Natural Summertime First Aid
Along with summer comes a host of maladies that can plague humankind. The sun, being closer to our earth can set our skin aflame with searing pain. Insects abound attacking and causing stings and bites. Even certain plant life, when touched, can cause itchy, excruciating rashes and blisters.
Practically everyone has experienced the painful blazing heat of a sunburn. The skin turns red, it feels hot to the touch and everything aches. In actuality the skin has been cooked by the rays of the sun and the first thing to do is to cool down the affected area. Immersion in a cool bath to which several tablespoons of baking soda have been added will stop the cooking process and cool the skin. If the face is affected, cold compresses should be applied. Diluted apple cider vinegar can be applied to the sunburned area. This should be done as soon as possible. Vinegar is an acid and return the pH level of the skin as near to normal as possible. An old fashioned remedy is to beat an egg until frothy. Gradually add 1 teaspoon Castor Oil while beating. Continue to beat until mixture becomes thick. Apply this to the skin. Wheat germ oil and salt water also eased the pain of a sunburn. After the damage is done the skin must go through a healing process. Application of Vitamin E oil or Aloe Vera Gel will speed up this process.
If blisters appear or heat stroke is apparent it is always best to consult a doctor.
Bee stings and mosquito bites are just a part of summer. Mosquitoes can leave itchy raised bumps on the skin that can become infected if scratched. There are several natural ways to stop this itching and avoid any infection. Immediately after being bit apply table salt to the bite which has been moistened with a little saliva. Apply a paste of meat tenderizer or a dab of toothpaste to the bite to stop itching. Rosemary or Lavender oil, both which have antiseptic properties, can be applied and both smell good as well. Witch Hazel will stop the itching of any mosquito bite as will sliced onion and garlic (does not smell good).
Bee stings are a little more complicated. First, the stinger must be removed or all remedies will be in vain. Crushed mint leaves rubbed on the sting will stop pain. Crushed basil leaves will prevent swelling and pain. Apply the juice from a honeysuckle vine or crushed parsley. Actually, any green leafed herb, flower or grass will do. Once crushed, it will release chlorophyll that is a natural pain killer. A moistened tea bag (not decaffeinated) used as a poultice will help as will a dab of honey. Other things that will prevent pain and swelling are bicarbonate of soda, sliced onion, diluted lavender oil or crushed garlic.
If extreme swelling or difficulty breathing occurs there is an allergy to bee stings. In this case DO NOT waste time with these remedies. Immediately seek medical help. It could be a matter of life or death.
Poison Ivy is another one of our summer dilemmas. Immediately after being exposed to poison ivy rinse the area with cool water. Cool water will contain the oils keeping them from spreading while warm water will distribute the oils everywhere. After washing cut open a green tomato and squeeze the juice on the area. To stop itching after the rash has appeared, mix equal parts buttermilk, vinegar and salt. Rub this into the rash. This will cause some pain at first but it will calm the irritation quickly. A paste of baking soda and water acts like Calamine Lotion without the pink stains. Aloe gel is also very soothing. A dab of honey rubbed into the rash will heal it quickly. If the area is on the arms, hands, legs or feet apply honey and put a white cotton sock over it for the nigh. Cut the toe out of the sock and slip it over arms or legs. Jewelweed is probably the best remedy for poison ivy. This plant always grows near poison ivy and has little peachy orange flowers that, when ripe, will burst open when touched spreading its seeds. Break the stem of Jewelweed and apply juice immediately after contact with poison ivy. Another way to use this plant is to place a handful of the plant material in 2 pints of water and boils for 15 minutes. Cool, strain and apply to affected area.
If the rash covers a large area or is anywhere near the eyes, nose, mouth, ears or genitals, get to a doctor fast. If it spreads internally there could be terrible repercussions.
As will all plant remedies, watch for allergic reactions and if symptoms do not improve within 24 hours seek medical advice. In most cases, these remedies should work well.