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Asian Flue Pandemic 1957

(40 Posts)
semperfidelis Fri 17-Apr-20 10:39:47

There must be some of us who remember the Asian Flue Pandemic of 1957. I do. There were six of us in the family and five of us caught it. My father had it quite badly. I remember there was quite a serious atmosphere in the house but no one panicked. There was no self isolation, shops, businesses and schools remained open. I realise this virus based pandemic is different, but there is still a tiny voice within me wondering whether the future effects of current policies will be disastrous for our Nation.

Oopsadaisy3 Fri 17-Apr-20 10:46:25

In 1968 we bought our first car together, it had been stored in a lady’s garage since the death of her husband from Asian flu. She always kept it polished and the battery on charge. He wasn’t that old, in his 50s I think.
In retrospect we shouldn’t have touched it with a barge pole, blasted thing never worked and was always stranding us in the middle nowhere.

Grandma70s Fri 17-Apr-20 10:56:17

I remember it. I was still at school, doing my A levels. I got it quite late in the epidemic when I thought I was going to escape it. Nobody else in my family had it, as far as I remember.

Eglantine21 Fri 17-Apr-20 10:58:10

There was very little that could be done medically. You caught it or you didn’t, your body overcame it or it didn’t. There was nothing available in hospital (like breathing aids, feeding drips) that couldn’t be given at home.

If you were orphaned, as I was, you hoped someone would take you in.

The support systems we have now were not in place. Nobody expected them to be.

aggie Fri 17-Apr-20 11:05:49

I was a Physio student ,just started the course , we had a 3 week intensive tutorial on chest therapy and we were on the wards ! I didn’t get it , no masks , no gowns and most of the staff smoked like chimneys .
Straight home on the train to the family every night , the only hygiene was that we were not allowed to wear our uniform off hospital grounds
I had arms like a wrestler after lifting patients and doing percussion to get phlegm moving
I wonder what the mortality rate was then ?

Teetime Fri 17-Apr-20 11:18:41

My lovely Grandma died in the Asian Flu pandemic - she was 63. She was very much weakened by a life time of poverty, having borne 9 children , 4 of whom died in childhood and suffering what we now know as PTSD from being in the East End of London during the Blitz.

Gossamerbeynon1945 Fri 17-Apr-20 11:18:58

I had Asian Flu in 1957. Second year in Grammar School.

fiorentina51 Fri 17-Apr-20 11:19:16

I don't remember it as I was only 6 at the time but I do remember the 1968,69,70 pandemic. I'd just left school at had started training as a dispenser at Boots Chemists. Needless to say I caught it and passed it on to my immediate family.

I don't recall any particularly stringent measures being imposed other than the elderly were advised to stay at home. By the time it reappeared in 1970, a vaccine had been developed and the Boots company provided one for each member of staff.
I recall long queues at the prescription desk that stretched out of the shop door and almost every script had the same items written. Most involving the alleviation of coughs.
The NHS was swamped and according to my friend who was a nurse at the time, the porters at the hospital where she worked were constantly going between the wards and the ICU, collecting bodies.
Over 30,000 people died in the UK though recent computer modelling suggests a much higher figure in the region of 80,000 could be nearer the mark.
I do get cross with some news reporters who say this current pandemic is "unprecedented in living memory." I'm very much alive!

fiorentina51 Fri 17-Apr-20 11:23:21

This link might be of interest.

GrannySomerset Fri 17-Apr-20 11:29:55

I was at secondary school and at one point over half the pupils and staff were off. I was very unwell for several days but as the child of a working mother was soon back at school, doubtless sharing my germs with those who hadn’t had it. You either got better or you didn’t.

suziewoozie Fri 17-Apr-20 11:34:13

I was 10 and was very very ill with it. I think the death toll here was 14,000 with no social distancing etc. It’s been estimated that with CV, hundreds of thousands would have died if measured had not been put in place.

Tigerdove Fri 17-Apr-20 12:15:01

I was 21 during this epidemic and it was nothing like this one. I only knew one person who got it; she went into a well known maternity hospital to have her baby and got the flu in hospital and both her and the baby died, she was 21. Everybody just carried on as normal. Asian flu was during the winter of 57/58 and the miners went on strike so there was a coal shortage; remember few people had central heating so you were hit two ways either lack of heating and also air pollution from the factories that were working.

grandMattie Fri 17-Apr-20 12:23:06

I remember it vaguely. Both my parents and the three of us were all in bed at the same time. The servants were all ill - 3rd world island - mum would get up and make soup in a pressure cooker, that we’d crawl out of bed and eat in their room.
I do remember the 1968 Hong Kong flu which was viscous, but didn’t get it.

M0nica Fri 17-Apr-20 12:31:28

I was at boarding school with my sister. As more and more children got ill, domitories kept getting turned into extentions of the sanatorium and DS and I kept moving to nicer and nicer dorms. Finally with more and more teachers falling ill, the school was closed for a fortnight.

We went home to an army camp where again soldiers were falling ill, day on day. Not one of my family, parents and three children, caught the flu, in fact I do not think any of us has ever had flu.

The mother of one girl in my class died of it.

EllanVannin Fri 17-Apr-20 13:59:50

Yes I remember it. I was in the thick of it working on a hospital ward doing my cadet training. Many died. I was 17 at the time.

spottybook Fri 17-Apr-20 15:34:53

I too had Asian flu. I remember sitting in the doctor's surgery with my Mum and a friend from my class at school came in with her Mum. My friend and I were both diagnosed, age 6. Neither of my parents or grandparents (who lived next door) got it and I am sure life in a heavy industrial Midland's town carried on as normal. No-one could have afforded to have time off let alone being furloughed by the government not so long after the war!

AGAA4 Fri 17-Apr-20 16:07:11

I had it aged 11. I was very ill with it. I remember my mum sleeping in the next bed (usually occupied by my sister) for 5 days as she must have known how serious it was. I knew nothing about it but I would think everyone of that age now knows about Covid.
Were people as worried in those days? Life just went on as usual

moggie57 Fri 17-Apr-20 16:10:02

who remembers the flu virus 2017-2018 .this killed over 50.000 people ...why no fuss then .? i had the flu then badly...but i got over it in about two weeks.

Fennel Fri 17-Apr-20 16:24:23

I had it too - I had just started a job and was living in 'digs'.
I have vague memories of going back home and being nursed by my Mum. She had to keep changing the sheets because I was sweating so much.
I don't think people moved around the world so much in those, apart from people like you M0nica, whose father was in the Armed Forces.

JenniferEccles Fri 17-Apr-20 16:44:36

I am too young to remember it but I also have a small voice inside me re. this severe lockdown and what the future holds for the world’s economy.

Chestnut Fri 17-Apr-20 17:09:05

I was 7 and my mother wrote there were 15 out of 35 children in my class off with the 'flu. I think she had it too, but can't see a mention of me having it! I was poorly a lot though, what with an open fire and the London smog etc. I also had measles. It was a miserable winter, I spent all my time reading and drawing. No television of course.

EllanVannin Fri 17-Apr-20 17:27:55

I became ill with Asian 'flu but fortunately didn't contract pneumonia as was happening because I was protected by having had a BCG previously because of tuberculosis being present.

EllanVannin Fri 17-Apr-20 17:29:16

I don't know why BCG's aren't performed to protect the lungs during this present pandemic.

Chestnut Fri 17-Apr-20 17:39:51

They are saying that it appears BCG immunisations do give some level of protection from corona. I think there will be a lot of analysis over time, as to what protects you and what makes you more susceptible, but it's early days yet.

BlueBelle Fri 17-Apr-20 17:50:21

I was 12 but don’t have any memories of anyone I knew having it I wonder if small towns were less affected than cities or maybe I ve just got a bad memory but I meet up with a lot of the people I was in school with and we re all still here