What disease was known as the sweating sickness

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what disease was known as the sweating sickness

Sweating Sickness: In a Nutshell by Claire Ridgway

MadeGlobals History in a Nutshell Series aims to give readers a good grounding in a historical topic in a concise, easily digestible and accessible way.

Claire Ridgway, author and creator of The Anne Boleyn Files, is known for her easy-going style, but with an emphasis on good history and sound research. In Sweating Sickness in a Nutshell, Claire Ridgway examines what the historical sources say about the five epidemics of the mystery disease which hit England between 1485 and 1551, and considers the symptoms, who it affected, the treatments, theories regarding its cause and why it only affected English people.
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The Sweating sickness narrated

Sweating sickness

Anne Boleyn, although unable to survive her marriage to Henry VIII, was rumored to have resisted the onslaught of another sixteenth- century scourge: Sudor Anglicus, or English sweating sickness. The mysterious illness surfaced in England in the summer of and struck four times over the next century before disappearing. This frequently fatal disease caused fever, profuse sweating, headaches, and extreme shortness of breath. Death usually came quickly. It killed some within three hours, wrote one Tudor chronicler.

The sweating illness was one of the most horrifying diseases of the 15th and 16th centuries and even more mysterious than the Black Death. It started with a feeling of being freezing cold, the body convulsing in uncontrollable shivering, with severe prostration, heart palpitations, extreme aches in the neck, dizziness, dehydration and headaches, often with a vesicular rash. Then came the worst part — violent, drenching sweating, along with delirium, and a rapid pulse. Between per cent of victims were dead just three to 18 hours later. The strange illness still fascinates scientists today because nobody knows for sure how the disease managed to rip through Europe several times during the tumultuous Tudor period. English physician Dr John Caius also known as Johannes Caius was working in Shrewsbury, England in when an outbreak of the sweating sickness had a stranglehold over the terrified townsfolk.

Sweating sickness , also called English sweat or English sweating sickness , a disease of unknown cause that appeared in England as an epidemic on five occasions—in , , , , and It was confined to England , except in —29, when it spread to the European continent , appearing in Hamburg and passing northward to Scandinavia and eastward to Lithuania , Poland , and Russia; the Netherlands also was involved, but with the exception of Calais a seaport in northern France , the disease did not spread to France or Italy. Apart from the second outbreak, all the epidemics were severe, with a very high mortality rate. The disease was fully described by the physician John Caius , who was practicing in Shrewsbury in when an outbreak of the sweating sickness occurred. The illness began with rigors, headache, giddiness, and severe prostration.

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What was sweating sickness?

While most people have heard of the Black Death, medieval Europe was also afflicted by a less deadly but more perplexing epidemic: the sweating sickness. Yet there was another medieval epidemic that took many thousands of lives, known as the English sweating sickness. Although this disease claimed many fewer lives than the plague, it gained infamy because its victims were killed within 24 hours by sweating to death. Science has identified the pathogen that caused the plague and current cases are treatable with antibiotics, but no one knows what caused the sweating sickness. Now modern researchers have proposed two possible pathogens that could have caused it, both of which still kill people today. The disease began abruptly with fever, extreme aches in the neck, shoulders, and extremities, and abdominal pain with vomiting.

Cookie policy : This site uses cookies small files stored on your computer to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies. To find relevant articles please visit here to pick a cluster. Posted by: Andrew Haynes. The disease may possibly have been brought across the Channel by his army, although there are no prior records of it on the continent.

Jul 27, 0. The Middle Ages are renowned for being a turbulent and difficult period of history. War, famine and disease occurred throughout the period and one of the most devastating pandemics in history, the Black Death, occurred in the mid 14th century. In the summer of , at the start of the reign of Henry VII, a previously unseen disease started to spread across England. Henry Tudor arrived in London shortly after the Battle of Bosworth Field on the 28th August and the disease was first reported there less than three weeks later on the 19th September The disease then proceeded to run rampant in London, killing thousands and striking panic in the population.

5 thoughts on “Sweating Sickness: In a Nutshell by Claire Ridgway

  1. In the first episode of the BBC's adaptation of Wolf Hall, Thomas Cromwell returned home to find his wife and two daughters had all died during the night, victims of a pestilence — the "sweating sickness" — that was scything through the Tudor world.

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