Plagues are recorded to be some of the world's deadliest pandemics that killed over 30% - 60% of the world's population which affected Europe, Asia, Africa, etc.
Plague is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium named - Yersinia pestis, with symptoms like fever, weakness, and headache. The plague doctors are commonly known physicians who major in treating victims of the plague, they are public servants and European physicians. They are mostly hired by villages, towns, or cities.
The popular bubonic plague which happened during the 14th century proved a danger to doctors who attended to its victims. This brought about the famous robe, mask, and hat- combo.
To know more about these doctors, delve into our 5 listed and explained facts below.
They wore beak shaped masks – A profound and popular thing about the plague doctors was the Beak shaped mask worn during consultations and treatments. The mask was associated with air purity due to the spread of information during the 17th and 18th centuries stating the air could be polluted.
This mask consisted of eye holes, and long noses filled with herbs which included mint, camphor, straw, rose petals, etc. that helped filter the air.
Some of them were not experienced – Another interesting information about the plague doctors was that they were not all experienced doctors. It is recorded they were often young physicians trying to find their feet in the system or second-rated doctors not authorized to even run a medical practice. One would wonder why they could consult and examine patients.
They carried canes - Plague doctors carried canes which served purposes like poking patients laying on floors, keeping family members at bay, protection from desperate patients. The canes were also used to communicate to helpers where a body needed to be after an examination or after death.
They wore suits/robes - Charles de l’Orme is recorded to have come up with the concept of a dark robe, boots, gloves, and hats in 1630. His idea was to keep the doctors fully covered and protected from their patients
The outer layer of the robe was made of goat leather and often coated in wax. Underneath, the doctor wore a blouse that tied to his boots. Their complete protective gear consisted of a light, waxed fabric overcoat, a mask with glass eye openings and a beak-shaped nose mask
Plague Doctor hats were used for identification – The hats were not just a form of fashion or an additional costume, it was particularly a form of identification. These hats were symbolic as they were used to identify and indicate who was a doctor. It is easy to say that these hats were not as popular because of its function. However, the hat may have been worn to keep some bacteria away.
Gracefully, we have explained, identified, and given reasons on why plague doctors wore their famous costume, we would like to know what you think about it.
Were they healthy? Was it enough form of protection? What do you think about the evolution of masks? Would you have fancied wearing their masks to what we now have?
Let us know in the comment section
You can also get a real feel of this mask when you purchase it through this link - Plague mask.