Pirate MD: Do You Have Scurvy?

Diseases affect pirates of all ages, backgrounds, and from all walks of life- in the Atlantic Pirate FlagOcean alone, there are approximately 5 million new cases of pirate-related diseases (PRDs) every year. Getting the facts about PRDs is becoming increasingly important. After all- a stich in time saves nine. It is for this reason that the International Buccaneer’s Alliance (IBA) seeks to educate freelancing pirates the world over on the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of PRDs. Today’s PRD is Scurvy.


Pirate ShipIntroduction: Scurvy, also known as “Pirate Mange,” is the medical term for a severe vitamin C (ascorbic acid) deficiency, caused by a severe shortage of vitamin C in the body. This vitamin can be found in a variety of fruits available at exotic ports-of-call, especially oranges, lemons, and grapefruits.

Vitamin C is vital in maintaining healthy bones and teeth (but not wood or gold tooth replacements), as well as aiding the body’s absorption of iron and helping to heal any cutlass wounds. Many pirates suffer from scurvy every year, due to their unbalanced diet of salt pork, sea biscuits, and spiced rum.

Symptoms: Symptoms of scurvy will appear after approximately one to three months of sailing the high seas, when vitamin C intake stops.

Symptoms include:

  • General discomfort
  • Tiredness
  • Increased feelings of seasickness
  • Lack of desire to mutiny
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Difficulty loading muskets and blunderbusses
  • Swollen and bleeding gums
  • Loosening of teeth
  • Too much pooping
  • Wounds healing slowly or not at all
  • Pillaging deficiencies
  • Inability to commune with parrots
  • Dry skin and hair

Diagnosis: If you think you have scurvy, there are several simple tests you can perform Ailing Piratesto determine whether or not this is the case:

  • Cut yourself with a dagger or cutlass. If the wound takes more than a day to heal, you have scurvy.
  • Sit in the crow’s nest of your galleon for an hour. If one or more teeth spontaneously fall out of your mouth, you have scurvy.
  • Fetch a small sack of dubloons. Clutching it in your right hand, strike yourself upon the right thigh. If deep bruising occurs, you have scurvy.

Treatment and Prevention:

If you have scurvy, getting back to health should be of primary importance to you. Luckily, scurvy is easy to treat. By improving your diet to include plenty of fresh fruit, the symptoms of scurvy will begin to disappear within a day or so.

Remember- ignorance is the fertile ground in which PRD(Pirate-Related Diseases)s grow, so do your best to keep informed and keep healthy. This pirate health announcement has been brought to you by the International Buccaneers Alliance.

Thank you, Alex Berg, for sending us this informative article!

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