Superstition and ignorance reigned during the Middle Ages, a time when characters we now consider to be simply from fairy tales; pixies, trolls, hobgoblins and so on, were thought to truly exist. Health was controlled by the stars, and affliction was a sign of impurity of the soul-a curse from God.
Disease was a constant concern, as was infection from injuries. Hygiene was not always a priority and medieval diets were lacking in vital nutrition. Barbers doubled as surgeons, and a good bleeding was often the cure prescribed.
Medieval science progressed slowly, and treatments for the sick were quite often out of reach, especially for the poor. But little by little, doctors were learning information that led to better cures, and understandings of how diseases were transmitted.
Hospitals began to be constructed, and schools established for those wishing to practice medicine. Superstition remained, and medieval science certainly did not have all the answers. Information lost from the burning of the library at Alexandria by Christian zealots was slowly being rediscovered.