Dr. Michel de Nostradame

Epidemics are not unprecedented in Europe as the British government insisted at the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic. There are many instances to contradict their assertion, but I choose to explore an example of the bubonic plague.

Throughout the 1500s Le Charbon swept through Southern France incubated by poor sanitation, rodent infestation, and bad food hygiene. Cities were sewers inviting the plague every year with the spring. Medical science was in the Dark Ages. Remedies included blood-letting (to release bad blood), smothering (overheating the patient hoping to break the fever), stifling (no air in or out – chimneys blocked up, windows and even doorways bricked up). Washing was considered a sin because the Blood of Christ should provide protection enough if the victim truly believed. Survival rates were virtually nil.

A recently qualified doctor by the name of Michel de Nostradame had other ideas about infection control and treatment of the disease. In the field of medicine, he was a true visionary. He was almost alone in the understanding of germs and their role in spreading infection as well as the importance of sanitation.

When called to a stricken city, he would immediately order the corpses to be removed and burned and the streets to be thoroughly cleaned. He insisted upon all households remaining within their own environments (social distancing) and all clothes, bed linen and draperies to be boiled. Windows and doors were always to stay open for increased ventilation. Drinking water was boiled and a diet, low in animal fats and high in vegetable vitamins and minerals, was prescribed. He also developed a herbal pharmaceutical, high in vitamin C (not that he knew it would one day be referred to as vitamin C), administered to the patient in high volumes.

He saved the lives of many thousands of people throughout France but, sadly, whilst he was away, his beloved wife and two children died of the plague.

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© Rivenrod 2020

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