Public Health and Social Justice in the Age of Chadwick

Most minor cases of illnesses are treated and can be managed at home. The traditional approach of health has become common in the day to day world (Helman, 1978). In the past, illnesses were believed to be a result of satanic possessions or witches. Good health was brought about by balance in people, which included a balanced diet, exercises, and sleep. If you got sick, it meant there was some imbalance (Heaman and Hardy, 2002). The theory of Miasma, developed in the mid-17th century, leads to the interest of improving hygiene and sanitation. It resulted from poisonous gases that came from decayed matters in the soil and stagnant water and unhealthy jobs (Hardy, 1999). It made people be careful of their environment and make it clean and clear stagnant water.
Helman’s work was based on the concept of ‘feed a cold, starve a fever’. Changes in temperature, for example, a fever is seen as one’s carelessness (Helman, 1978). If a person exposes him or herself to cold, rainy weather he is bound to get sick so if people keep warm when needed it can prevent infection and for those who already get a cold can manage the sickness at home by resting in bed and eating and drinking hot food and drinks(Hardy, 1999). Helman’s work tried to explain treatment in a lay-mans language instead of scientific ways that are complicated to understand especially for ordinary people (Helman, 1978). Although sickness at times is beyond our control, the best way of preventing sickness and promoting health is by people to take responsibility for their own health.
Hardy, A. (1999). Edwin Chadwick Revisited Christopher Hamlin, Public health and social justice in the age of Chadwick: Britain, 1800–1854, Cambridge History of Medicine series, Cambridge University Press, 1998. Medical History, 43(2), pp.255-259.
Heaman, E. and Hardy, A. (2002). Health and Medicine in Britain since 1860. Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies, 34(2), p.347.
Helman, C. (1978). ‘Feed a cold, starve a fever’ – folk models of infection in an English suburban community, and their relation to medical treatment. Cult Med Psych, 2(2), pp.107-137.