Take the Sting Out of Summer
6 Solutions to Bites & Burns
It’s summertime and the living is easy—at least until insects or the sun cause unexpected discomfort. Here are some natural ways to recover quickly so you can get back to fun in the sun.
Bites and Stings
Here are some at-home treatments for common summertime bug bites and stings. Note that if you are experiencing extreme symptoms such as dizziness, vomiting, hives, trouble breathing, or have a known allergy, it may be best to seek professional medical attention.
As soon as possible, scrape away the stinger with a flat edge or your finger. This will stop the venom from releasing into the blood stream.
Once the stinger is out, tape an apple-cider vinegar soaked cotton ball over the sting. This will reduce redness and swelling. A cold compress or an ice cube will also help reduce inflammation, itching, and pain.
Rub an ice cube on the bite right away to minimize redness, itching, and swelling.
Apply a drop of peppermint oil or a dab of toothpaste to the bite. Either one will provide a cooling effect. Menthol is also a classic coolant and skin soother. Look for anti-itch creams with the ingredient menthol.
After gardening or spending any time in the woods or tall grass, strip off your clothes and check your body, head to toe, for ticks.
If you find an unattached tick, flush it down the toilet. If you find a tick attached, use tweezers to get a firm grip at its head and gently pull upward to extract the tick from your skin. Do not yank because a forceful, quick motion may result in some of the tick’s mouth-parts being left behind in the skin and risk an infection. Put the tick in a sealable plastic bag with a few drops of alcohol. Set aside.
Wash the bite site with warm water and soap. Dab the bite site with rubbing alcohol.
If a rash develops after a few days, go to the doctor (and bring the sealable plastic bag). In addition to checking the bite site for infection, the tick itself can be tested for Lyme disease.
Solutions to Heat and Sun
Too much time spent unprotected in the sun can lead to sunburn, so when the skin heats up it’s time to cool it down.
A cold compress or a cool shower is a great first step to cool the skin. Afterwards, apply aloe-vera, a medicinal plant whose clear gel provides soothing, cooling relief.
Another option to reduce heat coming from the skin is to apply a washcloth soaked in cooled black tea. The tannic acid draws heat away.
High temperatures, humidity, overexertion, and prolonged periods of time spent outdoors are the perfect environment for heat exhaustion. As the body begins to overheat, it sends out warning signals such as profuse sweating and a rapid pulse.
When this occurs, do not delay. Stop activity and get out of the heat—preferably somewhere inside with air conditioning. Elevate the feet and drink water.
Bring the body’s temperature down by taking a cool shower or putting cold compresses on the skin.
For most people, symptoms of heat exhaustion will start to improve within 30 minutes. However, if symptoms do not improve after 30 minutes, seek medical attention.
Unlike heat exhaustion, there is no sweating. Symptoms include hot, dry skin, body temperature greater than 104 degrees, headache, and delirium. Heat stroke is life threatening and if suspected, call 911 or seek professional medical attention immediately.
Heat Stroke is the most dangerous of heat related conditions.
Stay well this summer by being proactive: drink water, protect your skin, check your surroundings for insects, and avoid overexposure to the heat and sun. However, should you find yourself on the other side of too much of a good thing, seek natural remedies for a relief so you can get back to enjoying the Summer.
Information presented by W(h)ealth should not be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Consult a doctor and/or medical professional before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition.