8. Spanish Flu did not originate in Spain
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, a theory emerged that the Spanish Flu originated in a military encampment in the United States in 1918. The theory did not take into account the existence of the virus in Europe before then. Wartime censorship prevented correspondents from reporting the virulence of the flu which struck military marshalling camps in northern France. Wartime censorship did not affect neutral Spain, where the flu appeared in late 1917, and reports of its rapid spread and formidable nature led to it being called the Spanish Flu. Although reports of the illness in Spain appeared around the world, the belligerents in the war kept the ravages of the disease a wartime secret.
With little in the way of acceptable treatment of the symptoms, doctors around the world turned to aspirin, a medicine first marketed (and patented) by Bayer in 1899. In 1917 the patents expired, and other chemical companies were free to market the drug. In the United States, the Surgeon General recommended liberal doses of aspirin to treat the symptoms, and doctors throughout the country recommended doses of up to 30 grams per day. Today more than 4 grams per day is considered toxic. Aspirin poisoning causes the buildup of fluid in the lungs, one of the prime causes people would succumb to the illness during the crisis. Another common symptom of the Spanish Flu, hyperventilation, is also caused by aspirin poisoning.