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Living Conditions during the Elizabethan Era

by Hoa Bui, Jessie Nguyen, Valeria Rosales, and Kacie Vazquez
by

Hoa Bui

on 10 April 2014

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Transcript of Living Conditions during the Elizabethan Era

Elizabethan Physician
To avoid contacting diseases from their patients, Elizabethan physicians wore masks, stout boots, long black robes with pointed hoods, and gloves.
Living Conditions during the Elizabethan Era

Treatment
Work Cited
Alchin, Linda."Elizabethan Medicine and Illnesses." 16 May 2012. Elizabethan-era.org.uk. 30 March
2013
"Elizabethan Hygiene." 13 March 2013. Elizabethan-englandlife.com. 30 March 2013.
by Hoa Bui, Jessie Nguyen, Valeria Rosales, Kacie Vazquez
Due to the absence of sewage systems, people used chamber pots as their bathroom.
Sanitation
Diseases
Unsanitary behavior caused simple injuries, such as a flesh wound, to be infected.
Medicines and Treatments
Since Physicians did not understand what caused the diseases, they relied on the ancient teachings of Aristotle and Hippocrates, and astrology.
+ The theory of humors suggested that four fluids flowed through the body: blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. If the fluids were imbalanced, the person was considered ill. Treatments involved adding or removing bile and blood.
Hygiene
People only showered a few times a year.
People did not have tooth brushes, so they did not brush their teeth.
Chamber pots were used as bathrooms.
To smell decent, males and females indulged on perfume.
Bathing
People believed that bathing allowed the devil to possess you or they believed if the water touched your skin, you would become severely ill. This made bathing a rare occurrence. When people did bathe, the water was unclean, for the water usually came from the Thames River. People dumped their feces and urination in the river. All in all, if you were to bathe, you would do it in your own waste and filth.
Oral Hygiene
Since Elizabethans did not own toothbrushes, they found other ways to clean their teeth. For example, they rubbed burnt rosemary onto their teeth and for whitening, they rubbed powdered sage. As a mouthwash, they mixed vinegar, wine, and alum.
Bathrooms
For the reason that the Elizabethan era did not have sewage systems or toilets with running waters, they relied on chamber pots. When the pot was full, Elizabethans dumped it onto the streets or into the river. As a result, people began living in their own filth. Thus, diseases and infections began circulating.
Hospitals
Every day, about 300 people lined up at the hospital's entrance. However, only 30 people were chosen to receive treatment, for the maximum capacity was 206. The hospital was also a church where people prayed for the sick and dying. The lower floor was dedicated to sick infants, while the upper floor was dedicated to adults suffering from diseases. Hospitals took partial credit for the spread of diseases, for they reused their tools on each and every patient.
Life for the Poor
Poverty was reaching a new low, as poor people began struggling to support themselves. To help them get back on their feet, the government passed acts, known as the Poor Laws, to lessen unemployment and homelessness. The poor was divided into three, separate groups:
Before and Now
During the Elizabethan era, knowledge on illnesses and medicine was scarce. Hygiene was non-existent, and water was never clean. As a result, diseases accumulated and spread like wildfire. Doctors relied on superstitions and unreliable information to treat their patients. For example, they subjected them to bleeding, a "treatment" intended to suck out the bad blood. Luckily, our medical resources have improved tremendously. Now, doctors know more about diseases and sicknesses. Without any illogical guessing, they give us the exact medicine that will nurse us back to health. Though, most illnesses are prevented through vaccines and hygiene. Sanitation has also improved. With the enhancement of a sewage system, we have fresh water for showering and we will never see our waste again. Things have changed remarkably, for we have come a long way since the Elizabethan Era.
"Shakespearean & Elizabethan Medicine and Doctors." Schoolworkhelper. St. Rosemary
Educational Institution. http://schoolworkhelper.net/shakespearean-elizabethan-medicine-and-doctors/. 31st March 2014
"Life Issues." Relevations - The Initial Journey.
http://www.theinitialjourney.com/lifeissues/life_elizabethanpoverty.html. 31 March 2014.
"Sanitation." Elizabethan Museum. http://elizabethanmuseum.weebly.com/sanitation.html. 30
March 2014.
Mabillard, Amanda. "Worst Diseases in Shakespeare's London." Shakespeare Online. 20 August
2000. http://www.shakespeare-online.com/biography/londondisease.html 30 March 2014.
Credits
Hygiene............................................................................................................ Hoa Bui
Bathing.......................................................................... Hoa Bui & Jessica Nguyen
Oral Hygiene Visual..................................................................................... Hoa Bui
Oral Hygiene.................................................................................................. Hoa Bui
Bathroom Visual............................................................................................ Hoa Bui
Bathrooms................................................................... Hoa Bui & Jessica Nguyen
Sanitation....................................................... Kacie Vazquez & Valeria Rosales
Diseases.......................................................... Kacie Vazquez & Valeria Rosales
Disease Visual................................................................................... Kacie Vazquez
Types of Doctors........................................................................................... Hoa Bui
Elizabethan Doctor......................................................................... Kacie Vazquez
Treatment Visual.............................................................................. Kacie Vazquez
Medicines and Treatments.......................................................... Kacie Vazquez
Hospitals.......................................................................................................... Hoa Bui
Life for the Poor Visual............................................................................... Hoa Bui
Life for the Poor............................................................................................. Hoa Bui
Before and Now......................................................... Hoa Bui & Jessica Nguyen
Something to Think About ........................................................ Valeria Rosales
The Deserving Poor
This group consisted of elders, children, the sick, and families struggling financially. They are considered deserving for social support, so their towns looked after them.
The Deserving Unemployed
This group consisted of people who could make a living, but did not have a job. By law, towns had to provide these people with a job.
The Undeserving Poor
This group consisted of people who turned to crime to earn a living. The government punished these people by whipping, burning, imprisoning, or executing them publicly. Likewise, the government did not treat this group as well as the other two.
When the chamber pot was full, they dumped it into the streets or the river. Thus, the streets quickly overflowed with feces and urination.
Water was grabbed from the Thames River, but the river was dirty, for people dumped trash and waste in it.
Since the water was too dirty too drink, people drank alcohol instead. Eventually, the streets were filled with vomit.
People only bathed a few times a year.
Carried by fleas living on rats, the
Black Death
spread through London like a wildfire.
+ Chances of survival were lowered to 50%.
+ Symptoms included buboes (red, swollen lymph nodes) and high fevers.
+ If the disease infected the lungs (
pneumonic plague
) or the bloodstream (
septicemic plague
), there would be zero chances to survive and the person would die within a couple of hours.

Smallpox
+ caused high fevers, vomiting, excessive bleeding, and pus-filled scabs

Syphilis
: disease carried by Spaniards who returned from America
+ caused raging fevers, also referred to "burnt blood," tortuous body aches, blindness, full body pustules, severe headaches, insanity, and leaking heart valves
Due to insanitation, body lice made possible for
Typhus
to occur.
+ caused high fevers, delirium, and gangrenous (tissue decay) sores
Spread by mosquitoes living in the Thames,
Malaria
became widespread.
+ caused fever, unbearable chills, vomiting, enlarged liver, low blood pressure, seizures, and coma
Physicians
: Only the very wealthy class could afford these doctors, for they received education at the University and College of Physicians.
Surgeons
: They are inferior to Physicians and belong to the Company of Barber Surgeons, medical practitioners who perform surgery.
Barbers
: They are inferior to Surgeons. Though they belonged to the Company of Barber Surgeons. they are only allowed to pull teeth or take blood.
Apothecary
: They act as pharmacists and provide drugs. This was the route most people took.
Church
: They could only provide spiritual comfort for the poor.
'Wise Woman'
: They were doctors for the poor.
Housewife
: They used herbs for homemade medicines and potions.
The Black Death
Bathrooms
Life for the Poor
Their masks were unusual-looking beaks. Nonetheless, the masks protected them from breathing the same air as the sick.
Their unusual clothing protected them from fleas, and therefore, protected them from the Black Death.
It was a ritual to drench themselves in vinegar and chew angelica before attending to a patient, as it would protect them from the contagious disease.
Back then, illnesses were considered as sins of the soul, so treatment included praying and meditating.
The Bubonic Plague or Black Death was treated through cutting the lymph nodes and applying butter, onion, and garlic. Other treatments involved tobacco, arsenic, lily root, and dried toad.
Head pains were treated through the sweet smells of herbs such as rose, lavender, sage, and bay.
Stomach pains were treated with wormwood, mint, and balm.
Lung illnesses were treated with liquorice and comfrey.
Open wounds were flushed with vinegar as vinegar was believed to be a disinfecting agent.
Oral Hygiene
Knight, Eliza. "History of Hygiene: Bathing, Teeth Cleaning, Toileting, & Deodorizing." History
Undressed, 14 July 2008. http://www.historyundressed.com/2008/07/history-of-hygiene-bathing-teeth.html. 31 March 2014
Think about how your life would be now with those living conditions. Would you be able to survive with all the sanitation problems?
Can you imagine yourself not showering for multiple days?
Something to Keep in Mind
How would it make you feel using a chamber pot instead of a proper restroom?
Types of Doctors
Different doctors administered medicine. The person who treated you would depend on your class and the amount of money you had.
Rats, fleas, and lice roamed the filthy city.
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