How Healthy Were People in Medieval York?

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How healthy were people in medieval York?
In medieval York medicine and health were very important aspects in life. For many peasants that lived in medieval York, disease and poor health were part of their daily life. Medicine was both basic and sometimes useless. Towns and cities were filthy and the knowledge we have of hygiene today was non existent. As the populations of medieval towns such as York increased, hygienic conditions worsened. People lived so close together in both villages and towns it meant that contagious diseases could be out of control very quickly after they first appeared; a perfect example being the Black Death. As their medical knowledge was limited, despite the efforts of physicians and doctors, medieval Europe did not have an adequate health care system. Antibiotics and other remedies were not invented until the 1800s, so it was almost impossible to cure people. There were many superstitions about health and hygiene as there still is today. People believed for example, that disease was spread by bad odours. They also assumed that diseases of the body resulted from sins of the soul. Many people in medieval times sought relief from their illness and pain by other means such as: meditation, prayer, pilgrimages and other non medical remedies. Medicine was often risky and people could loose their lives in the process of trying to be healed. Some of the potions used to relieve pain or induce sleep during the surgery were potentially lethal. Surgery was often performed as a last resort however it was known to be successful in some cases of breast cancer, fistula (an opening made into a hollow organ, as the bladder or eyeball, for drainage), haemorrhoids, gangrene, and cataracts, as well as tuberculosis of the lymph glands in the neck (scrofula). Early surgery, often done by barbers without anaesthesia, must have been awfully excruciating and dangerous for the patient Bloodletting was a popular method of restoring a patient's health and...
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