Gentian violet is something that your great grandmother may have used. It is a antiseptic dye that has been around since 1890. It has been used for everything from treating minor cuts to skin infections.
While it is still available without a prescription in most drug stores it has been replaced in many of its uses by more modern medicines. However, this does not mean that it is ineffective; it is the cheapest and most effective of any non-prescription medications of its type. One downside to it is that it is a violet dye and will stain clothing and leave a temporary stain on skin.
Gentian violet has uses beyond being used to treat miner cuts and abrasions. It is also used to treat fungal infections of the skin including ringworm, athlete’s foot, jock itch, oral candidiasis (oral thrush), and vulvovaginal candidiasis (vaginal thrush) and some bacterial skin infections such as infected eczema, boils, and chronic leg ulcers. Be careful applying this to open leg ulcers since this may cause a permanent “tattooing” of the skin.
In the past midwives used it to prevent infection in the umbilical cord stump in newborns.
If you develop redness, swelling, or irritation after application, you may be allergic to it, discontinue its use and get medical advice. According to Drugs.com, there are no known drug interactions for gentian violet applied topically.
Using Gentian Violet
Read and follow the instructions included in the packaging. But if you have lost them, here are a few basic guidelines.
- Apply gentian violet to cover only the affected area.
- If you are using gentian violet to treat areas in the mouth, avoid swallowing any of the medicine.
- If you are using gentian violet in a child’s mouth, make sure that none is swallowed
- Do not apply an airtight dressing over gentian violet. It may cause irritation of the skin.
This is an inexpensive non-prescription solution to a variety of irritating skin problems that preppers may encounter without modern hygiene. However, remember that I am not a Doctor and do not have any special medical training. If you have any question, contact a medical professional.