Old Medical Terms

Ague – An intermittent fever characterized by alternate cold and hot fits.  Malaria.

American Plague – Yellow Fever

Apoplexy – A stroke

Bad Blood – Syphilis

Beriberi – Thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency affecting the heart and nervous system

Blackwater Fever – Severe form of malaria in which the urine contains so much blood that it appears black

Boil – An abscess of the skin

Catarrhal – Inflammation of the mucous membranes in the nose or throat, causing drainage

Chin cough  – Whooping Cough

Cholera – Severe, contagious, diarrhea illness

Coryza – A cold

Costiveness – Constipation

Dropsy – Abnormal swelling of the body or part of the body often caused by heart or kidney disease

Dysentery – Inflammation of the large intestine associated with frequent stools containing blood and mucus

Falling Sickness – Epilepsy

French Pox – Syphilis

Great Pox – Syphilis

Grippe / La Grippe – Influenza like symptoms

Infantile Paralysis – Polio

Intermittent Fever – Illness with episodes of fever alternating with normal temperature.  Generally refers to Malaria

Lockjaw – Tetanus

Malignant Sore Throat – Diphtheria

Miasma – Poisonous vapors thought to infect the air and cause disease

Nettle Rash – Urticaria/hives

Phthisis – Chronic wasting away.  Tuberculosis.

Putrid Fever – Typhus

Putrid Sore Throat – Severe pharyngitis (infection in the throat), specifically strep or diphtheria

Quinsy – Peritonsillar abscess, or collection of pus next to one of the tonsils as a result of bacterial infection in the throat

Remitting Fever – Malaria

Scrofula – Tuberculosis of the lymph glands, especially in the neck

Scurvy – Vitamin C deficiency leading to weakness, spongy gums, and bleeding under the skin

Ship Fever / Jail Fever – Typhus

Spotted Fever – Meningitis or Typhus