No doubt, coffee has the ability to sort out some of the physical ailments that nature throws our way, but this small notice from a 1919 Stars & Stripes told the story of one U.S. Army Colonel who felt so helpless upon seeing such a high number of sickly army men come ashore in France, he was moved to do the only thing that he could within his power - which was the offering of unlimited quantities of hot coffee. How real was coffee as a preventative measure in the face of influenza? The good colonel was on to something - it wasn't the java that made an impact, it was the heat - viruses die when exposed to high temperatures.
A more thorough article about Influenza can be read here.
Click here to read about the earliest use of face masks to combat airborne disease.