Medicine in the Seven Kingdoms, and in the Known World, often plays a key role in the quality of life of its inhabitants. In addition to common healers, midwives, and bonesetters there are a number of different orders practicing medicine such as the Maesters of the Citadel.
Commoners usually do not have access to a Maester's services, like those who are rich or members of noble houses do, and have to rely on travelling barbers, local healers, midwives, hedge wizards, woods witches and their own knowledge of herbs.
Wounds are often cleaned with boiling wine or treated with Myrish fire or firemilk, both of which burn on contact. Maggots may be used if a wound is going rotten, as the maggots eat out the rotten parts. Maesters also learn to stitch wounds closed and can use poultices containing mustard seeds, nettles, and bread mould to prevent infection. Leeches are also used to drain bad blood that builds up in wounds. Pain can be dulled with potions containing opiates such as milk of the poppy or dreamwine, or by chewing willow bark. Vinegar is used to disinfect surgical instruments.
Fractured limbs are immobilized using plasters until the bones are joined up. Moon tea is used as contraceptive and to deal with unwanted pregnancies.
Diseases & Illness
Minor colds, fevers, and fluxes are rarely deadly or even seriously debilitating. The bloody flux is quite serious and often deadly. Whores often carry unpleasant poxes and venereal diseases. Though the sufferers of such diseases rarely find much sympathy, fortunately most of the symptoms are minor though embarrassing.
A number of diseases can be contracted primarily during childhood. Redspots is common but it never kills anyone under the age of ten, and once you have had it you are immune to it for the rest of your life. However, adults who did not contract it in childhood remain at risk of infection. Greyscale is rarely fatal to children, but nearly always fatal to adults. It makes the skin grey and hard as stone and often leaves it's survivors disfigured.
List of known diseases and illness:
- Bloody flux
- Butterfly fever
- The Great Spring Sickness
- Grey plague
- Greywater fever
- Shaking sickness
Many poisons are used throughout the Seven Kingdoms and in the East. Although the Maesters of the Citadel study the histories and qualities of various poisons in addition to their healing arts, their use seems to be more widespread in the free cities and the assassins guilds.