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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / To Go/Brown Bag/Picnic/Camping/Potluck / Home Remedies for Common Summertime Ailments
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    Home Remedies for Common Summertime Ailments

    Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:50 pm
    Forum Host

    ~ Poison Ivy ~ Poison Oak ~ Stinging Nettles ~ Sunburn ~ Bee Stings ~ Mosquito Bites ~

    We’ve all experienced the painful bites and stings and burns that can turn a family picnic or a long hike in the mountains on a beautiful summer day into a miserable experience. But those warm summer months are meant to be enjoyed. So don’t let these common summertime ailments keep you from enjoying the outdoors. Take preventive measures whenever possible, but keep these handy remedies in mind for those occasions when you do find yourself covered in a rash or insect bites.

    The following sections offer only a few home remedies that provide quick relief of some of these common summertime ailments. When possible, I’ve featured remedies from helpful chefs who have posted their recipes on Recipezaar. But please feel free to post your tried-and-true home remedies for these, and any other, common summertime ailments and afflictions.

    ………………..………………………..………………..………… ~ Poison Ivy ~

    click for larger image

    Poison ivy is actually not a true ivy plant. It is found throughout much of North America, including all states in the U.S. (except Alaska). It is predominately found in wooded areas, open fields, and rocky areas. It rarely grows at altitudes above 5000 feet (1500 meters). But the plant can be a wide-spreading groundcover or as a shrub up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall. All parts of the plant (leaves, roots, stems and fruit) of poison ivy can cause a painful, blistering and itchy skin rash.

    Poison Ivy has almond-shaped leaves that grow in a ternate pattern or arranged in groups of three leaflets that grow together. There is an old adage “if it grows in threes, let it be”…which applies to both poison ivy and poison oak.

    Home remedies found on Recipezaar for relief of Poison Ivy

    ~ Healing Poison Ivy Rashes, Insect Bites With Banana Peel (by ~Rita~)

    ~ Poison Ivy Rash Relief (by mama's kitchen)

    Did you know - People who are sensitive to poison ivy can experience a similar rash from mangoes (as the skin of the mango contains a chemical compound similar to the irritant urishiol in poison ivy that that causes skin reactions for some people).

    ………………..………………………..………………..………… ~Poison Oak ~

    click for larger image

    Poison Oak is similar to poison ivy in that it grows in a ternate pattern in which the leaves appear in groups of three leaflets that grow together. Also like Poison Ivy, direct contact with the urishiol oil on Poison Oak leaves can cause a swollen, red rash that is painful and itchy. Your best combative measure is to avoid Poison Oak entirely. But if you do find that you have touched it, washing the affected area well with soap and water within 15 minutes of exposure can eliminate or reduce the rash. If you do end up with a rash, some remedies are listed below.

    ~ Milk of Magnesia or Calamine lotion (which can be purchased at department or drug stores) applied with a clean cotton ball or disposable cloth will help relieve the itching. You can also buy a zinc oxide ointment (zinc oxide is the main ingredient in calamine lotion).

    ~ If the rash has become blistering, make a paste out of baking soda and water. Apply the paste directly to the skin, and this will help dry it up (but it probably won't relieve the itching).

    ~ Applying an ice cube or cold running water over the affected area also brings relief. Ice cold milk also works to soothe the itch and also helps dry the rash.

    ~ Oatmeal bath granules purchased as a drug store can help to soothe the itching.

    ………………..………………………..………………..………… ~ Stinging Nettles ~

    click for larger image

    Stinging nettles grow to between 3 to 7 feet (1 to 2 meters) tall in the summer, then tend to die down to the ground in the winter. The soft green leaves are 1 to 6 inches (3 to 15 cm) long on a wiry green stem. The leaves can be recognized by their strongly serrated edges on the leaves. The leaves and stems are very hairy with non-stinging and stinging hairs. When touched, the tips come off, transforming the hair into a needle that will inject a mixture of chemical compounds that cause an intense sting which can last from only a few minutes to as long as a week.

    ~ To stop the sting of a nettle rash, prepare a thick paste from baking soda and water. Smear the paste on the infected region, and leave it on for a few minutes after which you will want to rinse if off and rinse the infected area with cold running water for a few minutes.

    ~ Administering anti-inflammatory creams and lotions (such as hydrocortisone) can help to reduce the pain and itch of nettle stings.

    ~ Many people have found that warm mud packs placed over the stinging areas can reduce some of the itching.

    ~ Hot water bath rinses can often provide relief to nettle stings.

    ~ Immediately upon contact with the stinging nettle plant, apply a generous amount of your saliva over the infected area, and later follow-up with a water/baking soda paste if necessary.

    ………………..………………………..………………..………… ~ Sunburn ~

    Sunburn is the burning of live tissue such as skin produced by the overexposure to untraviolet (UV) sunrays. Scientific studies reveal that the long-term effects of sunburns can lead to DNA damage and other conditions including non-malignant skin tumors and malignant melanoma, one of the more common skin cancers.

    The best sunburn prevention is to limit your time in direct sunlight, always wear protective clothing (such as hats, sunglasses), and always use a sun-block with a Sun Protective Factor (SPF) of 30 or 45.

    But despite best efforts, sun worshipers can still find themselves treating a sunburn. Here are a few home remedies for treating sunburns.

    ~ ~ Applying aloe directly over the sunburn provides relief for several minutes to a few hours

    ~ ~ Over-the-counter Noxzema cream. The cold cream will cool down the heat of the burn, and the active ingredients will provide temporary relief for a few hours. Re-apply as needed.

    ~ ~ Sunburn Relief (by ~Rita~)

    ………………..………………………..………………..………… ~ Bee Stings ~
    …………………..………..........… (intended for treating bee stings for people without allergies)

    click for larger image

    Bee stings can cause painful, swollen and red, itchy welts on the skin. If the person is allegic, seek immediate medical attention. Otherwise, swift attention can often keep the discomfort to a minimum.

    Once the bee sting has occurred, you first must find the stinger. Look for a raised red welt on the skin. Now look very carefully for a small black dot in the center of the welt, it will look rather like a very tiny splinter. After you have quickly located the stinger, pull it out as quickly as possible using either tweezers, or use a stiff, flat object (such as a credit card) to scrape out the stinger. This is imperative to get the stinger to quit pumping venom into your system.

    Next, you will first want to wash the area gently with soap and water, if available. If you are not near soap and water, see if someone has a first aid kit. If so you can use an alcohol swab to sterilize the sting area.

    The following home remedies help to provide temporary relief of the pain, itching and swelling associated with bee and wasp stings:

    ~ Caladryl lotion is often effective in soothing the pain and itch of a bee sting.

    ~ A paste made from vinegar, baking soda and meat tenderizer will fizz like a bubbling Alka Seltzer on your skin, but it will provide hours of relief from the unpleasant symptoms of a bee sting.

    ~ Toothpaste (the white kind, not the translucent gels) applied to the bee sting will tingle and reduce the far majority of the pain and itching left from a bee sting.

    ~ Ice! Yes, the trusty old-fashioned remedy of applying ice packs to the site of the bee sting is still considered one of the most effective treatments for reducing the pain, swelling, and itching of bee stings.

    ~ Bee or Wasp Sting Soother (by Little Mommy)

    ………………..………………………..………………..………… ~ Mosquito Bites ~

    Click for larger image

    The first step in mosquito management is to keep bird baths, plant urns and other areas free of collecting rain water and sprinkler run-off. Mosquitoes are attracted to water and will gather around bird baths and other water collection sties.

    Also, wear light colored clothing as mosquitoes are attracted to dark clothing.

    Keep your body covered as much as possible (including wearing a hat). Although mosquitoes can find their way through the fabric, keeping your body covered tends to cut down on bites

    One preventive measure is to rub citronella oil to exposed skin areas to help reduce the number of mosquitoes that will hover near you, therefore reducing the possibility of getting bitten.

    ~ Mosquito Bite Relief (by WI Cheesehead)
    Sun Aug 02, 2009 1:02 am Groupie
    Thank you NorthwestGal, great information! Saved to my favorites and also saved recipes to my Health and Beauty cookbook.

    I have a recipe saved in that cookbook that might be of help too. icon_smile.gif

    Homemade Gel Pack by JustaQT
    Sun Aug 02, 2009 5:41 pm
    Forum Host
    Lauralie41 wrote:
    Thank you NorthwestGal, great information! Saved to my favorites and also saved recipes to my Health and Beauty cookbook.

    I have a recipe saved in that cookbook that might be of help too. icon_smile.gif

    Homemade Gel Pack by JustaQT

    Thanks for the recipe link, Lauralie41. I'm going to look that one over and see where it would fit best in the sections above. Thanks!
    Barefoot Beachcomber
    Sat Aug 08, 2009 9:44 am Groupie
    Something I discovered this summer (that lots of other folks already knew) ....
    For bites of various kinds, bug and spider, you will have to experiment...
    'Absorbine Jr.'
    You dab it on, it seems to take 2 bouts of dabbing,
    and then, ta da!
    the itch is gone.
    Works really well on Mosquito bites. icon_exclaim.gif
    Thu Jun 24, 2010 6:40 am
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    As per my opinion "Garlic, scientifically known as Allium sativum, is a distant cousin to chives and onions.Garlic is not only rich in vitamins C, B and thiamin (vitamin B1), but also a very good source of minerals like potassium,Fulvic, selenium, phosphorus, calcium and manganese."
    Sat Jun 26, 2010 6:54 pm Groupie
    I have rubbed Jewelweed on Nettle sting and it works well. It often grows close to the nettles. According to this link, it works for poison ivy and oak also.
    Sat Jun 26, 2010 8:24 pm
    Forum Host
    Roger/OH wrote:
    I have rubbed Jewelweed on Nettle sting and it works well. It often grows close to the nettles. According to this link, it works for poison ivy and oak also.

    Oh gee, Roger. I hope it's not a bad case of nettle stings. But it's good to know that works so well. I'll keep it in mind.
    Sat Jul 03, 2010 12:03 am Groupie
    My family likes to dab on witch hazel for mosquito bites.

    The commercial product "After-bite" is basically ammonia with an applicator.
    Secret Agent
    Fri Nov 26, 2010 4:05 am Groupie
    I just stumbled on this thread and wanted to add my home remedies - maybe they will help someone NEXT summer!! icon_lol.gif

    Poison Ivy - If you think you have been exposed to it take a bath with a bar of Fels Naptha soap because it kills poison ivy spores. I am extremely allergic to poison ivy and so is one of my brothers. When we were toddlers we got into a patch and my grandmother told my mom to scrub us with Fels Naptha. It works! If you are too late and you get a case of poison ivy take a benadryl, take several cool baths during the day with powdered oatmeal in the water, use a topical potion on your blisters (generic stuff is fine), wear sunglasses and stay indoors and out of the sun until the blisters are healed - it will spread so wash your hands often with Fels Naptha and don't touch your face. According to Organic Gardening Magazine (years ago) URINE will kill a poison ivy plant. Train your dogs and your men....

    Sunburn - Dab on some cider vinegar. The funny smell will go away as it dries. You can put it in a spray bottle and keep it in the refrigerator for some comfort. Take cool showers as soon as possible and at least twice a day followed by vinegar spritz's. Stay out of the sun.

    Stings - Make a thick paste of Accent (MSG - it's the only thing it's good for) and put it on the owie. I always carry epi-pens because I am seriously allergic to bees so get a Medic Alert bracelet listing your ailments just in case.

    Headaches - Go to a quiet dark room. Massage the area between your thumb and forefinger, applying pressure. This helps me - I am allergic to NSAIDS so my options are limited. Sometimes a shower and shampoo will help. Massages help.

    Sore Throat - I have angioedema and often have throat swelling and sore throats. Lemons help a lot - lemonade, hot or cold with honey and sometimes even horseradish will help a sore throat. Tea with lemon and honey helps. Zinc helps.

    SA icon_cool.gif

    PS when we were kids my dad told us how to identify poison ivy plants - When camping, don't wipe your hiney with three leaves that are shiny. I think it's his hillbilly humor.
    Sun Nov 28, 2010 3:45 am Groupie
    Thanks for the tips!
    The sore throat advice may prove to be quite helpful to our household as we have all come downs with colds this week icon_sad.gif

    Bren icon_biggrin.gif
    Chef Shadows
    Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:53 pm Groupie
    If you are exposed to posion ivy, wash exposed body parts with white vinegar, repeat again in 24 hours. Jewelweed works great also.
    SweetsLady + 3
    Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:00 am
    Regular "Line Cook" Poster
    Tea tree oil works wonders on mosquito bites. My youngest develops huge angry welts from mosquito bites. I dampen a Q-tip with water, dip it into the tea tree oil bottle and then rub the bites. They stop itching almost instantly and the welts shrink SO much faster than they ever did on their own. However, I’ve heard pregnant/nursing women shouldn’t use tea tree oil.

    My family has always used evaporated milk for sunburns. (Just make sure you don’t grab condensed. It will NOT give you the same result. icon_eek.gif ) We keep a can on hand in the fridge during the summer just in case the need arises. Room temp will work just as well, but the cold milk feels heavenly on burnt skin. BEFORE you shower dab the milk thickly on sunburned areas and allow it to dry completely. You WILL stink at this point. Sorry. The worse the sunburn, the more coats we usually apply. Once that’s done, take a shower and you’ll find the redness and heat have greatly diminished. This can still be done even if you’ve already bathed, but the results aren’t as good.
    Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:02 pm Groupie
    Put some household ammonia on wasp stings immediately. If no ammonia is available, urine works almost as well. After all, you ARE in the wild and are not carrying your house on your back like a turtle! Pee on the ground and use the mud. Yeah, I know, but it works.
    So does the vinegar for sunburn. Cider vinegar not necessary, any vinegar will do.
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