Dealing with the Great Plague in London, 1665

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  • Dealing with the Great Plague in London, 1665
    • Causes
      • Astrology
        • an unusual alignment that was seen as an unlucky arrangement that suggested there was a trouble ahead.
      • Punishment from God
        • a result of mankind's wickedness and that God had sent it to lean up his kingdom.
      • Miasma
        • the most popular theory: it was released from the soil in warm weather and from  the rubbish of 17th-century life.
      • Other people
        • people believed that it could be spread from person to person, but there was no proof of this
    • Treatment
      • To be wrapped in thick woolen cloths and laid by a fire so that they could sweat the disease out.
      • Transference was a popular method: lancing buboes with chicken feathers etc.
      • herbal remedies continued to be extremely popular: medicines, poultices or rubs.
      • quack doctors took advantage of the general panic and sold fabulous/fake cures for a profit.
    • Prevention
      • Advice from physicians
        • prayer and repentance, quarantine for the infected, carrying a pomander to drive off miasma, various diets,
          • Plague doctors wore special costumes to avoid catching the plague from their patients- hooked masks full of flowers (birdlike design was thought to remove disease)
      • Advice from other healers
        • plague water: native/exotic herbs
        • it was believed that catching syphilis would prevent a person from catching the Great Plague - as both had buboes as a symptom.
      • Government action
        • Charles II decreed that people should fast regularly and made a list of actions to stop the spread of the plague.
          • large public gatherings were banned: theaters were closed, streets/alleys were swept clean
          • fires were burnt on street corners - with sweet smelling herbs - to drive off miasma.
          • pests - pigeons, cats and dogs - were killed in the streets..
        • Quarantine the infected to stop the spread of disease: searchers and wardens were appointed.
      • Escape the plague.


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