What Hygiene And Health Was Like In Medieval Europe

The medieval era or the Middle Ages was a period in European history that began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and ended with the Renaissance. Although it was an incredibly eventful time, it isn’t exactly remembered for its emphasis on hygiene and promoting healthy living. Plague and disease were a constant threat to those living during that time period and medical practices were nothing short of barbaric. Take a look to see what hygiene was like in the Middle Ages and how vastly different it was from what we consider to be appropriate today.

Without Forks, Food Was Often Contaminated

Although spoons and knives were available at the time, forks weren’t, which resulted in much of the lower class eating with their hands. While this might not seem like the worst thing, considering that we still eat many things with our hands today, back then, their hands were far dirtier.

Nobles banqueting
The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images
The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images

While we frequently wash our hands with soap and water, this was uncommon back then, with most people didn’t even wash their hands after going to the bathroom, working with animals, or worse. This resulted in a lot of people getting sick by contaminating their food.