Diseases of WWI

WW1 Diseases

All though many wars are known for deaths due to harsh fighting, World War I was known for many reasons for soldier’s deaths. It was very hard for soldier’s to get the type of medical care and technology that we have today, and difficult to be cured. In this case, during World War I diseases were very common and were spread thoroughly. Fighting in the WWI meant being high at risk of death. Soldiers were constantly doing life threatening duties. Deaths numbers were so intense that “after a year and a half of fighting, more than 53,000 Americans died from combat related injuries” (Kinder).

If a soldier was not killed, it was very likely that they were at least severely injured or wounded. “It was nearly impossible to escape the war without some kind of injury or decline in health” (Kinder). Not only that, but it was 224,000 or more Americans that were wounded from fighting in the World War, not just temporarily, but majority in permanent injuries. The war left more than 200,000 soldiers disabled for the rest of their lives. Injuries have impacted not only the soldier’s lives, but the families as well, leaving their loved ones needing help at all times.

Being crippled could mean being incapable of doing things physically, or even mentally. Wars such as this have also been known for leaving many emotionally unstable. Disease was a large portion during, and even after the war. “Infectious diseases such as influenza, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and measles killed 63,000 soldiers and more” (Kinder). The illnesses and infections would spread fluently through the trenches; due to how tightly the soldiers were set together. Men with serious illness would be incapacitated for several days or even weeks.


Hoping for recovery, thousands more would stay in hospitals to cure and stay away from interactions. To start with, the trenches were outrageously dirty, packed with soldiers and the greatest cause for disease. Diseases that infected one, would instantly lead to infecting others, especially due to poor medical treatment. The hospital nurses would usually tell the soldiers there was nothing they could do to cure their infections, so they would spend weeks and months in the hospitals hoping time would cure them. A main cause for diseases was the rat infestations.

There were millions of rats found in the trenches that would spread infection and contaminate food. They would scatter deep in the trenches, finding men to bite, allowing them to get an insect-borne disease. The rat’s sizes were so large that “they would eat a wounded man if he couldn’t defend himself” (Currie). They would steal the soldier’s food out of their pockets, and contaminate mostly anything they would touch. Lice was also a never ending problem, the eggs would remain hidden in clothing and seems (Duffy). There was absolutely no way for a soldier during this time to avoid lice, nor their eggs.

Body lice would result in skin problems, or carried “typhoid fever” (Currie). Lice also were a cause for trench fever. Trench fever was “a painful disease that began suddenly with severe pain followed by high fevers” (Duffy). This also resulted in extreme joint and muscle pain for the soldiers who were usually stuck down in the mucky trenches. The recovery for trench fever could take up to about 12 weeks, and needed to be hospitalized. Trench foot was a very large part of the World War I, which was a “fungal infection of the feet caused by cold, wet, and unsanitary trench conditions” (Duffy).

In the trenches men stood for hours on end in waterlogged trenches without being able to remove wet socks or boots. The feet would gradually go numb and the skin would turn red or blue. If untreated, trench foot would turn into a serious condition. Trench foot was a particular problem in the early stages of the war, where it was very painful, especially during extreme weather conditions. Trench foot was a form of frostbite, and lack of exercise and use of wearing boots would make the condition even worse.

Typically, the treatment for trench foot would be removal of the toes that were infected. The only other remedy for trench foot was for the soldiers to dry their feet and change their socks several times a day. Harsh weather would also cause a kidney disease, called nephritis. This disease was usually not deathly, unless the soldier was infected with any other harsh illness. Nephritis caused uncomforting pain, but would cure pretty fast. Puddles of mud, drastic conditions of trenches, and poor hygiene would lead to “dysentery, cholera, and other stomach disorders” (Currie).

With all of these conditions in mind, there was not enough room for every ill, infected, or wounded soldier to spend their time curing in the hospitals. Most would be sent and kept in the front lines to try to survive. Furthermore, during the times of World War I there were very many harsh illnesses, diseases, and wounded soldiers. It was very uncommon for any soldier to have made it through the war without any type of infection spread to them. There was a significant amount of deaths, but there were many survivors during the WWI as well.

The nature of life in the trenches was a dangerous place. It was a place for the dead or for the survivors. Trenches were a front line which was dug metres underground, inside the trenches, were supplies, training areas, stores …

In Elizabethan times there were many diseases. Including cholera, typhus, the deadly black plague, and many more. One of histories most deadly killers, cholera, was caused by mostly by bad sanitation. When someone swallowed food or water contaminated by the …

In Elizabethan times there were many diseases. Including cholera, typhus, the deadly black plague, and many more. One of histories most deadly killers, cholera, was caused by mostly by bad sanitation. When someone swallowed food or water contaminated by the …

“The soul is the same in all living creatures, although the body of each is different. ” This was quoted by Hippocrates, a Greek philosopher. The numerous animal imageries in Timothy Findley’s book The Wars are used to show the …

David from Healtheappointments:

Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? How about receiving a customized one? Check it out https://goo.gl/chNgQy