus, as well as lessen the symptoms and duration of the illness; some can even be taken to prevent the flu in people who have been exposed to the virus: we have Tamiflu (Oseltamivir) oral capsules and liquid, Relenza (zanamivir) inhalation powder and Rapivab (peravimir) injection.

In 1960 the U.S. Public Health Service first recommended annual flu vaccination for high risk groups. This year the Centers for Disease Control recommend flu vaccination for everyone 6 months or older who do not have contraindications.

So much has changed in the prevention and treatment of the flu in the last 100 years!  At The GRAND of Dublin we offer flu vaccines to all of our employees and residents every autumn, and we still have plenty left this year if you need one during your stay with us.

For more information on the 2018 / 2019 flu season Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.