Thursday, April 8, 2010

Disinfecting Properties of Magnesium Sulfate

When I was in St John, I accidentally kicked a rock with my flippered foot in rough water at Cinnamon Bay with a downward flipper motion. Then, later that night, after a good deal of rum, I stumbled along a rock paved path outside the condo, and bashed it again, this time against the tip. Even with the rum, it hurt like crazy. I washed it, and figured, ok, I'll probably lose the nail.

After being home for 2 days, the toe was pretty red, and swelling some, so an idea struck me. Any bacteria that thrives on human skin - that tends to cause infections - is not gong to thrive in a massively saline environment. So I began to soak my toe (and the whole foot) in a strong solution of magnesium sulfate - Epsom Salt. First night, for an hour while watching DVR'ed Daily Show and Colbert, I put it in a large, shallow Lock-n-Lock. I covered the bottom of the container in a 1/4 inch of magnesium sulfate, and then 3/4rds of an inch of water. Foot immersed, the toe nail was just covered in a super saturated saline solution (no where near the sea shore).

My size 11 foot barely fit, so I upgraded to a Tidy Cat litter bucket, (that I previously disinfected with Lysol) into which my foot fit in comfortably the 2nd night. About 1/2 an inch of salt, 3/4rds of an inch of water, foot immersed, lots of white goo began to ooze out, the 2nd and 3rd nights, for an hour each night. MMMMM, yummy. Each night, the swelling reduced and the pain subsided. By the 4th soaking night, smashed toe was the same size and color as un-smashed toe, and caused no more pain. The super saturated saline soakings were discontinued.

Now, almost a month later, the left toe nail is still hanging on, and a new root nail beneath is slowly growing out and pushing the damaged one forward, millimeter by millimeter. I'm tempted to get a pair of pliers and just PULL it off to hasten the progress, but it's not flappin in the breeze yet, and I want to keep the old one around as a "guide" for the new one, avoiding ingrown possibilities and misalignment.

So Magnesium Sulfate is not only good for soaking aching bones in a warm bath, and for it's supposed laxative properties (read on the label, but never ingested, ew - I eat enough salad and fiber, thanks)... but it is also good for killing sub cuticle bacteria infections as well!

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