Carbolic Acid vs Mercurochrome vs Merthiolate vs Alcohol {YEOWW!}

So I slipped and fell this morning, most inelegantly, my hand held in front of me to avoid an even more painful face plant, and that hand came in for a nasty landing on the asphalt, subsequently s-l-i-d-i-n-g , ggsssshhttt, across whatever mix of sand, gravel, and broken glass that happened to occupy 1st Ave @ 51St Street. Ow ow ow. Fuck ow ow ow. No I’m all right. I’m fine. Ow ow ow. Goddammit. Ow.

Stop off at deli on the way home and buy a bottle of hydrogen peroxide. Once home, wash newly rally-striped gravel-speckled red-oozing hand with water, gently rinse and scrub out pieces of 51st St ow ow shit ouch oh ooh aaagh oh oww and then douse slowly but liberally in the hydrogen peroxide oh hmm ooch hmm umm oh ok.

That got me thinking. When I was a kid and did myself in and came limping or hollering back to the house dripping blood, it wasn’t hydrogen peroxide they poured on me, oh no sir. If I was at home, they came at me with rubbing alcohol. oh haAAAh OH OW YEEEEOOOOWWWW OH OH oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh OW oh ooohhhh. Yeah, gool ol’ 70% isopropyl. If I was at my Mom’s Mom’s, though, Grandma would take out a brown bottle with a glass thingie in it, had a bead at the end of the long glass staff, and a drop or two of Mercurochrome would cling to it, and she’d daub the glass bead against my owwie oh ah OW YAAH HO AUGGGG NO OWWW LEGGO OWWWW YEWOOWW oh OWWW ow ow ow ow ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh oh oh omigod yeah Mercurochrome, with the glass applicator.

But things could be worse. There was my other Grandma. Dad’s Mama. The same one who, if you came in from playing with dirt on your face would come after you with the washrag and a tight face, you know, “Gimme that face” ::scrape scrub scour:: oh ho uh huh …and she had her own wicked brown bottle and it’s name was TINCTURE OF MERTHIOLATE. No glass applicator in this one, just a pinhole, and you applied it by shaking it onto the wound, like applying soy sauce or Tabasco sauce to your food. (Y’know, Tabasco would’ve been an improvement). oh YEOW HELP HELP AAAAAAAAAUGH!!!AIEEEEEEEEEEEEE OH AUGH OOOH YAIII AAAAA IIIIII AIIIHHH AIIIIH HHHHAAAHHHHH OOW OOOWOOWOWOOWO YEEEEEE ohhh AAAHHH!!! oohohoh ohohoh oh o h ushh uh huhhhh ::klunk::

::AHunter passes out on bathroom floor::
OK, you equally elderly or moreso survivors of childhood antisepsis horrors – what was the worse infection-preventer you’ve been tortured with?

My dad used to wash out my wounds with rubbing alcohol and comet. Hurt like a motherfucker, but they never did get infected.

Pansy. :slight_smile:

Mercurochrome is no longer on the store shelves. It’s pretty toxic.

Comet?! :eek:

I only recall Bactine from my childhood, for the most part, though I seem to have memories of grandparents with iodine and other substances. Maybe they just got used on my cousins, or maybe I’m suppressing the memory. :stuck_out_tongue:

A few months back, I went through my small bin of medications, throwing out the expired ones. While I was at it, I threw out a mess of gauze and medical tape that I had, as I hadn’t needed it at all. Fast forward a couple weeks, where I slip and fall on my front (concrete) steps - two weeks before I’m supposed to stand up in a friend’s wedding - and just scrape the hell out of the skin right below my knee. I painfully limp into the house, turn on the water in the bathtub, and wash out the wound. Then I wrap a dark blue towel around the wound, while I try to scavenge for some kind of bandage. All that gauze would have been useful. My main first aid kit is in the car (from summer trips), but there’s a tiny kit with a small roll of tape and some gauze pads. I patch myself up as best as I can, and get my husband to buy some more supplies when he gets home. Maybe if I buy some iodine I can ward off even more injuries…

Apinol, which is an antiseptic but has the smell of Lysol. It leaves your wounds smelling pine forest fresh!

Wait. They used to sell stuff with mercury in it?

Mercurochrome was some great stuff! I’d get cut, and my mommy would paint a smiley face with the red Mercurochrome. Awesome!

If you’re looking for some nice, painful fun with topical curatives, use an undecylinate-based cream the next time you get jock itch. Preferrably if you’ve let the jock-itch sit for a while so that the fungus has made the area nice and red.

The experience is not unlike the Box of Pain at the beginning of Dune.

Jock itch. Box of pain. Heh!

Um, my folks just used soap ‘n’ water, IIRC. These days, I just use water and triple antibiotic ointment.

Most of the pain was from the alcohol these preparations contained, sort of a one-two punch. :eek:

OK folks, time to dispell a myth, which is also a pet peeve of mine:

Cuts and wounds should not be treated with an *antiseptics * like the above solvents: peroxide, Iropropylic alcohol, etc. etc.

This is because what kills the bacteria also kills the surface layer of cells in your wound, coating the wound with a layer of dead / damaged cells. This makes healing slower and more difficult.

Proper minor wound care is to wash wit lots of clean water* and a mild soap, rinse with plenty more of clean water, and cover with a bandage. Change the bandage every 12 to 24 hours. If the area around the wound becomes red, tender, and puffy, you can apply some *antibiotic * ointment like Polysporin. If your’re a belt & suspenders person, like me, you can apply the ointment from the beginning.

My sources are two first aid courses, the Red Cross one, and the St-John’s Ambuilance one, as well as confirmation by Mrs. Trupa, M.D.
*Gross trivia fact of the day: Human urine is biologically sterile. The wastes contained in urine are merely chemical. Unless a person has a urinary tract infection, which does hurt enough to be noticed, there are no bacteria in urine. So, believe it or not, if you’re stuck in the wilderness, your own urine is a sterile medium that can be used to flush out contaminants from wounds.