Many diseases of the past hit communities harder than today

We all should be aware of the west Nile virus mosquito infestation and guard against the possibility of being bitten by the critters. I don't move too fast these days and know I can't outrun the pesky varmints. So I wear a deet product when I play in the garden.

I'm mentioning this subject because now-a-days there are only a few things we can be infected or affected by that can't be dealt with and cured. Through modern medicine all those horrid diseases the pioneers had to deal with are almost a thing of the past. Even most of the childhood ailments are not thought of as being dangerous. Being long of tooth, I had to suffer through almost all the childhood diseases; chicken pox, measles, mumps, whooping cough, and rheumatic fever. By the time I had all these things, medication for them was somewhat better than in the pioneer days.

Emma Nevada Barton Loftus had to deal with some of the diseases you never hear of any more. Her first husband and first child died in 1895 of scarlet fever. Her second born and she survived. Chester Barton, her surviving son, was the light of her life.

Emma wrote in her diaries about the diseases folks around Dayton suffered from. Consumption, better known as tuberculosis, was common among the people in Dayton. Cancer was another, although most cancer patients in those days were thought to surely die because there wasn't any treatment for the dreaded disease.

There was a typhoid outbreak in Lyon County in the 1930's. Everyone in Dayton who didn't have it was given shots to prevent it. However, there were a large amount of folks in Dayton and surrounding areas who had the fever. Chester Barton was hospitalized in Reno from January to May with it. Emma and Chester's wife, Helen spent a lot of time going to Reno to visit him and the other people from Dayton who had survived. It kept the two hospitals in Reno very busy during the outbreak. There were a lot of people who didn't survive. Now you only hear of typhoid fever in Third World countries where sanitation is not up to par.

Emma also reported about a few cases of malaria in Dayton. So you see we have a lot to be thankful for since modern medicine has alleviated almost all those pesky diseases that killed a lot of us in the old days. Tuberculosis has reared its ugly head again and is stronger than before. We must be aware of how important it is to be up to date on all our vaccinations to prevent outbreaks of dreaded illnesses.

REMEMBER Ð Support the rummage sale Saturday and Sunday at the Carson/Colorado Depot Station at the corner of Highway 50East and Main Street in Dayton!

The Historical Society of Dayton Valley has a NEW MEETING TIME AND LOCATION. New time: 12:30-1:45 p.m. New Location: Lyon County Library Ð Dayton Branch Conference Room; 321 Old Dayton Valley Road. We will continue to meet there the 3rd Wednesday each month. All are welcome.

The Dayton Museum is located on Shady Lane and Logan in Old Town Dayton. Hours: Sat 10-4 & Sun 1-4. The web site is• Ruby McFarland has lived in Dayton since October 1987, she serves as a board member of the Dayton historical society and a docent at the museum.


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