From the opening of College and the S. A. T. C. in September to the beginning of the Christmas recess there were 227 cases of influenza taken care of at the Still man Infirmary. Forty-six of these were complicated by pneumonia. Five died, making the death rate two and one-half per cent, of all the influenza cases and eleven per cent, of the forty-six which were complicated by pneumonia. This is a much lower death rate than has been reported for influenza and pneumonia occurring during the same period at other institutions. The mortality among the influenza-pneumonia cases in some hospitals has been over fifty per cent and many have reported over thirty per cent so that Harvard has been very fortunate not to lose over eleven per cent.
The present situation in this locality in regard to the epidemic of influenza and pneumonia is more hopeful but is still serious. Much can be done toward limiting the spread of influenza if every student will consider it his duty to keep his resistance to the germs of disease as high as possible by careful attention to every detail that makes for increased strength and vigor. Some of these details are:
1. Sufficient sleep, eight to ten hours for most young people.
2. Good food, neither too much nor too little, eaten at regular hours, and sufficient time taken for its thorough mastication.
3. Proper clothing, to keep the body (not forgetting the feet) warm and dry, so far as possible, at all times and under all conditions.
It is believed that influenza is conveyed from person to person through the air common to the respiration of both parties. Simply standing near a person who has influenza while he talks to you is dangerous, and that danger is markedly increased if during the conversation he sneezes or coughs. Sneezing and coughing, and only to a lesser degree talking, convey from the mouth of the infected person minute particles of moisture laden with disease germs which float about in the air and presently you breathe. It may, therefore, readily be appreciated why during an epidemic, it is wise to avoid crowded places like street cars, churches, theatres and movies.
Anyone who feels ill should consult a physician at once. Experience has shown that influenza cases taken care of early generally do well. It is the individual who persists in going about in the endeavor to "fight it off" who is most likely to suffer seriously. Don't pride yourself on "fighting off" things. If you apparently succeed it simply means you were fortunate enough to have only a light touch of it, or more likely that you did not have it at all.