Why the death rate was so high in the Middle Ages?
There are several reasons why the death rate was so high .
* Lack of personal hygiene
* Poor sanitation
* Lack of medical knowledge
* Lack of emergency services
Medieval Living Conditions
During the Middle Ages Britain was a dirty place to live in and living conditions were harsh. There was no sewage system as we would know it today. Many people threw toilet waste and other rubbish into the street or they fed it to the pigs. Rats, mice and insects lived in the roofs of thatched cottages. This meant that their poo would drop down and contaminate food. Water was far from clean as the local river would have been polluted with toilet waste thrown into it and this was often the drinking water supply.
The inside of a typical medieval house
As well as the filthy living conditions, disease spread easily because people had no idea that everything had to be clean. Although they did use water to wash, soap was an expensive luxury only affordable for rich people. Most people just washed with water and a piece of cloth, with herbal remedies to brush their teeth. There were no antibiotics or antiseptics to kill germs, so even minor conditions like food poisoning could be fatal. A minor wound could easily become infected and lead to complications.
People lived in smaller houses close together, so any contagious diseases would spread quickly.
Children are more vulnerable to illness; so many more children in the Middle Ages would have died before reaching adulthood. Childbirth was also more dangerous with most babies being born at home in dirty conditions. Health in Britain in the Middle Ages would be similar to health in the Third World today. Although today we know more about the causes of disease, people in the Third World cannot afford medicine to treat it.
Standards of food hygiene were much lower than they are today. People would buy food at the market without knowing if it was...