1918 epidemic found new use for flasks

“The social impact of the [1918 flu] epidemic extended well beyond medical masks.

“According to the [Asheville Citizen], the health scare led to the reemergence of flasks, despite the state’s 1908 referendum on Prohibition.  Rather than nipping on whiskey, owners now carried mouthwash in the containers. ‘[I]t’s easier to practice oral hygiene when the disinfectant comes from the receptacle which formerly held … Scotch,’ the paper observed.”

— From “The 1918 influenza changes social norms” by Thomas Calder in Mountain Xpress (Oct. 31)

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