Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wednesday Weird: The Sweating Sickness

It's been, like, forever since I've had a Wednesday Weird, so I'm glad today we're back at it.

It's also been forever since we've done a weird disease so it seems like today is the day!

The sweating sickness.

So, it sounds kind of harmless, right? I mean, sweat.

But here's the thing. The sweating sickness will kill you deader than dead within a few hours. Prepare to be kind of creeped out in the way that all deadly diseases are creepy.

The Sweating Sickness begins with, awesomely, "a sense of apprehension" (great, right?) and from there it's followed by cold shivers, severe neck, shoulder and limb pain, headaches, and then giddiness.

All of that is considered the cold stage, which can last from 30 mins to 3 hours.

Then, you're into the sweating stage, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Sweating. Profuse sweating.

And then you die.

Well, sometime the sweating stage isn't immediately fatal, but when it isn't, it leads to additional sweating stages, and one of those WILL end you.

The Sweating Sickness first appeared in England in1485 and killed thousands of people within a year. Mostly because by the time anyone realized they had it, everyone else around them was already infected.

And, because it's not terrible enough, no one knows what causes it. Is it a bacteria? A virus? Who knows! Some people think that perhaps its an illness related to the hanta virus (which is terrible enough, as all hemorrhagic fevers are) but we really don't have enough information to know one way or another. All we really know is that it's popped up 6 times so far. Which, okay, that's not so bad.

Except, yeah it is. Because those six times it showed up were epidemics. So, yeah, we really don't want it showing up again.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Freaky disease all right. The hanta virus can kill quickly, so that might be it.

Crystal Collier said...

Yikes! Now that's great fodder for a disaster story, eh?

Rena said...

Hopefully, this is one of those diseases that burned itself out by being too deadly. That way we don't have to deal with it again.

Maria Zannini said...

Yikes! I hope if it shows up again we can diagnose and treat it.

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