Public Health in Ancient Times

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  • Public Health in Ancient Times
    • Treatments could be based on bloodletting of purging (4 humours), mixed with prayers to the god of health
    • Most illnesses or injuries were treated by the father of the family, using remedies passed down from his father
    • Some remedies were used throughout the Roman Empire and some were written down
    • Prayers and offerings to gods were made
    • The waters in Roman baths were believed to have healing qualities, so people visited them when they were unwell
    • Hippocrates
      • Theory of the Four Humours
        • The idea that an imbalance of humours (blood, yellow bile, black bile and phlegm) caused illness
          • Galen
            • Theory of Opposites
              • Treatments based on opposites, e.g. hot peppers to treat an imbalance of phlegm
    • When the Romans came to Britain, they built:
      • Aqueducts /  Pipes
      • Public Baths
        • Cleanliness was linked to good health, so towns were built away from marshes and swamps.
      • Sewers
    • The Romans left in 410AD. This led to huge consequences for public health
      • Britain began to separate into warring kingdoms, so new towns and health systems were not maintained as nobody had the power or funding to do so. This led to bad health.
      • Rubbish, dead animals and excrement were left on the streets as people did not know how to solve the dirt problem. Due to dirty water, people drank ale instead.
      • The poor were not as affected by unhygienic conditions, as their villages were not as crowded as cities or towns so poor hygiene was not as concentrated



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