How Did Medicine Impact The Civil War?

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The Civil War was a vital event that occurred in America’s historical consciousness and in order to understand the medical aspect of the war, first defining exactly what the war was about is fundamental. According to Dixon, the Civil War transpired in 1861-1865 and it was essentially about the “uncompromising differences between the free and slave states over the power of the national government to prohibit slavery in the territories that had not yet become states.” Significant battles occurred in Chickamauga, Shiloh in Tennessee, Fredericksburg in Virginia, and Antietam in Maryland, Gettysburg in Pennsylvania and Atlanta in Georgia. Moreover, how did the Civil War impacted medicine raised important points to be considered such as the disease-causing viruses that plagued the soldiers? Also the conditions the soldiers faced while undergoing treatment. Additionally, the post-war aseptic methods the care providers employed while treating the soldiers, if any was implemented at all. …show more content…

They believed that epidemic diseases were caused by “miasmas” or “viruses”, which they considered to be poison that float through the air. This misconception of diseases impacted the war negatively due to the fact that medicine did not reach a stage to provide certain insights of diseases. There were many infectious diseases that were common among the soldiers which included, “typhoid and other fevers, smallpox, acute and chronic diarrhea, yellow fever, measles, mumps, diphtheria, scarlet fever, erysipelas and the intermittent fevers.” These diseases gave a foul stench, according to Bollet “it was said that the Civil war army on March could be smelled before it could be seen.” Most of the stench came from the bacteria and virus causing diseases. Due to the vast amount of bacteria and virus causing diseases that plagued the soldiers, a centralized focus is placed on smallpox and gang

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