In a reddit post showing the 'Causes of death of london in 1632' Theres a few causes that seem weird.

But the one the caught my attention is 'Rising of the lights'. The best I've seen is that Lights = Lungs, but still Rising of the lungs seems to go nowhere.

So what is a Rising of the lights?


1 Answer 1


According to the Glossary of Old Medical Terms by Craig Thornber:

Rising of the Lights: croup - any obstructive condition of the larynx or trachea (windpipe), characterised by a hoarse, barking cough and difficult breathing, occurring chiefly in infants and children.

which backs up the speculations in Correspondence in the British Medical Journal, Dec 1926.

Croup is a respiratory condition:

Croup, also known as laryngotracheobronchitis, is a type of respiratory infection that is usually caused by a virus. The infection leads to swelling inside the trachea, which interferes with normal breathing and produces the classic symptoms of "barking" cough, stridor, and a hoarse voice. Fever and runny nose may also be present.

  • As you noted, croup is usually caused by a virus. More specifically, it's typically caused by parainfluenza, which is part of the paramyxovirus family.
    – Ray B.
    Feb 17, 2020 at 3:04

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