The skills of our grandmothers didn't stop at the kitchen garden or household. They were also responsible for the medical care of the family and animals. As the dog days of summer end I think of the things my mother did to keep us healthy and feel they should be included.
Dog Days are the hottest, most sultry days of summer in late July and August. We are definitely there although the heat is no longer in the 100 degree range here but everything is still, almost stagnant. With almost 6 inches of rain this month the mosquitoes, chiggers and ticks are terrible.
This is when as kids mama always started feeding us those little yellow lemon flavored cream of tartar and sulfur wafers. It was to prevent what she called Indian Fire. Indian Fire is actually a skin condition called Impetigo. As kids we would get mosquito and chigger bites and then scratch them. Running around all summer playing the germs would get in those bites and once one kid got it everybody did because it is highly contagious. These little yellow wafers were great. I wish I could still find them for my grandchildren. Of course they worked and were cheap so naturally they are no longer available.
This is what Wikipedia had to say about Impetigo!
Impetigo is caused by streptococcus (strep) or staphylococcus (staph) bacteria. Methicillin-resistant staph aureus is becoming a common cause.The skin normally has many types of bacteria on it, but intact skin is an effective barrier that keeps bacteria from entering and growing in the body. When there is a break in the skin, bacteria can enter the body and grow there, causing inflammation and infection. Breaks in the skin may occur with:
Injury or trauma to the skin
Impetigo may also occur on skin where there is no visible break.