The Strange Case of William Henry Harrison

We’ve all heard the story that WHR gave a 105-minute inaugural speech, in the cold, and as a result caught a cold which developed into pneumonia.

Is that still the accepted story?

You don’t catch a cold from being cold, and I would think it’s pretty rare that a cold causes pneumonia.

(I say “causes pneumonia” because I’m under the impression that pneumonia is not specifically a disease, but a fluid build-up that might me caused by any number of reasons.)

(And I don’t think the CIA, Mafia, Right Wing, Military-Industrial Complex, or the Cubans were behind it–I just wonder if the medical community might have reevaluated it in the intervening 150-odd years.)

Harrison was 68 years old when he was inaugurated, and he didn’t wear a coat as he droned on and on for two hours. And he had been a medical student! At his age, in 1841, he would be quite susceptible to pneumonia, which at that time was one of the ten deadliest diseases in the United States.

My nearest source (which is from that period) claims he got a “severe cold” which “grew worse, and he was attacked with a severe chill, followed by a fever. This again was followed by a bilious pleurisy,” whatever that is, “which, on the fourth of April, terminated his life.”
He was President for exactly one month, and was sick every day of it.

I see MDs and the sort making such silly statements from time to time.

Do you find yourself in an auto accident because the other car sought to be a Point X. . .or you sought to be there with your car?

I don’t think anyone denies viruses are needed for a cold to start, but viruses are around all the time (outside of maybe Antarctica), and colds only start once in awhile – when something lowers your immunological resistance to them. One such something is a decrease in ambient temperature. So, what is the cause in such case, and what is the enabling condition? There’s no difference. MDs are just not very bright people. . .so what’s the excuse of the rest of us?

Ray (Bullets don’t kill people; it’s those darn people putting themselves in front of bullets that do the job.)

Who’s William Henry Harrison?

“So what you are telling me, Percy, is that something you have never seen is slightly less blue than something else that you have never seen.”

William Henry Harrison was the ninth President of these United States.

From Merriam Webster:

Main Entry: pneu·mo·nia
Pronunciation: nu-'mO-ny&, nyu-
Function: noun
Etymology: New Latin, from Greek, from pneumOn lung, alteration of pleumOn – more at PULMONARY
Date: 1603
: a disease of the lungs characterized by inflammation and consolidation followed by resolution and caused by infection or irritants