Public Health (43-1350)

  • Roman Public Health
  • Middle Ages Public Health
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Roman Beliefs for Public Health and Medicine

  • Miasma theory - avoided swamps
  • Supernatural causes - many prayed at the Temple of Asclepius
  • 4 humours
  • Galen improved the understanding of the anatomy of the body - but there were many errors in his work

Middle Ages Beliefs for Public Health and Medicine

  • The Church punished people who looked for new medical ideas - Roger Bacon was inprisoned
  • Parish priests controlled what people thought and believed
  • The Church dominated medical thinking and ensured that Galen's ideas remained the only accepted one - preventing any new ideas or understanding developing
  • Miasma theory
  • Illness was a punishment from God for commiting sins
  • The 4 humours were used to explain why people became ill
  • Astrology was used to explain illness and recommended the best time for cure
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Roman Treatments

  • Recommended to eat balanced diets and to exercise regularly
  • Bloodletting was the most common treatment
  • Herbal remedies - Dioscorides recommended 600 herbal remedies

Middle Ages Treatments

  • Herbal remedies - Bald's Leechbook (9th Century) contained many, some of the remedies would fo worked as Plantain would have acted as an antibiotic
  • Bloodletting was the most common treatment
  • People prayed to Saints for cures
  • The Black Death caused people to whip themselves, burn jews and carry lucky charms
  • Doctors used urine charts
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Roman Healers

  • Some doctors treated the poor for free
  • There were some women doctors - Antiochus
  • Parents used herbal remedies
  • Doctors took the Hippocratic Oath whiched ensured care for their patients and to keep their details private
  • There was no official medical training - anyone could claim to be a doctor

Middle Ages Healers

  • The Christian Chruch emphasised the care for the souls of the sick and not on curing their illnesses
  • Doctors trained medical departments in universities such as Padua and Salerno and could not practice unless they had this qualification
  • Very few doctors - only the rich could afford them
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Roman Public Health

Roman Public Health

  • Water pipes only went to the houses of the rich or to the army forts
  • Roman towns suffered from regular outbreaks of disease - Gloucester has mass graves after 'Galen's Plague'
  • After using the toilet they would clean themselves with sponges, then disinfect them in vinegar
  • Most sewers were made from timber and didn't have water that flowed quick enough
  • Water pipes were made from timber or lead
  • They built toilets - London had 200 public toilets
  • Most ordinary people had to get water from public water tanks or wells which were not always clean
  • Bath houses weren't as clean - water was only changed once per week
  • Bath houses were built in towns - in Lincoln 5000 people used them each week
  • The public health improvments mainly benefitted the rich people in towns or soldiers in forts
  • Water pipes transported water to towns - Dorchester's pipe was 8km
  • Reservoirs were built to store water
  • Forts has water supplies, hospitals and toilet blocks
  • They built settlements away from swamps due to the belief of Miasma
  • Most people in towns visited the baths every day
  • The Roman government was rich from taxes and strong enough from it's army to ensure good public health was maintained
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Middle Ages Public Health

Middle Ages Public Health

  • 1200 hospitals were set up
  • Laws were passed to improve hygiene (1281 Pigs were to be banned from London's streets) - but the government was to weak to enforce theses laws
  • Aqueducts and public baths fell into disrepair and were abandoned
  • Toilets were located above rivers or streams
  • Butchers regularly slaughtered animals in the streets
  • Human and animal waste was common in streets
  • The Black Death (1348-50) wiped out a third of Europe
  • Monasteries were built to have a fresh water source and to keep toilet waste away from the living areas - Canterbury Catherdral
  • Governments were too weak and poor to provide public health facilities like baths
  • Rich people sometimes had good standards of hygiene - bathing tubs, privies (toilets) and lead water pipes
  • Lepers had to live in seperate colonies and wear bells to warn people they were coming
  • London only had 12 public toilets
  • St Leonards hospital had 200 beds but most hospitals were small with only a few beds
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