Medicine and General Health in the Nineteenth Century

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Medicine and General Health in the Nineteenth Century

Without the attempts of past doctors and psychologists, advances in medical and health fields of the twenty-first century appeared impossible. Doctors and psychologists throughout the ages attempted to enrich the world with their consistently expanding knowledge of health and medicine. “The 19th century was a period of enormous medical change and progress” (Farlex “Medicine, 19th-century”). Although the nineteenth century brought change to the scientific world, it also brought sickness and unhealthy lifestyles due to a lack of medical knowledge. The scientific knowledge between the eighteenth century and early nineteenth century varied slightly. However, throughout the nineteenth century, knowledge began to grow as doctors refined medicine and treatment methods. Prior to the nineteenth century, the majority of the population believed that the harsh judgement of God because of man’s sins resulted in punishment such as the bubonic plague. “For the first time, religion started to lose its grip on broad groups of people” (Ice “Medicine in the Victorian Era”). As one studies the nineteenth century, one notices that religion no longer controlled the opinions and medical views of the people. Although religion formerly tainted their outlook on medicine and health, scientific experts such as Dr. Edward Jenner sought to eliminate diseases that seemed incurable. “One of the most contagious and most feared diseases of the early 19th century was smallpox. It affected people of all ages, but was fatal to especially young children and the elderly” (Aiello “Diseases”). People noticed that those who contracted smallpox and survived never contracted the disease again. This belief resulted in t...

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