June 20, 1912
“Dangers of Spitting,” read the headline to an article published in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper. “’Ninety per cent of our consumption,’ says the North Carolina State Board of Health, ‘comes from careless coughing, spitting and sneezing,’ particularly on the part of the consumptive, but also from people who are apparently healthy… ‘Spit is frequently laden with deadly disease germs, particularly that of consumptives,” reported this front-page feature item. Continued the story, in graphic detail, “’(w)hen one coughs, spits, or sneezes, a great multitude of tiny drops of spittle are violently expelled from the mouth and nose. The largest of these drops can be readily seen. A large number of smaller droplets can be found if a mirror or a piece of glass is held before the face when coughing or sneezing.” The story reported that, “scientists have found that when a man coughs, spits, or sneezes in a large hall or room where the air is quiet, these tiny, invisible germ laden droplets will float in the air for a distance of 25 to 100 feet.” The description in the local newspaper was included, it seems, as an endeavor to curb the spread of tuberculosis (or, “consumption,” as it was then known) by encouraging awareness of the spread of airborne pathogens via incautious spitting, sneezing, and other habits, of which the feature observed, “such conduct is at least impolite.” Concluded the piece, “it is dangerous to the public at large to have careless people actually coughing, sneezing, spitting germ-laden matter into their faces even if it is invisible and in the form of fine mist.”
June 17, 1943
“Parole Officers Conference to be Held in Boone,” announced a headline in this week’s edition. “The Southern States Probation and Parole Officers Conference, bringing together delegates from 12 states, will meet at Appalachian College on July 5th to 10th, with no less than 75 delegates present for the sessions,” reported the Democrat. The article noted that, “the last similar conference was held in Atlanta in 1941, and the convention was made possible by Dr. B.B. Dougherty, President of Appalachian College, who is offering facilities of the institution for the delegation.” Reporting on local involvement in this regional gathering, the piece noted that the “Directors of the Chamber of Commerce and Merchants Association, it is said, will meet in the near future to plan a welcoming program.”
“Bandage Room Opens,” announced another heading in this week’s paper. “A Red Cross bandage room was opened at Aho last Friday, and much interest in being shown by the people there in that work. Fifteen persons were on hand to work when the room was opened.” Such centers were set up across the nation to prepare first aid supplies for use in treating wounded soldiers on the war front in World War II.
In related news, “Axis Invasion Jitters Spurred by Allied Moves” relayed this week that, “(t)he spotlight of the Mediterranean war shifted dramatically today from the center to the east,” as “unofficial observers said the first implication was that the British ninth and tenth armies and U.S. troops that have been training quietly and building up strength for months in Syria, Palestine, Iraq and Iran might be on the move,” threatening the Axis’ “Fortress Europe” from yet another direction, as the tide of war began to turn against Germany and Italy.