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The Hows and Whys of the Black Death in the Elizabethan Era

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The Hows and Whys of the Black Death in the Elizabethan Era

Since as far back as researchers could see, societies always learned valuable lessons through experiencing the cause-and-effect of events. With these lessons learned societies would develop technological innovations to prevent or stop some of the devastating effects that would come with poor actions. Some of the greatest medical advancements and hygienic discoveries were learned by these destructive effects. In the Elizabethan Era, the Bubonic plague caused a mind shattering amount of deaths and forced this society to rethink their medical treatments and improve their horribly unhygienic lifestyle.

The Bubonic Plague, also referred to as the Black Death, was an outbreak of Yersinia pestis (Cohn 2002). The cause of this Yersinia pestis outbreak was unknown to the people of the Elizabethan Era and was officially discovered long after their time. One article explains, "The bubonic plague mainly affects rodents, but fleas can transmit the disease to people" (The Black Death 2011). Once someone was infected their lymph glands would erupt in painful swelling and the victim would break out into a fever. Yersinia pestis spread through entire cities and swept the population numbers down tremendously. Europe alone lost nearly 25 million people in just a small, five-year time frame from a Yersinia pestis outbreak (The Black Death 2011). This amount of human loss opened the eyes of their society and to the future generations about bad lifestyle choices.

With the technology of their time, it would have been a far reach to imagine plumbing in their time period, but they could have still have done more to live in a safer environment. One major problem was the crowding of houses and towns which was a perfect way to spread disease. If they didn't live in such close quarters then these people would have probably had an easier time collecting safe water and living an overall cleaner lifestyle. Also, finding a better way to dispose of sewage would have improved their living conditions. During their time they would throw the sewage out the household's window then it would seep into rivers and streets leaving them contaminated and hazardous. This type of dirty society attracted rats and left many susceptible to the Bubonic Plague. (Conditions and Diseases 2010)

Once the Bubonic Plague became apparent, the people of Elizabethan Era posed no way of stopping the spread and effects of the disease. The physicians of their time only had theories to rely upon for treatments of the plague. Most treatments were based upon equaling out the victim's bodily fluids, which were called humours in the Elizabethan Era. Seeing how other communities had different ways of equaling out a victim's humours, a plethora of unique methods were used. A few popular methods would be to "bleed" the patient or administer herbs via

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