Treatments: Times Past

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.

Blue blocks

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.

Calamine lotion

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.

Bovril2

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.

VicksCuts and scrapes all got the Solyptol treatment ie a wash in water with a dash of Solyptol added.

Solyptol

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.

smelling salts

 

 

 

7 thoughts on “Treatments: Times Past

  1. I remember most of these ‘treatments’, especially Vicks. hot water bottle, calamine, and even blue block. Your article brings it all back! We grew up in northern Canada, so no poisonous snakes, lucky us! We were very healthy, as well. and all of us (seven siblings) survived. We recently had a family reunion, and I’ve written about some of it in my blog. Thanks for this!

    • I’m stunned that things like Calamine Lotion and Blue Blocks were in common use across the other side of the world at the same time! I’m one of five children and we’re all still alive, Dad live to 98 so the “treatments” did him no harm.

    • I’m confused now, this is the comment I was referring to …
      Still the Lucky Fews
      15 hourswww.stilltheluckyfew.com
      I remember most of these ‘treatments’, especially Vicks. hot water bottle, calamine, and even blue block. Your article brings it all back! We grew up in northern Canada, so no poisonous snakes, lucky us! We were very healthy, as well. and all of us (seven siblings) survived. We recently had a family reunion, and I’ve written about some of it in my blog. Thanks for this!

  2. You’ve brought it back for me also. We used to have the laundry blue used not only for bee stings but also for blue bottle stings. My memory is that it worked a treat. Vicks and calamine lotion were in common usuage but I’d forgetten solyptol. I know we must have used it as I immediately recognised the bottle from your photo but my antiseptic memory hones in on Dettol. As kids we weren’t allowed hot water bottles and my only experience of them was visiting my husband’s father in England where he had put one in our bed. I thought it was lovely. Thanks so much for joining in. Like you, I find it amazing that so many of us, hemispheres apart, used the same remedies and even the same brands.

  3. Pingback: Changes in Treatment: Times Past | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

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