The Flu & Pandemics: Surprising Little-Known Facts
Historically speaking, the world has been hit by numerous pandemics and flu outbreaks with disastrous consequences. In our lifetime, the pandemic has disrupted our daily lives, that is for sure! But history is rife with similar outbreaks that killed millions. Over the centuries and millennia, pandemics have been caused due to influenza, Ebola, and other deadly viruses.
Here, we will explore some surprising facts about pandemics and cases of flu that you probably did not know before. So, sit back, and let’s dive into the fascinating world of pandemics and cases of flu.
The Flu Is More Prevalent in the Fall & Winter Seasons
According to the CDC & Prevention, the peak flu season usually starts in October. And lasts through March. But why this pattern?
Research explains that the flu virus thrives better in cold and dry air, which is usually the case during the fall and winter months in some parts of the world.
The 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic Was the Deadliest in History
Next up: The 1918 Spanish flu is believed to have infected 500 million people. At the time, it was a third of the world’s population, and sadly, about 50 million people lost their lives.
Thus, the Spanish flu was caused by an H1N1 virus and was different from the seasonal flu. The Spanish flu resulted in higher fatalities among young adults with strong immune systems.
Flu Vaccines Are NOT 100% Effective
Despite the tremendous successes of vaccines, flu vaccines are not 100% effective in preventing flu infections. Viruses evolve and change year to year, limiting the vaccine’s effectiveness level.
However, researchers are continuously working to develop more effective vaccines that will cover a broader range of flu viruses.
Pandemics Have a Significant Impact on Global Economies
Next up: Pandemics are known for causing social and economic disruptions, and this has been evident from the COVID-19 outbreak. During the Spanish flu, businesses shut down, and people had to resort to shopping via mail-order catalogs.
Similarly, in the 14th century, the European economy was plagued by the bubonic plague, which killed about 25 million people at the time.
Historically Speaking, Masks Have Been Used to Prevent Infections
Mask-wearing has become the norm worldwide in recent times. But its usage to prevent infection is not a new phenomenon. During the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, people in many regions worldwide wore masks to prevent the virus’s transmission.
Similarly, masks were used during the outbreak of the bubonic plague in Europe in the 14th century.
Pandemics Have a Long-lasting Impact on Mental Health
Next up: Pandemics can cause severe mental health problems. Fear, physical isolation, and stress have been linked to all mental illnesses, especially in people who have experienced pandemics.
According to research, people who contracted SARS or had been quarantined during COVID-19 had higher levels of PTSD symptoms.
Many Pandemics Start From Animals!
Most pandemics have been linked to viruses that were initially found in animals. For instance, the 2009 swine flu was caused by an H1N1 virus initially found in pigs.
Similarly, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014 was likely caused by wild, infected animals such as fruit bats, which were eaten frequently in the region.
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