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THE FIRST WORLD WAR > HEALTH ISSUES OF WORLD WAR I

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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Feb 18, 2010 11:49PM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
This is a thread which is dedicated to some of the health issues associated with World War I.

There were some terrible health situations so those who are sensitive might not want to read further.


message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Feb 18, 2010 08:57PM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
The trenches caused a variety of health problems for the soldiers. One was trench foot.





TRENCH FOOT

Many soldiers fighting in the First World War suffered from trench foot. This was an infection of the feet caused by cold, wet and insanitary conditions. 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 could turn gangrenous and result in amputation. Trench foot was a particular problem in the early stages of the war. For example, during the winter of 1914-15 over 20,000 men in the British Army were treated for trench foot.

The only remedy for trench foot was for the soldiers to dry their feet and change their socks several times a day. By the end of 1915 British soldiers in the trenches had to have three pairs of socks with them and were under orders to change their socks at least twice a day.

As well as drying their feet, soldiers were told to cover their feet with a grease made from whale-oil. It has been estimated that a battalion at the front would use ten gallons of whale-oil every day.

This is a picture of the waterlogged trenches they had to stand in:





Source: Spartacus

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/...




message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Feb 18, 2010 09:17PM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
TRENCH MOUTH:



The Horrors of Trench Mouth

A specter is haunting the World’s youth-the specter of trench mouth. Trench mouth is a bacterial infection of the gums that produces bleeding gums, crater-like ulcers between the gums and teeth and the gradual decomposition of its victim’s jaw.

When not treated properly trench mouth can spread to the cheeks, lips or jawbone. In these circumstances trench mouth can seriously damage bone and gum tissue. Trench mouth can also enter the blood stream and spread to other parts of the body. Trench mouth makes eating and swallowing food so painful that it frequently results in involuntary weight loss. Fever and swelling of the lymph nodes is associated with trench mouth as well. People with compromised immune systems are at risk of developing very severe trench mouth infections.

The exact causes of trench mouth remain unclear, but smoking, stress and poor oral hygiene all increase the dangers of contracting trench mouth.

Trench mouth’s name comes from its prevalence amongst the soldiers in the trenches of World War I. The extreme conditions in the trenches all contributed to an epidemic of the disease during the war.


message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)


message 5: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Feb 19, 2010 12:07AM) (new)


message 6: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 173 comments What great links, Bentley! I found The Great Influenza The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History by John M. Barry by John M. Barry a very detailed and thorough account of the 1918 pandemic.


message 7: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
You are welcome Gabriele...this looks like a great book about that pandemic. Thank you for the add.


message 8: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Feb 19, 2010 07:39PM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
TYPHUS:

During World War I typhus caused three million deaths in Russia and more in Poland and Romania.[4:] De-lousing stations were established for troops on the Western front but the disease ravaged the armies of the Eastern front, with over 150,000 dying in Serbia alone. Fatalities were generally between 10 to 40 percent of those infected, and the disease was a major cause of death for those nursing the sick. Between 1918 and 1922 typhus caused at least 3 million deaths out of 20–30 million cases. In Russia after World War I, during the civil war between the White and Red armies, typhus killed three million, largely civilians. Even larger epidemics in the post-war chaos of Europe were only averted by the widespread use of the newly discovered DDT to kill the lice on millions of refugees and displaced persons.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typhus

Typhus on the Eastern Front:

http://entomology.montana.edu/history...




TYPHUS



message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Here is a novel based upon a true story but still a novel.

The Officers' Ward by Marc Dugain Marc Dugain

Publisher's Synopsis:

'The First World War? I wasn't there. The muddy trench, the bone-piercing dampness, the black winter rats, the smell of cigarettes and shit, the rain constantly pouring out of God's steely sky - that wasn't the war I knew.' In the officers' ward of a hospital in Paris, three young men and a woman meet in the early days of the First World War. Each of them has suffered horrific injuries to the face: Adrien, the narrator, Penanster, a Breton aristocrat, Weil, a Jewish aviator, and Marguerite, a nurse, one of the few women in the hospital. The friendship that the four form sustains them through the months and years that follow. When the war ends they are released from hospital, to adapt as they can to life outside. Based on the true war experiences of the author's grandfather, this is a moving, humorous and humane novel about war and survival.


message 10: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 173 comments Sounds interesting, Bentley!


message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Apr 26, 2011 10:31AM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
I thought so since it was based upon the war experiences of the author's (Dugain's) grandfather.

Glad to see you posting Gabriele; we missed you.

Dugain Marc


message 12: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) My grandfather was exposed to mustard gas during WWI, I believe he was fighting in France on behalf of the US Allied forces. I know little else about his service - he came home alive and intact but did not speak of his tour of duty, although I think the mustard gas exposure compromised his health from time to time. I would be curious if anyone knows of books on the topic to recommend. Some day I would like to read more about it.


message 13: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 173 comments Bentley wrote: "I thought so since it was based upon the war experiences of the author's (Dugain's) grandfather.

Glad to see you posting Gabriele; we missed you.

Dugain Marc"


I've been deep in research and writing of the new novel, but can't resist checking out WWI threads, especially since I'm dealing with the aftermath of war. This book seems to be a perfect example of that, so I really appreciate knowing about it!


message 14: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Glad to have posted the novel Gabrielle; it seemed to have a twist to it which I thought would be interesting.

Alisa, so sorry to hear what your grandfather must have gone through.

Gabrielle might know of some books.

There is this one which was done by Veterans Administration but for World War II:

Veterans at Risk The Health Effects of Mustard Gas and Lewisite by Constance M. Pechura Constance M. Pechura

There is also this one:

World War I Gas Warfare Tactics and Equipment (Elite) by Simon Jones Simon Jones


message 15: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 173 comments I haven't found a specific book about the lingering effects of war wounds, although I have found tidbits in a variety of histories and articles. An excellent overview of some of the traumas and how they were dealt with by medical personal can be found in The Roses of No Man's Land by Lyn Macdonald by Lyn Macdonald. If I recall, it does refer briefly to the long-term effects of some conditions, including mustard gas poisoning.


message 16: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Gabriele wrote: "I haven't found a specific book about the lingering effects of war wounds, although I have found tidbits in a variety of histories and articles. An excellent overview of some of the traumas and how..."

Thanks Gabriele, I added that one to my list and will look for it. Appreciate the suggestion.


message 17: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Thanks Bentley.


message 18: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 173 comments Alisa wrote: "Gabriele wrote: "I haven't found a specific book about the lingering effects of war wounds, although I have found tidbits in a variety of histories and articles. An excellent overview of some of th..."

I found it fascinating, Alisa - well written and wholly engaging. Even humorous at times!


message 19: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Here is another book covering some health aspects of the Great War but not one that is talked about much; "The War on Hospital Ships 1914-1918" by Stephen McGreal.

The War on Hospital Ships 1914-1918 by Stephen McGreal by Stephen McGreal
Description:
It is often said "The first casualty of war is the truth" and there is no better example of this than the furore caused by the claims and counter-claims of the British and German Governments at the height of the First World War. Wounded allied personnel were invariably repatriated by hospital ships, which ran the gauntlet of mined waters and gambled on the humanity of the U- Boat commanders. For, contrary to the terms of the Geneva Convention, on occasions Germany had sunk the unarmed hospital ships under the pretence they carried reinforcement troops and ammunition. The press seized on these examples of `Hun Barbarity', especially the drowning of non-combatant female nurses. The crisis heightened following the German Government's 1 February 1917 introduction of unrestricted naval warfare. The white painted allied hospital ships emblazoned with huge red crosses now became in German eyes legitimate targets for the U-Boats. As the war on the almost 100 strong fleet of hospital ships intensified the British threatened reprisals against Germany, in particular an Anglo-French bombing raid upon a German town. Undeterred the Germans stepped up their campaign sinking two hospital ships in swift succession. Seven hospital ships struck mines and a further eight were torpedoed. Faced with such a massacre of the innocents Britain decided her hospital ships, painted and brightly lit in accordance with the Geneva Convention, could no longer rely on this immunity. The vessels were repainted in drab colours, defensively armed and sailed as ambulance transports among protected convoys. Germany had successfully banished hospital ships from the high seas.


message 20: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 173 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "Here is another book covering some health aspects of the Great War but not one that is talked about much; "The War on Hospital Ships 1914-1918" by Stephen McGreal.

[bookcover:The War on Hospital..."


I read some harrowing accounts of the sinking of the Llandovery Castle, a Canadian hospital ship, in 1918.


message 21: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) It would be a horrible thing to happen, for so many reasons, a very sad event.


message 22: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 173 comments Sad that all 14 nurses died.


message 23: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (new)

André (andrh) | 2849 comments Mod
I stumbled across this Belgian website just by chance as I was doing research for something completely different.

Although all in French, the pictures, many of which made by Belgian and French physicians and priests speak for themselves. But then the war took place in Belgium and France so why not include a local site - especially such a tremendously well researched one.

If you speak French the articles will leave you speechless for hours if not days.
May those who died - both the ones remembered and forgotten - find eternal peace.


http://www.1914-1918.be/album.php


message 24: by Nicole (new)

Nicole André wrote: "I stumbled across this Belgian website just by chance as I was doing research for something completely different.

Although all in French, the pictures, many of which made by Belgian and French phy..."


I skimmed through a few of the articles. Looks very interesting, I'll have to give it a more thorough look when I have time.


message 25: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) An amazing site, Andre. Like Nicole, I looked through it quickly but bookmarked it in order to give some time to it later. Thanks for posting it.


message 26: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) The link below will take you to a poignant site at the Smithsonian which explains how the British tried to assist those soldiers who lived through the War but had horrible facial injuries/disfigurement. Building masks to hide the damage was the only way, at that time, to deal with the problem......no plastic surgery was available. This is worth the read.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history...


message 27: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Thank you Jill.


message 28: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (new)

André (andrh) | 2849 comments Mod
It Was the War of the Trenches by Jacques Tardi by Jacques Tardi Jacques Tardi

Jacques Tardi you might have heard of since he is the one who wrote the comic books on which is based Besson's movie The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec

Tardi is a genius. No matter what subject he takes on, be it adaptations of French crime classics, the crazy/fantastic series of Adele - or this one about WW1
It is one of the most shocking and moving stories told visually on the Trench Warfare. Is it fiction - not really, since based on facts and letters. Something in between. And it will stay with you forever.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec Pterror Over Paris / The Eiffel Tower Demon by Jacques Tardi by Jacques Tardi Jacques Tardi


message 29: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Thanks for the adds Andre - they look interesting.


message 30: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) The physical and mental injuries in WWI were particularly horrific. This book tells the often forgotten story of the volunteer nurses who provided what medical care they could manage at the front with limited supplies.

The Roses of No Man's Land

The Roses of No Man's Land by Lyn Macdonald by Lyn Macdonald Lyn Macdonald

Synopsis:

Drawing on the experiences of survivors of World War I, the author wrote a story of courage and endurance: the story of men who suffered physical and mental wounds; of volunteer nurses transported from their drawing rooms into carnage; and of doctors struggling to cope with the devastation.


message 31: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) In WWI, post traumatic syndrome was called shell shock. The author explores the result of this condition on the soldier.

Shell Shock: They Psychological Impact of the War

Shell Shock The Psychological Impact of the War by Wendy Holden by Wendy Holden WendyHolden

Synopsis:

The terrible physical effects of sending men into battle have always been self-evident, but only in modern times have the psychological effects been examined. Killing, watching friends die, leading soldiers to their deaths - all have a profound effect on those involved in the front line of war. There is a limit to what a soldier can endure before he becomes the victim of shell shock, battle fatigue, PTSD, or whatever terminology is in vogue.

The author also relates the history of military psychiatry and the scientists who have to balance the demands of the army to "cure" soldiers and return them to battle with the demands of the soldiers themselves, struggling to understand their condition.


message 32: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
It was a very serious problem - if I had been in those trenches - I can only imagine.


message 33: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Gas! Gas! Quick, Boys!: How Chemistry Changed the First World War

Gas! Gas! Quick, Boys! How Chemistry Changed the First World War by Michael Freemantle by Michael Freemantle (no photo)

Synopsis:

Reveals for the first time the true extent of how chemistry rather than military strategy determined the shape, duration, and outcome of World War I

Chemistry was not only a destructive instrument of World War I, but also protected troops and healed the sick and wounded. From bombs to bullets, gas to anesthetic, khaki to camouflage, chemistry was truly the alchemy of the war. This history explores its dangers and its healing potential, revealing how the arms race was also a race for chemistry, to the extent that Germany's thirst for fertilizer to feed the creation of their shells nearly starved the nation. It answers question such as: What is cordite? What is lyddite? What is mustard gas? What is phosgene? What is gunmetal? This is a true picture of the horrors of the "Chemists' War."


message 34: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new)

Jerome | 4364 comments Mod
An upcoming book:
Release date: April 20, 2017

Medicine in First World War Europe: Soldiers, Medics, Pacifists

Medicine in First World War Europe Soldiers, Medics, Pacifists by Fiona Reid by Fiona Reid (no photo)

Synopsis:

The casualty rates of the First World War were unprecedented: approximately 10 million combatants were wounded from Britain, France and Germany alone. In consequence, military-medical services expanded and the war ensured that medical professionals became firmly embedded within the armed services. In a situation of total war civilians on the home front came into more contact than before with medical professionals, and even pacifists played a significant medical role.

Medicine in First World War Europe re-visits the casualty clearing stations and the hospitals of the First World War, and tells the stories of those who were most directly involved: doctors, nurses, wounded men and their families. Fiona Reid explains how military medicine interacts with the concerns, the cultures and the mores of the civilian world, treating the history of war-time military medicine as an integral part of the wider social and cultural history of the First World War.


message 35: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Thank you Jerome and Jill


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