Page 13 - The 'X' Chronicles Newspaper - April/May 2020 Edition
P. 13

What People Used Before Toilet Paper                                                                                        13






        Everything we know about

         coronavirus immunity and

          antibodies — and plenty

                    we still don’t



                 Continued from Page 11




        I’ve heard reports of reinfection or
        “reactivated” virus.  What’s going on
        there?


        Health officials in some countries have said
        they’ve seen examples of people recovering
        from Covid-19 only to test positive for the virus
        again — what they’ve taken to calling
        “reactivation,” to differentiate it from a second
        infection.

        But experts are skeptical that either is occurring.


        While no possibility can be eliminated at this
        early stage of the outbreak, they say that there
        are more likely explanations for a positive                                                       inscribed on it. The same shards would often be
        diagnostic test coming after a negative test.    Shared sponges on sticks
                                                                                                          used as a means of voting people out of towns
                                                         Privacy and proper sanitation were scarce        based on whose names were written on it. While
        For one:  The tests used to diagnose Covid-19
                                                         luxuries in the ancient Romans’ public           the ancient Greeks didn’t have to worry about
        look for snippets of the virus’ genome, its RNA.
                                                         restrooms. Their outdoor communal restrooms,     the same modern-day plumbing issues that we
        But what they can’t tell you is if what they’re
                                                         called “latrines,” had no dividing walls, and    do, like trying to figure out which toilet paper is
        finding is evidence of “live” virus, meaning
                                                         people’s cleaning methods would certainly not    the best (and the worst) for your pipes, it’s likely
        infectious virus. Once a person fights off a virus,
                                                         hold up to sanitation standards today. Each      that regularly using such abrasive objects often
        viral particles tend to linger for some time.
                                                         individual would use the same communal           led to irritation.
        These cannot cause infections, but they can
                                                         cleansing sponge that was attached to the end of
        trigger a positive test.  The levels of these
        particles can fluctuate, which explains how a test  a long stick, also called a tersorium. To clean the Dried corncobs
                                                         sponge after use, it would sit in a container filled
        could come back positive after a negative test.
                                                         with saltwater or vinegar. In addition to being  When they arrived in colonial  America, the
        But it does not mean the virus has become
                                                         exposed to an unsettling amount of bacteria on   British had to get creative with their personal
        active, or infectious, again.
                                                         that communal sponge, the Romans had to          hygiene choices. First, they used dried corncobs
                                                         worry about spontaneous hydrogen sulfide and     as their form of toilet paper.  Then, as
        And two: the diagnostic tests typically rely on
                                                         methane flames exploding from beneath them       newspapers and catalogs started being circulated
        patient samples pulled from way back in their
                                                         while using the toilet. If you find that         in the late 18th and 19th centuries, many
        nasal passages. Collecting that specimen is not
                                                         fascinating, here are another 100 interesting    Americans began using pages from the Farmers’
        foolproof. Testing a sample that was improperly
                                                         facts about practically everything.              Almanac and the Sears, Roebuck and Company
        collected could lead to a negative test even if the
        person has the virus. If that patient then gets                                                   catalog. Fun fact: Manufacturers often created
                                                         Personal-hygiene sticks and extra-               holes in the corners of their papers so they could
        another test, it might accurately show they have
        the virus.                                       large scented paper                              be easily hung and used in outhouses.  While
                                                                                                          we’re talking about hanging toilet paper, you’ve
                                                                                                          probably been hanging yours in the wrong
        As Jana Broadhurst, the director of the Nebraska The Silk Road, a network of ancient travel and
        Biocontainment Unit’s clinical laboratory, said, trade, had many of its own latrines scattered    direction all along.
        “garbage in, garbage out.”                       throughout Ancient Asia. In fact, archaeologists
                                                         discovered “personal hygiene sticks” in one that  Medicated paper
                                                         was located on the outskirts of the Tamrin Basin,
                                                         believed to date back to the Han Dynasty around  Finally, in 1857, Joseph Gayetty started to
         This Is What People Used                        2,000 years ago. The sticks were crafted out of  manufacture his own “medicated paper,” which
                                                         bamboo, with one end of it wrapped in fabric for  he made out of hemp and aloe vera. This not-so-
               Before Toilet Paper                       wiping. Things eventually evolved, though. The   painful alternative inspired others to try to sell

                         Existed                         first documented use of toilet paper was in 6th  their own versions, such as the Hoberg Paper
                                                         century China. In 1391, a Chinese emperor        Company of Green Bay, which was later
                                                         ordered the production of two-by-three-foot      renamed as Charmin. Many companies
                      by Brittany Gibson                                                                  experimented with different colors, but here’s
                                                         scented sheets of paper that he and his family
                                                         used in the restroom.                            why most ultimately decided to go with the
        Toilet paper is selling out quicker than ever                                                     bright white toilet paper we know and love
        before, and as we scramble to find it in stores,
                                                         Stones and ceramic                               today. []
        we’re left wondering:  What did people do
        without it in the first place?  While we’re
                                                         The  Ancient Greeks used harsher methods to                   THANK YOU
        definitely not suggesting that you resort to these
                                                         maintain hygiene: stones, called pessoi, and
        options, here are some personal hygiene items                                                           FIRST RESPONDERS
                                                         ceramic pottery shards, called ostraka.
        that our ancestors used before commercially                                                             AND ALL ESSENTIAL
                                                         Sometimes, as a form of vengeance, the broken
        produced toilet paper hit the markets in 1857.
                                                         shards would have the names of enemies                         WORKERS
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