Sterilised Dusting Powder

Once again my thanks go to Martin Johnson for tonight’s object. The need to keep feet dry and sterilised has long been recognised by the army. Trench foot was a serious problem in the First World War and a scheme of regular foot inspections, changing into dry socks wherever possible and putting foot powder on was adopted to reduce the number of casualties from this preventable ailment. Even today proper foot care is an essential part of a man’s training and it is the officers’ and NCOs’ responsibilities to ensure that men follow the guidance and take good care of their feet.

Foot powder has long been issued and today it comes in a small white plastic bottle:imageThe contents of this bottle are mostly talc, but also include micota which combats athlete’s foot and sweat rashes. Like a civilian bottle of talcum powder, the top has a twisty lid that allows the contents to be sprinkled onto the user’s feet:imageOf course it is not just feet that this powder is useful for, anywhere that gets hot and sweaty for long periods of time can be dusted with the powder, such as the crotch and arm pits. A simple white label with details of the contents and an NSN number is stuck to the front of the bottle:imageInterestingly the powder has a shelf life of two years. I am assuming that this is a long as one could hope it would remain sterilised, the talc part of the ingredients remaining fine as long as it is kept dry pretty much indefinately. One soldier advises:

Good admin and foot powder is always a good start, No matter how well you waterproof the outside of a boot there is always a big hole at the top. Even if your feet don’t get wet from external water there is still sweat to be sorted. So sock rotation, foot powder, admin.
Oh and air them put a pair of flip flops in your pack for down time.

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