17 Plague Doctor Facts: Learn About Why They Wore Weird Masks And More | Kidadl


17 Plague Doctor Facts: Learn About Why They Wore Weird Masks And More

Arts & Crafts
Learn more
Reading & Writing
Learn more
Math & Logic
Learn more
Sports & Active
Learn more
Music & Dance
Learn more
Social & Community
Learn more
Mindful & Reflective
Learn more
Outdoor & Nature
Learn more
Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

The plague isn′t a new concept, it has wreaked havoc for centuries.

With the plague came plague doctors, these medieval doctors tackled one of the most dreaded diseases the world has ever seen. The pandemic was unstoppable and spread worldwide, inflicting gruesome symptoms, and the death toll rose tremendously.

The plague doctor has established a solid grip in frightening history, yet at one point in time, every element of this terrifying ensemble had a function. Their bewildering outfit, complete with oiled leather, beaked masks, large, and odd-looking goggles, had become a representation of the Black Death and medieval medicine, seeing as, despite the plague existing for centuries, the outfit only came to light after the Black Death had first struck.

Plague doctors and plague doctor facts, together with plague masks have a rich source of history and while some believe they could do nothing, many choose to believe otherwise. Some interesting facts are associated with plague doctors and the bubonic plague of the 17th century.

Continue reading to find out some interesting facts about these mysterious individuals who have witnessed some of the most horrifying times, tackled a dreaded illness, and left behind a fascinating history. You can also explore these fun facts about Alexa Canady and 1947 inventions.

History: Plague Doctor

Several versions of Plague Doctors have been publicized ever since they became famous for the work they did during the 17th-century bubonic plague, also known as the Black Death. However, history has a lot to say about plague doctors.

During the 17th century′s bubonic plague, which recurred several times, the plague doctors wore an outfit that consisted of a bird-beak mask, a long robe that covered them from head to toe, and large goggles, while treating plague victims.

The beaked pandemic masks were created because of a misinterpretation of the nature of the fatal sickness.

In the middle ages, to survive the great plague, a plague doctor would come up with concoctions and antidotes however, they could never cure the plague, and the medieval world had become a land of dead bodies. In this situation, a plague doctor would wear this outfit and it is said that one of the most renowned plague doctors Charles de Lorme had designed the famous plague doctor outfit.

The royal physician had treated King Louis XIII and he described the outfit as a long coat covered in scented wax, a wide hat, and gloves that were made with goat leather. However, the most unusual fact was the long beak mask. These masks were often filled with perfume and consisted of only two holes next to each nostril. Aromatic herbs were used inside this beaked mask.

The beak was the most prominent part of the garment, and it was considered to be necessary for the physician to avoid inhaling 'pestilential miasma', or plaque air straight from the victim.

The doctors would also carry a wand, a significant part of the costume. The wand was used to feel the pulse of the patients.

Programs And Duties: Plague Doctor

In the middle ages, the disease had spread so widely that college-trained physicians, priests, midwives, and even barbers had become plague doctors, treating the victims and researching on the disease. However, they were unable to cure the plague seeing as it was before the germ theory existed.

But, these doctors were responsible for noting down and recognizing the symptoms. They were hopes for the patients. So, one cannot wholly consider them unhelpful, it is because of these physicians who wrote books and treatises, that modern medicine knows so much about the plague. Many doctors fell sick and had become victims of the plague while treating their patients.

This explains the invention of the long beak masks and the plague doctor outfit.

These medieval doctors treated their patients with vinegar, bitter or sweet substances, and many other ingredients that would strengthen the lungs and other important organs.

It was a known fact that the doctors had fit the Black Death into the understanding of the medicinal practices that were already in existence. It was argued that the plague was a pestilential fever that wreaked havoc on the body and caused infected patients buboes and swelling in the lymph nodes. So, a doctor would suggest changes in one′s diet to prevent and strengthen the human body.

The death toll rose tremendously

Renowned Plague Doctors

Many college-trained doctors, midwives, herbalists, and even barbers had taken the position of a plague doctor in the medieval ages. There were some physicians whose contributions had been tremendously helpful and left a mark. These doctors not only helped fight the plague though they were far from finding a cure; they found symptoms and noted down many helpful tidbits that helped the future generation to fight the plague.

One such doctor was Charles De Lorme, the inventor of the famous doctor costume. Other doctors had written short books. These books were called 'plague treatises' and these books would provide the public with advice and would educate them about plagues.

The first plague treatise was written in 1348 around the month of April by a Spanish Physician named Jacme d′Agramont.

Another plague doctor had succumbed to the disease in 1348, in Bologna Italy. He had written several casebooks on plagues.

Some other notable plague doctors also include the Irish doctor Niall Ó Glacáin, Nostradamus, Ambroise Paré, and Paracelsus from the Renaissance Plague era.

Work Done By A Plague Doctor

Among the many plague physicians, the Irish physician Niall Ó Glacáin was held in high esteem for his services to the countries of Western Europe including Spain and France.

He was largely engaged in treating the bubonic plague, treating in some of the special hospitals that were booked for plague patients, and was highly paid for his dangerous services. He moved to France in 1627, where he was appointed as a plague doctor in the Pest Hospital of Toulouse.

Niall Ó Glacáin wrote the Tractatus de Preste, which featured his notes and his commentary on the treatment of plague. This treatise consisted of extensive knowledge in regard to the dreaded illness, further proving his contribution to the treatment of plague.

Though one cannot expect to find accurate aetiology about the plague in the treatise, it was still very important with its observations, interesting and immensely valuable information, including post-mortem reports.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for plague doctor facts then why not take a look at facts about capillaries, or facts about the esophagus?

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

Read The Disclaimer

Was this article helpful?