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These Pictures Show How People Avoided Getting Sick In The Past

In the early 20th century, infectious diseases such as typhus, tuberculosis, polio, and influenza were widespread and the means to control these outbreaks were often rudimentary.

Posted on February 5, 2020, at 5:10 p.m. ET

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Immigrant children are examined by a New York City health officer upon arrival from Ellis Island during the typhus scare in 1911.

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Left: A poster urges citizens to not to spit in order to prevent the spread of tuberculosis, circa 1910. Right: An advertisement for the "Sanitas Fumigator for the Treatment of Influenza and Other Lung and Throat Infections," 1897.

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British soldiers drain marshes during WWI at the Salonika front to prevent malaria, 1917.

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A yellow fever patient rests inside a portable isolation cage during the construction of the Panama Canal, Panama, 1910.

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A queue of children waiting for the distribution of flu inoculations in London, 1922.

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A child with polio gets fresh air beside a warning sign for the rest of the community, 1900.

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A crowd of mothers with their children board trains out of New York City to escape the polio epidemic of 1916.

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Women apply a mosquito net over a baby to protect them from malaria, 1926.

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A Department of Agriculture employee fits a cow with a canvas bloomer to catch ticks that are thought to be involved in an infectious parasitic disease called anaplasmosis, in Washington DC, circa 1929.

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Boys wear bags of camphor around their necks in the hope of escaping the flu, 1917.

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Professor Bordier of the University of Lyons in France demonstrates his invention, which he claims has the ability to cure colds in a few minutes, 1928.

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A patient wears a mask during the Spanish flu epidemic, 1919.

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A man sprays the floor of an open-top bus in London with an anti-flu spray, 1920.

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Left: A traffic police officer in New York City wears a gauze mask for protection against influenza, 1918. Right: A New York street cleaner wears a mask to prevent the flu, 1918.

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Baseball players wear masks during the Spanish flu epidemic, 1918.

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A man sprays down an automobile in Hertfordshire, England, in an attempt to contain the spread of hand, foot, and mouth disease, 1933.

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A man is inoculated against the flu in London, 1922.

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Left: A baby wears a sign around its neck asking people not to kiss them in order to try to avoid catching the flu, 1939. Right: A woman pushes a baby stroller with a warning sign in Margate, England, circa 1930.

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A couple wears antiseptic masks in London to protect against the flu, circa 1930.

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Two actors spray their throats with an antiseptic as a precaution against the flu, 1937.

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Salespeople in London wear masks to protect themselves from the flu, circa 1930.

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Left: A Hollywood couple films a kiss with protective masks during a flu epidemic in 1937. Right: Naval officer W.P. Briggs demonstrates a newly developed mask to prevent infections of the lungs, 1936.

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Actor Molly Lamont receives her orange rations at Elstree Studios in London, 1940.

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British sailors gargle in formation to prevent the flu, 1933.


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