Home Health Remedies for Summer Ailments

Before rushing to the hospital with bee stings, food poisoning, or heat exhaustion, try these doctor-tested home health remedies first.

| June/July 1994

It's summer, a time when our thoughts naturally turn to fantasies of fun in the sun. But sometimes the pursuit of happiness results in the unexpected self-infliction of pain. Maybe you ate a bad hot dog. Or stirred up a nest of flying, stinging insects. Or just stayed out too long and now look like a human-shaped cherry popsicle. Whatever the trouble, you need a little Rx, for your summer ailments. The follow doctor-approved home health remedies may be able to provide it.

Bee Stings

Bees usually don't go looking for trouble. If you don't bother them by poking around their nests, chances are you'll never get stung. And even if you do, most bee stings cause little pain, usually lasting from a few hours to a few days. Unless, of course, you're allergic, in which case you need emergency care. But for the vast majority of the population, a little tender loving care is all you'll need.

Scrape out the stinger 

One of the best ways to remove a stinger — and avoid any additional pain — is to "scrape" it out of the skin with a credit card, a knife or a long fingernail, advises John Yunginger, M.D., professor and pediatrics consultant at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. "The biggest mistake people make is trying to pull the stinger out. In doing that, you squeeze the tiny venom sac attached to the stinger and accidentally release more venom into your skin." If you scrape the stinger out, this sac goes undisturbed.

Rub with aspirin 

"Rubbing a wet aspirin on the area where you were stung can help neutralize some of the inflammatory agents in the venom," says Herbert Luscombe, M.D., professor emeritus of dermatology at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. If you are allergic or sensitive to aspirin taken by mouth, though, you shouldn't try rubbing it on your skin.

8/11/2007 12:09:48 AM

While its OK for most of us to double our dose of anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen, advil, motrin, etc. AKA NSAID's) NEVER double up on acetaminophen (tylenol) as this is extremely dangerous and toxic to your liver. The NSAID's are processed by our kidneys but acetaminophen is processed by our liver. We only have one liver so we need to protect it.

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