The Plague Doctors mask – scary…but why?

The plague epidemic influenced the world three times. During the plague epidemics, where millions of people died, doctors wore a beaked outfit. So why were the doctors wearing this strange outfit?

Nowadays, when we are struggling with the COVID-19 virus pandemic, old disease outbreaks are necessarily coming to the agenda. Plague among the disease outbreaks is also on the agenda. The plague caused millions of people to die during three major epidemics.

During the plague epidemic, where millions of people died, doctors struggled to save people’s lives. Doctors working to treat people throughout the plague epidemic wore a suit with a mask with a bird-like beak in. These clothes, which were worn in the 17th century, were thought to protect doctors against the weather they thought the disease had spread. The truth, however, was very different.

The Doctors Plague Mask – who’d want a GP visit if they were wearing this?

The development of the costume that doctors wear during the plague epidemic is attributed to Charles de Lorme. Meets the medical needs of many royal members in Europe, according to de Lorme’s recipe, the costume that had to protect against the plague was supposed to be: a jacket covered with scented wax, trousers tied to boots, a compressed shirt, hat and gloves made of goat leather.

The part of the dress developed by Charles de Lorme, which was worn as a mask, looked interesting. The doctors wore a mask with a beak-shaped 15 cm length with two holes filled with perfumes around the nostrils.

During and before the plague epidemic in the 17th century, people thought that plague would be transmitted through an imbalance in a person’s body fluids or through toxic air. The clothing worn by doctors during the plague epidemic was also designed to protect doctors from toxic air for this purpose.

The mask used by the doctors contained a paste made of more than 55 items. Charles de Lorme, who developed the mask, applied to this design, considering that the mask with this paste will clear the air received by doctors.

The methods of spreading the plague were obviously incorrect when designing the costume of Charles de Lorme. In years later studies, it was understood that plague was transmitted from animals to humans by liquid or tissue contact through flea bites, sneezing or coughing.

The interesting costume developed by Charles de Lorme should not have provided protection to doctors during plague outbreaks…but it sure would be a great character for a horror movie.


Professor P.T. Brown


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