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There are many parallels between the scientific communities’ approach to curbing the Spanish Flu in 1918 and coronavirus—namely cover your mouth and stop spitting! What is also eerily similar? The number of companies hawking their products as a cure all for influenza. One shoe company went as far as to claim that their sturdier shoe would protect the wearer from the deadly virus. And while there is no cure for coronavirus, that hasn’t stopped the internet from trying to sell cow urine, colloidal silver, and even oregano as cure alls. It’s where science meets consumerism, and 1918 was just as rife with it. 

Below is some prudent advice—even now—and some not so prudent advice. 

Just stop spitting in general, please. (George Rehse of the New York World)


Honestly, pretty sage advice right there. (Free Library of Philadelphia)


Protecting the most vulnerable since 1918. (U.S. Public Health Service)


At 101 sneezes though it’s time for a wash. (George Rehse of the New York World)


Nothing like some turpentine ointment up the nose to cure all. (Library of Congress)


If you’re lactose intolerant you’re just out of luck. (Library of Congress