Influenza (continued). The public telephone-boxes are veritable incubators for the influenza bacillus whenever this disease is rife. Destitute of fresh air, the germs will linger about the mouthpiece of the telephone for long periods of time, when they would be destroyed in an hour if they were exposed to cold air and sunlight. The moisture which gathers upon the telephone instrument from the condensed breath of a sufferer from influenza contains innumerable germs which will infect newcomers. The only way to safeguard the public health is to have these boxes thoroughly ventilated, and to disinfect them at regular intervals, because the less concentrated the poison the less danger of infection.
In going about one's daily work it is almost impossible to avoid coming in contact with the germs of infection, but the stronger our vitality the more resistant we are. Anyone whose system is not strong, robust, and full of vitality is liable to be infected by the influenza bacillus. It attacks old and young, rich and poor, and even if one has had influenza two months before there is every likelihood of contracting the disease again. Damp, mild weather even, favours the disease, which spreads over whole communities. The only way to escape it is to keep the general health at a high level, avoiding anything which lowers the vitality and induces colds, and guarding against mental and physical fatigue.
A nourishing, but not over abundant, diet is the best. Once the disease is contracted, bed and light diet are the best policy. Hot drinks, especially hot milk, hot gruel, and liquid arrowroot, provide internal heat, and the patient should lie between blankets with plenty of hot bottles around so as to encourage sweating. Any medicines must be ordered by the physician. It is extremely unwise for people to dose themselves with quinine and other so-called anti-influenza drugs, because all these depress the heart's action, which may be a serious matter in influenza. Every care should be taken in convalescence to guard against chill. The danger with most people is that they do not allow sufficient time in which to get well, and either succumb to another illness, or are depressed and seedy for months afterwards. Remember that a relapse after influenza may be more serious than the original disease. Whenever possible, change of scene should be obtained. Fresh air and sunlight are the best tonics in convalescence.