How to improve hygiene (and medicine) in 18th century Europe?

It's all in the title. I'm looking for a way to develop hygiene and medicine in the Europe of the 1700s (of course this can be extended to the rest of the world afterwards). What gestures or practices could develop a majority of Europeans that could improve their life expectancy?
For my part I was thinking of the practice of bathing or at least washing hands. I said to myself that the aristocracy would have to start practising it for it to spread to the lower strata of the population but I don't know how.
Any other ideas you have to share with me?
 
The immediate idea that springs to mind, snarky as it may be, is to look for, at and in some reasonably
reputable sources on 18th century European hygiene and sanitation in order to get a picture of what
the actual situation was.

I've been given the impression that one of the issues with baths as we know them was the time and
effort involved in getting a sufficiently large volume of water sufficiently hot.
So people took sponge baths instead.
 
No one else to advise me?
I was wondering if it was possible that the "miasmas theory" could evolve and guess the origin of diseases by the presence of dirt and unhealthiness?
 
The idea of waterborne diseases. In a way it really ought to be obvious from empirical evidence that you need to keep your sources of water clean.

Of course, this would require alternatives to develop in sewage systems, or at least to develop a rudimentary way of disinfecting sewage
 
One thing I always worry about with TLs that have medicine evolve faster which invariably means rudimentary antibiotics is that antibiotic resistance develops before science has figured out how to identify/extract/synthesise alternatives.
 
One thing I always worry about with TLs that have medicine evolve faster which invariably means rudimentary antibiotics is that antibiotic resistance develops before science has figured out how to identify/extract/synthesise alternatives.
I understand the fear you raise. But I imagined simpler things to begin with. I was thinking, for example, that people should wash themselves more regularly by changing their relationship to grime. Or the premise of safety by realizing that mixing polluted water with drinking water contaminates the latter (no matter how they imagine contamination at the time). And if medicine and antibiotics have developed, I don't see why they could not understand the principle of the latter. If science is moving faster in this field they wouldn't need to take as long as in OTL to discover the beginnings (and then the dangers) of antibiotics.
 
I understand the fear you raise. But I imagined simpler things to begin with. I was thinking, for example, that people should wash themselves more regularly by changing their relationship to grime. Or the premise of safety by realizing that mixing polluted water with drinking water contaminates the latter (no matter how they imagine contamination at the time). And if medicine and antibiotics have developed, I don't see why they could not understand the principle of the latter. If science is moving faster in this field they wouldn't need to take as long as in OTL to discover the beginnings (and then the dangers) of antibiotics.
The idea of waterborne diseases. In a way it really ought to be obvious from empirical evidence that you need to keep your sources of water clean.

Of course, this would require alternatives to develop in sewage systems, or at least to develop a rudimentary way of disinfecting sewage
Do you have any ideas for a sanitation system they could put in place?
 
The immediate idea that springs to mind, snarky as it may be, is to look for, at and in some reasonably
reputable sources on 18th century European hygiene and sanitation in order to get a picture of what
the actual situation was.

I've been given the impression that one of the issues with baths as we know them was the time and
effort involved in getting a sufficiently large volume of water sufficiently hot.
So people took sponge baths instead.
Getting sufficiently large volume of water alone could have been a problem in the age of one well per street if that.
One thing I always worry about with TLs that have medicine evolve faster which invariably means rudimentary antibiotics is that antibiotic resistance develops before science has figured out how to identify/extract/synthesise alternatives.
Rudimentary antibiotics are long way from anything 18 century could invent.
No one else to advise me?
I was wondering if it was possible that the "miasmas theory" could evolve and guess the origin of diseases by the presence of dirt and unhealthiness?
Have you ever heard the tragedy of doctor Semmelweiss?



Want improvement? Invent vaccination a century earlier. Saves hundreds thousands people a year.
 
Getting sufficiently large volume of water alone could have been a problem in the age of one well per street if that.
I intended that to be implied in the phrasing. :)
Although "one well per street" would not necessarily be an issue for the aristocracy.

Want improvement? Invent vaccination a century earlier. Saves hundreds thousands people a year.
But that would take us out of the discussed/requested 18th century and into the 17th... :oops:
 
If it starts slightly earlier in the 17th century, I don't have a problem with that.
Getting sufficiently large volume of water alone could have been a problem in the age of one well per street if that.

Rudimentary antibiotics are long way from anything 18 century could invent.

Have you ever heard the tragedy of doctor Semmelweiss?



Want improvement? Invent vaccination a century earlier. Saves hundreds thousands people a year.
Who is this doctor ?
Edit: I've done some research and yes, I do remember hearing about it. Did any 18th century doctor/scientists have an idea equivalent to their time?
 
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If it starts slightly earlier in the 17th century, I don't have a problem with that.

Who is this doctor ?
He was a doctor in Austria Hungary who noticed that women giving birth in the hospital wing manned by doctors and medicone students die couple times more often that those giving birth in the wing run by midwives (it was a catastrophe - women preferred to give birth on the streets than in that hospial). Why is this the case he asked himself, and eventually came to the conclusion that the reason must be that doctors doing autopsies of women who died of birthing fever and then helping women deliver babies carried some kind of contagion on their hands. He ordered his subordinates to wash hands, and surprise surprise, number of deaths dropped significantly. But Unfortunatwly this went against the dominant theory of the time, and docgors considered washing hands above their dignity, campaigned against him, he was fired and eventually ended in mental institution where he died in mental institution. Of blood poisonong.

Read the wikipedia article on him if you have time
 
Lots of stuff needed first. First that comes to mind is the Scientific Method. Then better microscopes. Then the germ theory. Then medical aseptic techniques and why. Better soaps and shampoos. Hand washing. Frequent hot soapy baths or showers. Safer water. Sanitary deep dug wells. Septic systems that work. Cleaner urban areas. More cats? Fewer rats. Perhaps a strong nobility/ruling class or government that understands the above and who has the power to back all of this up with strong enforcement.

Just a start. Oh ... tooth brushes. Fermentation. Tracking down disease causes. Did you know that rum mixed with lime juice prevented scurry? See what good rum
does? :)
 
There is a quote in a Terry Pratchett Guards novel about a restaurant having good hygiene because the chef washed his hands AFTER preparing his roast rat. After all, you don't want people walking around with rat on their hands.

It sort of sums up the completely different mindsets you are fighting against.
 
Do you have any ideas for a sanitation system they could put in place?
Well, there are obvious OTL examples - large drains, that take the sewage away from the habitation, and dump it out at sea, or at least far downriver.

Also, getting fresh water into habitations by aqueducts - after all the Romans did this. It means that whatever you do with the river, there is fresh water coming in
 
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