Many years ago I lived in a small seaside cottage north of Townsville, north Queensland. The small house was right on the beachfront with the sea at the front and mangroves at the back.
It was in the days when dogs could roam free without getting picked up by the council. We had a gorgeous purebred border collie called Sheppie. She spent a lot of time on the beach joining in cricket games or joining groups having picnics. She even joined council workers for their morning smoko. She used to get fan mail in our letterbox saying how gorgeous she was, and could they buy a pup if she ever had any.
One day she came home with a deep wound in her back. She had been attacked by a wild boar in the mangroves. His tusk had pierced her back. We took her to the vet and he cleaned and packed the wound. I had to do the dressings twice a day. It involved soaking large strips of gauze in 1:9 solution of bleach to cold water. I used to put one capful of ordinary household bleach to nine capfuls of tap water to make the mixture. It was wonderful and the wound never got infected and healed well.
Over the years, whenever anyone in the family got an external infection I bathed it in the diluted bleach solution. I found it to be better than antibiotic creams or Betadine.
I thought about this recently when I had an infected ingrown toenail. It was really hurting on a bushwalk, especially when I was walking down hills. I couldn’t cut it because it was so swollen, red and painful. I was thinking about a trip to the doctor or podiatrist when I remembered the bleach treatment.
I made some and swabbed my toe a couple of times a day for two days. All the redness, swelling and pain disappeared and I was able to cut the nail, which fixed the problem. I was telling my bushwalking friends about my home fix and they were very interested.
One Sunday afternoon, many years ago, my son who had moved out of home and was living with friends in a share house arrived with huge red swollen infected earlobes. He had been using stretches to enlarge the holes in his earlobes. They had become infected. I immediately wanted to take him to the hospital or doctor and if it hadn’t been Sunday I would have. I didn’t like the idea of a long wait at the hospital because the GP clinic was closed. I bathed them with the diluted bleach solution. It worked and his ears healed well. Eventually, he decided he didn’t like the huge holes in his ears anymore and he went to a plastic surgeon and got them repaired back to normal.
You do need to be very careful using bleach. I keep it well away from children and don’t use anywhere near my eyes. It can irritate mucous membranes, skin and airways. Always only use in well-ventilated areas and mix it with cold water. Hot water decomposes the sodium hypochlorite and stops it being effective. Bleach can corrode metal and damage painted surfaces.
Sheppie did go on to have two litters of pups. The first ones were purebred but the second lot weren’t.
She wasn’t a great mother. She was a ‘good time girl’. Sometimes I had to go and pull her out of the sea to come home to feed the pups. I had to wash the sand off her nipples first. She had a great life. She loved the bush and always came camping with us. If she hadn’t been gored by that wild boar’s tusk I would never have been able to treat my ingrown toenail problem.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never use bleach anywhere near your eyes. Keep it away from children. Do not drink it.