I’ve always loved summer, including the longer days and warmer temperatures. But these hazy, lazy days can also come with their own health hazards. Here are five ways to keep the most common health hazards from spoiling the season for you.
- Bee stings. If you get a bee sting and you’re not allergic, use ice to quell inflammation and blunt pain, redness and itching. Place an ice cube or ice pack directly over the sting for three minutes then remove it for three minutes. Repeat up to three times. Then, apply a soothing paste of water and baking soda for 15 to 20 minutes. If you are allergic, seek medical attention right away.
- Ticks. To keep ticks at bay, cover up when you’re in the woods, and check yourself for ticks as soon as you come in. Adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil to your skin cream can help, since ticks hate the scent. Neem oil soaps and shampoos also serve as natural insecticides, repelling more than 200 insects including ticks. When outdoors in tick infested areas, you can also use scented Bounce dryer sheets in your pockets to repel ticks since they don't like the smell. If you do get a tick bite, watch for symptoms of Lyme disease.
- Sunburn. After a brief sun exposure of 10-20 minutes or less which is important for vitamin D production, I recommend covering up. If despite your best efforts you get sunburned, you can sooth it with gel from the Aloe Vera plant. Aloe contains amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and salicylate (an aspirin-like substance) to help reduce inflammation, pain, and blistering.
- Bruises. Take three to five pellets of the homeopathic remedy Arnica montana, under the tongue, and/or rub a topical homeopathic gel such as Arniflora or Traumeel into the injured area. An ice pack or used green teabag can also reduce the inflammatory process that leads to discoloration, pain, and swelling. Look in a health food store for these products and keep them in your first-aid kit.
- Motion sickness. If you’re taking a long car ride or boat trip and get nauseous, try ginger. The active ingredients in its essential oils counteract nausea and vomiting. I drank ginger tea while deep-sea fishing in the Kodiak Straits of Alaska and did not experience my usual seasickness. In a pinch, sip ginger ale or another carbonated drink. Saltine crackers can help settle the stomach as well.
Now it’s your turn: Do you have a tip to share?