Elizabethan Era: Diseases and medicines

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In Elizabethan times there were many diseases. Including cholera, typhus, the deadly black plague, and many more. One of histories most deadly killers, cholera, was caused by mostly by bad sanitation. When someone swallowed food or water contaminated by the feces of the victim, the become infected. Any contact with bathroom, clothing, or bedding that was used by the victim is also another way to become infected. Symptoms include extreme diarrhea, sharp muscle cramps, and fever and vomiting. Cholera is rapid acting and death occurs 12-48 hours of infection. Cholera had no medicines to cure it.

And in the 19th cholera became the first global disease in a series of epidemics. The typhus fever was another disease caused by bad sanitation. This disease was transmitted through the lice that live off humans. It was a highly contagious disease that earned nicknames like “jail fever” and “ship fever” because it was most common among men in a secluded area. Dysentery left it’s mark in history due to it’s painful diarrhea. This disease was often referred to as an army’s “Fifth Column” It came in many forms and was a cause in the extinction of the Crusaders.

The most feared killer disease of all is known as the plague or black death. The plague was spread by bites of fleas. The plague infected rodents and humans mostly and was spread through one another. The black death was responsible for killing more than half the population of England. Many of the survivors were slaves that worked in stables. The reason most of them survived is because the fleas could not stand the smell of horses and since people bathed once a month; they carried the smell with them everywhere. But unfortunately people didn’t know this and many died.

Symptoms developed 1 to 8 days after infection and included high fever, rapid pulse, headache, body aches, and general weakness. The plague left a huge dent in the population of England. MEDICINES Medicines used in Elizabethan times had no proof that they worked. People based their beliefs on the words of hippocrates and many of the treatments didn’t seem to work, and had to be proven a lie. For example, for bullet wounds the people then used boiling oil to heal the wound. But this was proven to be a lie when Ambroise Pare, an army physician, was treating his patients and ran out of oil.

For the rest of the patients who hadn’t been treated yet, he cleaned the wounds and went to bed. When he woke up the next morning; the patients who had been treated with boiling oil where feverish and in pain. While the one he had cleaned where sleeping and doing well. Another example is for mental illness. When a person had a mental illness, Jean-Baptiste Denis, believed that when the blood of lambs was injected into the blood system, the patients seemed to recover. This method was stopped when a patient died.

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