When I was growing up my grandparent’s bathroom was a veritable who’s who for over the counter medication. There was something in there for everything. There was Ex lax for constipation as well as an enema bag. Paregoric for mouth pain and Doan’s pills for back pain. There was also Carter’s Little Liver Pills. I have no idea what they were used for.
There was also an emetic called Syrup of Ipecac. This was to induce vomiting in case you swallowed something harmful. This was back before the days of antibiotic ointment so there were a number of remedies for minor cuts and scraps. There was methionine and Mercurochrome. These both had mercury in them. You might as well be putting the stuff that came in mercury thermometers on your cut.
There was also iodine. Another toxic substance. There was Bactine for insect bites and a can of oily 6-12 to keep them from biting you. We had Noxema on hand to sooth sunburn as well as Calamine lotion. There were a couple of cold remedies like Vick’s Vapo Rub and the Vick’s inhaler that you stuck up your nose if it was stuffed up. And some very nasty tasting cough syrup as well as horehound drops for a sore throat. Come to think of it, most of these remedies had the potential to cause you more harm than good.
All of the above remedies were put to use often. It was because us kids were always getting out fair share of cuts and scrapes. We’d fall and rip our jeans, be covered in insect bites and bee stings, and fall off of our bicycles every time you turned around. A lot of times we’d get in fights and my grandmother would turn into a ringside fight doctor.
The summertime was the worst because we spent a lot more time outside where we could get injured. According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch: “Some of the most common summer dangers for children are a big part of summer’s fun: bikes, pools, trampolines and campfires.”
“Dr. Kathy Nuss, associate medical director of Trauma Services at Columbus, Ohio’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and a team of doctors, have narrowed down a list of the most common mechanisms of injuries that send children to the hospital during the summer. This list is an excellent reminder for simple ways to help your children have a fun and safe summer.”
The first on the list is falls. A lot of falls occur when children are on the playground. Next is bicycle injuries. Nearly 400,000 children under the age of 13 go to hospital emergency rooms for falls off of bicycles each year. To round out the list, doctors see a lot of burns in the summer and not always from fireworks although they are a leading cause. Older children get flash burns from campfires and cigarette lighters while younger kids get scald burns from pulling hot food off of the stove and things like that.
And finally there are a lot of drownings in the summer. Be sure to watch your child if he is in the swimming pool. Drownings can occur in as little as a few inches of water.