Soldiers of World War 1

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Diseases

Trench Foot

Trench foot was the most common infection soldiers got during World War 1. It was caused by cold, wet, and insanitary conditions. The soldiers had to stand for hours, sometimes days in the rain, which cause the trenches to become waterlogged. Because they could not take off their shoes or socks the old dirty water just sat there and infected their feet. Signs that soldiers had trench foot was if their feet became numb, turned blue, and/ or had a decaying smell.The only way to prevent this was to change your socks and dry off your feet. Also another alternative would be to rub whale oil on their feet.Over 20,000 British soldiers were treated for this infection, in just one year. Usually trench foot resulted in amputations of one or both feet.

Trench Mouth

Trench mouth is a form of gingivitis. This is caused by a lot of bacteria getting into the mouth because of a lack of hygiene. The soldiers would develope a bad taste in their mouths, ulcers, bad breath, gums become swollen, and their gums would bleed. This is a painful infection that was very common amongst the soldiers.

Trench Fever

Trench Fever is cause by being bit by lice. Many men had lice in the trenches because they were very dirty and unsanitary. This took about two weeks to show symptoms. The symptoms are leg pains, headaches, skin rashes, and inflamed eyes. Then a fever comes and stays for at least five days. This caused men to be hospitalized for weeks, sometimes months because it just kept returning. This was not a deadly virus, therefore, it kept men from dieing by being sent to hospitals and not having to battle. It actually saved more lives than it ended.

The 1918 Influenza Pandemic

 This was not only in the war but it was wide spread across the world.This flu killed more people than World War 1 did. More people died in one year from this flu than from the Black Plague in four years. The symptoms were fever, nausea, aches, and diarrhea. The main victims were young adults, which meant the soldiers were affected, badly. With all of them living in such tight quarters it quickly spread and killed many soldiers.

Shell Shock

Shell Shock was originally thought to be from physical injury to the nerves. Psychologists soon realized that many men who had not even been in the front lines had had all the symptoms of shell shock. They then realized that anyone in the war area could have it from the traumatic experiences. The symptoms of shell shock were uncontrollable diarrhea, and anxiety attacks. Men who had hurt or killed other men in a certain body part would then develope a twitch or a pain in that same spot. Also, after men had killed or injured other soldiers they could not eat or sleep. There were a few different ways to try to help with the shell shock, one being, hypnosis, therapy, and rest. The physical ways were to massage, rest, dietary regimes, and electric shock. About 4/5ths of the men who were hospitalized for shell shock never returned to the war.