History doesn’t necessarily repeat itself, but it often rhymes, observes the crew at Open Culture in recounting Japanese efforts during the Spanish flu epidemic to quell the disease. The article on the Open Culture website — Japanese Health Manual Created During the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic Offers Timeless Wisdom: Stay Away from Others, Cover Your Mouth and Nose, and More — offers a fascinating look at how little has changed in more than 100 years.
Reproductions of health information posters on the Open Culture site are worth a click through by themselves. The posters were part of Japan’s Central Sanitary Bureau’s plan to educate the public. Its 455-page manual detailed symptoms and prescriptions, and suggested four rules to avoid contracting the virus that will sound familiar to readers today.