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The Right Cure For What Ails You

Summer promises plenty of fun, but can also have bad surprises in store that may ruin the day. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but we’ve also got some tips for you if the damage is already done.

Sunburn. Avoid it by using sunscreen and taking shelter in the shade when UV rays are at their strongest. If you’ve got a nasty burn, take a lukewarm bath or apply a wet towel to the affected area. Aloe gel is also a good option to reduce discomfort.

Athlete’s foot. Sweat and lack of ventilation are the key ingredients of this infection, which is caused by a fungus and manifests through a cracking or whitening of the skin between the toes. Over-the-counter antifungal creams help speed healing, but if you don’t have any on hand, cornstarch or baking soda can relieve pain while keeping your feet dry. See your doctor if the problem persists.

Mosquito bites. The best course of action is to dodge those vampire bugs entirely: sit near a fan indoors, wear long clothing and use eucalyptus oil or some other repellent when you go into the forest or near water. Got bitten anyway? You can soothe the itch with over-the-counter ointments or, although it’s not proven, you could try rubbing the bites with the inside of a banana peel.

Small cuts or scratches. Clean the wound with water and mild soap, or rinse it under running water for a few minutes. You can then apply an ointment or a bandage to protect it from external contaminants—if you’re at the beach or in the woods, for example.

Bee or wasp stings. First, check if the stinger is still stuck under your skin (you’ll see a small black dot). Don’t use tweezers to remove it; it might cause more venom to be released. Instead, use a credit card or a blunt knife to dislodge the intruding object by pushing it out of the skin. Afterwards, clean the bite with mild soap and apply cold to reduce swelling. One more handy tip: use baking soda to promote healing.

Dehydration. If you’re feeling the effects of dehydration or heatstroke (dry mouth, dizziness, weakness, etc.), take shelter in the shade or indoors. Of course, you need to drink fluids, but stay away from sugar-packed sports drinks; good old water will do the trick. You can also apply cold towels to your wrists and neck to cool down. Finally, make sure to test your blood sugar regularly.

Poison ivy. If you touch poison ivy, you’ll feel a stinging sensation instantly. Quickly wash your skin with running water, for at least five minutes, to dilute the oils that are causing the itching. Calamine lotion or ointments can bring relief, but beware of cortisone-based formulas, as they may drive up your blood sugar.

Naturally, we hope you’ll have a wonderful summer and never have to deal with any of these problems—but if they do occur, at least now you’ll have some remedies in mind!

Based on:
Roche, “Remedies for Common Summer Ailments”: Accessed February 1, 2016.

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