Polydore Vergils 1534 description of the Sweating Sickness from Shaw 1933 2701

The same year (1485), a new disease pervaded the whole kingdom, during Henry's first descent into the island, a pestilence horrible indeed, and before which no age could endure, a well-known fact; suddenly a fatal sweat attacked the body wracking it with pains in the head and stomach, moreover there was a terrific sensation of heat. Therefore the patients cast off the bed coverings from the beginning, as some of them suffered less heat if they lay in bed; if they were dressed they stripped off their clothes, the thirsty ones drank cold water, others suffering from this fetid heat, provoked a sweat which had a foul odor, by adding bed clothes, all of them dying immediately or not long after the sweat had begun; so that not one in a hundred evaded it. Nor did any art of medicine or science avail to help it, meanwhile, for this strange disease escaped all their knowledge. In fact, after twenty four hours (the severity of the disease continued for that length of time) the sweat departed bringing this conclusion, i.e., that they were not cleansed by the sweat, as many of them perished. But that fact pointed out a final measure in the treatment for this great torture; those who had sweat once, since they sickened again put into use those things which they had discovered to have been beneficial in the first attack. Even so, when the calamity befell the sickly race again (1508), from earlier observations they had forgotten how to care for themselves, in order that they might bear more easily the strenuous sweating. Thus from experience, after such a huge slaughter of human beings, it follows that the most prompt relief should have been found, which was this: if anyone was seized during the daytime he should go to bed forthwith, with his clothes on; if, while he was in bed at night, he should lie quietly and not move from that place, remaining so for twenty four hours exactly, covered with not enough bed clothes to provoke the sweat but just enough to allow him to sweat spontaneously, taking no food, if possible to bear the hunger, and drinking no more water than usual or of less warmth, which should satisfy in a way and quench the thirst; in the first stages of this treatment care should be taken that there should be no occasion either for warming up or cooling off the hands or feet as to do so means death. Such was the treatment found for this plague which covered so much of England at this time and in times past has so often afflicted it, for the first year that Henry began to reign was remarkable for the plague, which was taken by many as a bad omen.

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