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Tuesday, August 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Nurse suggests onion poultice to ward off flu

 (Jonathan Brunt / The Spokesman-Review)
(Jonathan Brunt / The Spokesman-Review)

The local head of the Red Cross nurse’s aid department offered up one anti-flu remedy: an onion poultice.

Mrs. Ben Kizer said that an onion poultice – combined with common sense in determining when the flu slipped into pneumonia – had saved more than one local family.

She also said that the Red Cross was in desperate need of workers, trained or untrained, to fight the epidemic. Communities throughout the region were calling, in vain, for more doctors and nurses.

Meanwhile, one group of nonmedical volunteers had stepped up: teachers. Schools had been closed for weeks, so teachers were volunteering to go into homes and help care for flu victims. Mrs. Kizer cited one instance in which two teachers went into a home and took care of a mother with a 5-day-old baby.

“(The teachers) declared that the amount of confidence the mother reposed in them was remarkable and they said they knew that any member of the family would cheerfully have attempted to jump over the moon for them if they had ordered it.”

From the war beat: Talk of armistice was in the air, but this must have been little consolation to Mrs. Dora Meyboom of Spokane. She learned that one of her five soldier sons had fallen in the field of battle.

She was informed of the death of George H. Martin, the first of her sons to enter the army. No details of his death were provided, except that it occurred in a battle nearly a month earlier.

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