The Black Death: influenza connections

The black death was a devastating pandemic that, first, struck China and spread throughout Europe in the 1300’s. This plague was labeled the ‘Black Death’ because somewhere between 30-60% of Europe’s population fell victim to this horrid disease that revealed itself by darkening their tissue and forming “buboes”, dark tumor-like bumps filled with vile infection, to indicate the rotting of the interior of the victim. The days following the first symptoms were filled with fever, headaches, chills, and vomiting etc, usually ending in death.The outbreaks of this bacterial disease recurred sporadically until the 1700’s, but the initial and most disastrous wave was subdued around 1353. The connection I want to make in relationship to this terrible condition is the influenza epidemics that the world has seen come and go, even in my lifetime. Personally, I have never thought about the association between the two bacterial infections. See, one of the major differences that we are benefitting from now is that we have antibiotics; back in 1346, the European people didn’t have that luxury. Our medical advances, in general, have been very significant. In the picture that I included, you can see the masks that the doctors used to wear. On the inside of the beak-like appendage, there is straw and some sort of fragrance to filter out and protect from the bad air. Obviously, we have different methods of protecting ourselves these days, like anti-bacterial sanitizers and vaccinations (no matter how effective you believe them to be). I think that this topic is relatable to modern Minnesotans because the cold and flu season has officially begun and it is important to understand the resources that are available to you. Those resources, however, don’t guarantee that you will not get the flu. They just reduce the risks. Other things that should have been done with the black death and should still be done in relationship to influenza is awareness of symptoms, staying away from others to avoid getting them sick, and washing of hands. Something else to keep in mind is that the Black death was a disease spread by rat fleas, therefore, thriving in the summer months while fleas were able to survive. Influenza is air-born, thriving in cold temperatures. So, as the temperatures have dropped, noses start to run, more kids start to cough, and more adults have fevers. Speaking of adults, an article that I read claimed that the mortality rate of critically ill pregnant women in 2013-2014 was 25%. That’s insane. Obviously, there are extra precautions that can be taken if you are not pregnant, but using this information and applying it to your life can prevent illness being spread. Be extra careful about washing your hands and keeping them out of your mouth, please, get your shots (if that is one precaution you are willing and able to take), and keep in mind that even though the flu is not as aggressive as the Black death, it can still kill. Stay warm and healthy, please.


one of these has the link to my primary source… It won’t let me upload it.



Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s