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Scorbutus

Discussion in 'Civil War Medical Terms' started by lelliott19, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. lelliott19

    lelliott19 Sergeant Major Forum Host Trivia Game Winner

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    index.jpg

    Scorbutus
    is a medical name for Scurvy - the symptoms of which are inanition (the exhausted state due to prolonged under-nutrition), debility, anemia, and edema of the dependent parts; spongy condition sometimes with ulceration of the gums and loss of teeth; hemorrhages of the skin and mucous membranes; poor wound healing - resultant from a lack of vitamin C.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2017
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  3. TinCan

    TinCan Captain Forum Host

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    That is why our British friends are sometimes referred to as "Limeys" because they used the juice of limes to prevent the disease on long sea voyages.
     
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  4. FarawayFriend

    FarawayFriend Captain Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

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    Sauerkraut is also an excellent source of Vitamin C. But as the sailors were sceptical, Captain Cook used a trick to make them eat the healthy stuff: he said only his officers should be allowed to eat it. Thus he provoked protest, the sailors wanted to get the same food as the officers - bingo!
     
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  5. Waterloo50

    Waterloo50 Captain Silver Patron

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    Speaking as a Limey, I think that this is a great post.:thumbsup:
     
  6. PeterT

    PeterT 2nd Lieutenant

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    For years, in the mornings, I have had hot water with lime (half or quarter of the lime depending on size), squeezed and the skin thrown in as well. No sign of scurvy!

    Taken at least 10 minutes before breakfast, it is meant to aid digestion. Don't know about that, but it must assist in reducing onset of cold/flu.
     
  7. Waterloo50

    Waterloo50 Captain Silver Patron

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    This was written by a Naval Chaplain.

    skin black as ink, ulcers, difficult respiration, rictus of the limbs, teeth falling out and, perhaps most revolting of all, a strange plethora of gum tissue sprouting out of the mouth, which immediately rotted and lent the victim's breath an abominable odour.

    There were strange sensory and psychological effects too. Scurvy seems to have disarmed the sensory inhibitors that keep taste, smell and hearing under control and stop us from feeling too much. When sufferers got hold of the fruit they had been craving they swallowed it (said Walter) 'with emotions of the most voluptuous luxury'. The sound of a gunshot was enough to kill a man in the last stages of scurvy, while the smell of blossoms from the shore could cause him to cry out in agony. This susceptibility of the senses was accompanied by a disposition to cry at the slightest disappointment, and to yearn hopelessly and passionately for home.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
  8. JohnW.

    JohnW. First Sergeant

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    I would much rather had a lime every morning rather than what my sister and I got.....a teaspoonful of castor oil. Yum Yum :sick:
     
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  9. AndyHall

    AndyHall Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    From the blockade book:

    Sailors in the Union navy were generally a healthy lot, healthier on the whole that their counterparts in the army. This was due in large part to the fact that the navy was able to draw on long-established experience in keeping men healthy at sea. Most of the hundreds of naval officers appointed during the war came from the merchant service and thus had a solid background in shipboard management. The same was not true of the army, which had no counterpart in the civilian world and called upon the leadership of newly commissioned officers drawn from every professional background imaginable. Both afloat and ashore, more men died of disease than from combat, but about one in twelve Union soldiers would die of illness during the war, compared to about one in fifty Union sailors. . . .

    Scurvy remained an ongoing problem for the navy, particularly among the blockading squadrons. Scurvy is a nutritional disease caused by a lack of vitamin C, which is commonly found in fresh vegetables and fruit, particularly citrus. Scurvy causes a general debilitating weakness, anemia, skin hemorrhages and gum disease and can be fatal. Although mariners in nineteenth century did not know the exact mechanism of scurvy, they had a good empirical knowledge of both of its treatment and prevention. As a result, occasional cases of scurvy among the blockaders came about not through ignorance or carelessness but due to the extremely long and complex supply chain that made it difficult to keep the fleet stocked with fresh provisions. The problem was especially acute for those ships and men of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, who stood at the end of a very long supply chain. Winfield Scott Schley, a naval officer who would later rise to fame during the Spanish-American War, recalled that during his time on the blockade off Mobile, scurvy “was only avoided by the occasional relief which came to them afterward from the steamers bringing supplies of fresh meats and vegetables in amounts about enough for two or three days. The diet for the rest of the month was composed mainly of salted meats, cheese, hard bread, bad butter, inferior coffee and positively bad tea. It is indeed a wonder that the efficiency of the personnel was maintained at all under such condition.” At one point in the summer of 1862, the problem of scurvy had become so serious that Farragut had to send three ships of his command to northern ports to recover. Scurvy in particular seems to have plagued ships whose distance from regular sources of supply was extreme. Over the next three years, there were regular reports of the disease from vessels off the Texas coast where, as Farragut noted, “the ships are in much need of [vegetables] to avoid scurvy.” The Union sailing vessel Midnight, for example, spent nine months in 1862 on continuous blockade duty, most of it on the Texas coast. During that time, her officers and crew had fresh provisions for just twenty-four days. When she was eventually relieved on station and returned to the fleet anchorage at the mouth of the Mississippi, some forty men—more than half her crew—were on the sick list with scurvy, dysentery and diarrhea. Afflicted vessels on the Texas blockade at various times included Brooklyn and, on at least two separate occasions, the bark William G. Anderson.
    A friend of mine, a nautical archaeologist, likes to use a crude barnyard analogy involving nursing piglets to describe the difficulty of supply to USN vessels stationed off the Texas coast, a situation that contributed much to the prevalence of scurvy and other health problems among their crews. I won't repeat it here, though.
     
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  10. E_just_E

    E_just_E 1st Lieutenant Forum Host

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    Unrelated question, if I may: Who is this guy on your avatar and where have you found it?

    Thanks.
     
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  11. JohnW.

    JohnW. First Sergeant

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    The pic is Brig Gen Richard B. Garnett painted from a photo I think...there is a photo of him that looks exactly like the portrait. I found it on Google. I typed in his name and then clicked on images and there it was.
     
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  12. FarawayFriend

    FarawayFriend Captain Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

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    We had a discussion about Garnett's pictures in another thread, but we had not seen that picture there. Maybe you are interested in that discussion:
    http://civilwartalk.com/threads/richard-garnetts-ride-to-death.106229/page-2#post-987647

    - End of deviation -
     
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  13. JohnW.

    JohnW. First Sergeant

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