View Full Version : Diseases that would leave scars

01-24-2015, 04:45 AM
So I'm working on a medieval fantasy story which disease plays a large part of. I have a character who I've decided caught something when he was little that left a lot of little scars, and I was wondering what might do that. My original disease of choice was measles, but there's probably something that would leave more scars, which is what I'm looking for since it's one of the first thing people notice when they look at him.

He got sick when he was about seven, so I'd prefer something that would be pretty awful in a child that age but still give him a chance of survival with medieval treatments. He's a prince so he'd probably have the best treatment possible, but let's face it medieval treatments probably hurt more than they helped...

So any suggestions?

01-24-2015, 04:48 AM
Pox. Chicken or Small. Possibly Cow.

Deb Kinnard
01-24-2015, 04:52 AM
Smallpox leaves definite scars that the people of that era would've recognized as such. At worst, they were disfiguring. At best, the patient was left with very few or none at all.

Measles can leave scars, and so can a bad case of acne. Wonder what the contemps used in place of Clearasil?

I've read that bubonic plague left deformities on some of the people who survived. For example, a bubo in the neck might leave a survivor with a neck permanently twisted toward that side. I've also heard varying statistics on whether there even were people who caught the plague and recovered, so it's anyone's guess at to which authority has a lock on the truth of the matter.

01-24-2015, 05:13 AM
Well that was quick!

Going on this I'll probably go with smallpox, as he wouldn't have really been exposed to cowpox and chickenpox isn't quite as awful as I need.

After looking up measles scars I saw they weren't quite as striking as what I wanted so yeah.. although that is a good question. A lot of natural remedies have witch hazel, so that may be an option... actually after a quick google search for curiosity's sake I found this-
Dunno how reliable it is, but it makes a bit of sense

I thought about the bubonic plague for a bit, but the survival rate is so low no matter how you look at it that I don't believe a seven year old boy could very well have survived, and the buboes leave scars bigger than what I want.

Thank you both!

King Neptune
01-24-2015, 05:13 AM
The common disease that left scars was smallpox.

01-24-2015, 10:36 AM
On smallpox: if you've read a 19th century novel that describes a character as having a "riddled face", that actually a description of smallpox scars.

01-24-2015, 03:26 PM
If it's fantasy you can make up your own disease.

01-24-2015, 09:27 PM
Smallpox is the disease most associated with visible scars. They can be as minor or disfiguring as your story requires.

01-25-2015, 12:13 AM
If it's fantasy you can make up your own disease.

+ 1

01-25-2015, 02:32 AM
I've actually gone and looked up images of smallpox scars because of all the suggestion, I don't know that I would have thought of that wording. Thanks for that TheNighSwan. I'll probably go ahead and find a few specifically for that purpose.

It's fantasy and I make my own diseases in it quite frequently for that story, but since this was something that was only mentioned in passing (A good 20 years after he had the disease) I wanted something I could reference by name once or twice and not have to really explain it to terribly much.

I'll agree with that. And it's especially nice that it's one I can play with the level of disfigurement for.

01-25-2015, 08:02 AM
Smallpox is the most obvious one.


01-25-2015, 08:43 AM
I suppose acne could be considered a disease.

01-26-2015, 05:54 AM
George Washington had pretty bad smallpox pock-marks from what I've read. I think he had it as a child.