Sunday, 19 June 2011

A fistful of flour

Today, my mom had a nasty scald when trying to transfer boiling soup between the pot and the bowl. The liquid spilled all over her hand, and immediately there was visible redness, swelling, and excruciating pain.

My aunt had previously sent her an email containing a story about some Vietnamese veteran's wondrous burn remedy - flour. Remembering the contents of that email in her pain, my mom grabbed a fistful of flour and held it as a compress on the affected area.

Within minutes, there was completely no residual pain although some redness was still evident. She applied a second dusting of flour, and within the hour there was no sign that there had ever been any scald.

Honestly, if I had read that email, I would probably have dismissed the story out of hand, as another of those urban legends that come about as an unfortunate by-product of information overload on the Internet. If I had been beside my mom at that point of time, I would never have let her apply the flour compress and made her apply Burnol instead. Which meant my mom would probably be nursing a large raw blister now rather than staring in amazement at an uninjured hand.

First lesson learnt: always keep a packet of flour handy for burn/scald accidents. Second lesson learnt: never be too sceptical. A healthy dose of scepticism makes you streetwise, but always be game and open enough to try something new. The tongue-in-cheek quip is right: "To assume is to make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me'". Indeed.

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