The Times Past theme this month is “Treatments”, click the link to check it out.
I’m a Baby Boomer and lived in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia.
Looking back I think we were a healthy lot, we survived the measles/mumps/chicken pox diseases and I can’t remember much else apart from recurring Tonsilitis for which I was prescribed big, pink Penicillin tablets that could have choked a horse.
Probably our most common treatment for anything and everything was a hot water bottle. I don’t use one now, instead I’ve substituted a microwaved wheat bag . Very comforting on sore tummies and backs!
One treatment that immediately came to mind though seems just ridiculous. If we got a bee sting Mum would dab the spot with a laundry “Blue Block”, these were designed to be put in the rinse water to make whites appear whiter. I’m sure the only thing they did for our bee stings was highlight them and invite sympathy.
I remember seeing my brother with purple feet because he soaked them in a Condy’s Crystals solution to try and get rid of his Tinea.
Calamine Solution was the treatment for rashes, hives and sunburn. I have no idea how it was supposed to help other than being cold though the pale pink residue did help to camouflage the redness. Once, after sitting in a boat all day, I had a bad case of sunburnt thighs, Dad put butter on them. I can remember it melting but not soothing.
Dad also was a great believer in the power of “Bovril”, a salty, meat extract he mixed in hot water. He brought a cup to me when I was in bed nauseous and with stomach cramps, it was probably the worst thing he could have brought but I didn’t let him know that. The smell certainly did nothing to make me feel better.
Colds called for Nyal Decongestant, Vicks Vapor Rub and Eucalyptus Oil. Dad could chew Hudson’s Eumenthol Jujubes but they were too strong for me. I still use Eucalyptus Oil frequently and used Vicks Vapor Rub with my own children, they do help clear stuffy noses.
Cuts and scrapes all got the Solyptol treatment ie a wash in water with a dash of Solyptol added.
On a window ledge near our back door was a little box with sharp pocket knife, I can’t remember what else was in it but I hated the whole notion of that box. It was the “snake bite kit” and we were supposed to cut the area where the snake had bitten and suck the poison out. Fortunately despite snakes being around we never had to use it.
For a few years an old auntie lived with us and she was always taking Ford Pills and Bex Powders. I can still remember the advertising jingle, “Ford Pills, keep you really regular, buy Ford Pills.” A Bex powder and a “good lie down” were supposed to help any woman’s problems but apparently after they were banned in 1977 the incidence of Kidney Cancer dropped dramatically.
One day I was fossicking about in a cupboard and saw a cute little green bottle, I unscrewed the top and took a sniff. It seemed to almost take the top of my head off, that was my introduction to “Smelling Salts”. I used to faint quite often when I was young but unlike in the movies Smelling Salts were never used to bring me round. I now have that little bottle but wouldn’t contemplate giving it to anyone to sniff.