The Elizabethan era was not only a period of rations medical science, but also a time of great superstition. Medicine remained attached to astrology and other beliefs such as the supernatural. Elizabethan times was the era in which Queen Elizabeth I and Shakespeare lived. However the times were very unsanitary. People threw their trash out the window and if their dog or cat died, they would throw that out the window also. When it rained, cats and dogs would flow down the street. This is where the quote “Raining cats and dogs” derived. Because of all of these things, health was a major concern in Elizabethan England. Poor sanitation and a rapidly growing population contributed to the spread of disease. Medicine and health in the sixteenth century was very different from that of today, however their medical problems were very different from the medical challenges we face presently.
Deadly diseases were the main cause of poor health and fear of dying in Elizabethan times. They (the diseases) were believed to be caused by devils, spirits and demons, and were to be challenged by white magic and prayers. The most famous and dreaded disease in Elizabethan Times was the plague. This disease spread rapidly, had no cure and caused numerous fatalities. “An outbreak in 1593 is reported to have killed 15, 000 people in the London area alone, Even worse than the plague, but fortunately less common, was the so called sweating sickness”. Someone with this would suffer a high fever that usually proved fatal within 24 hours.” Other major diseases included malaria, spread by mosquitoes; syphilis, which was sexually transmitted; and scurvy, caused by poor diet and particular common among sailors. Epidemic diseases became common during the sixteenth century. Among them were smallpox, diphtheria, and measles. In children there were epidemics of plague, measles, smallpox, scarlet fever, chicken pox and diphtheria. Many children were abandoned, especially the ones with syphilis because it was feared they would pass it on . Smallpox probably caused the most deaths in villages. Most people had no understanding of the disease and those who survived it were often scarred for life. Medicine was not very scientific at this time and often beliefs were reli...
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... he also later influenced. Physician William Harvey studied the circulation of blood in 1616 and for the first time he demonstrated the real action of the heart and the course that the blood took through the arteries. Jan Helmont believed that fever was not due to unbalanced fluids, but discovered that it was a reaction to an invading irritating agent. He didn’t use bloodletting and purging but used chemical medicines and improved the sued of mercury. William Shakespeare has been credited as being ahead of his time with regard to his understanding of the medical field. Proof of his excellence lies within his dramas. “Doctors are featured in Shakespeare’s plays more often than any other professionals.”
In conclusion, Elizabethan medicine was very different from our present day practices and beliefs. Furthermore, the medical problems of the sixteenth century were very different from those of today. Medicine and health in the Elizabethan times was not the best, but it helped to achieve to greatness in the medical field we have today to say the least.
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