The silver lining to these childhood diseases: moms typically loosened up on house rules and allowed ginger ale and cinnamon toast in bed.
Who can forget when Beth March in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women contracted scarlet fever? Before she died from the disease, which causes throat infection and rash, she set down her “heavy” sewing needle. Today antibiotics can kill the bacteria that causes the disease and its complications, including rheumatic fever. Weeping here in the 1933 film based on the book, the March women are (from left) Katharine Hepburn (Jo), Spring Byington (Marmee), Jean Parker (Beth, before her untimely demise), Joan Bennett (Amy), and France Dee (Meg).
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