11. The symptoms of Spanish Flu were exceptionally severe
During the first wave of Spanish Flu in Europe and in the United States and Canada, the symptoms were of a severe case of the flu, but as has been seen, not alarmingly so among the young, previously healthy adults. It was the second wave, which almost appeared to target a healthy immune system to overreact, which became deadly. Both waves presented an illness which was highly contagious, but the second wave was both highly contagious and highly dangerous. Within a few hours of exposure, a healthy young adult felt extreme fatigue of muscle and mind. Fever followed, often dangerously high, along with severe headache, muscle aches, stiffness in the neck, and a developing deep cough, often coughing so violently as to tear abdominal muscles or suffer injury to the rib cage.
The victims of the disease developed a bluish tint to the skin, across the entire body, sometimes to such a deep shade of blue that it was no longer possible to identify the original skin color. The color indicated a lack of oxygen. The cough soon produced blood, foaming from the mouth and through the nose and sometimes the ears. Some died within hours of first exhibiting symptoms, others lingered for several days before succumbing to secondary infections, others died from the ministrations of ill-informed physicians or medics. Others survived. The severity of the symptoms, the number of deaths, and the virulence of the flu’s contagion led to disruptions of society which went beyond the treatment of the sick.