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Pennies Saved and Pennies Earned: Taking the sting out of summer hazards

Written by Neal F. Litherland. Posted in Pennies Saved & Pennies Earned

Published on August 23, 2011 with No Comments

by Neal F. Litherland

Summer is a time for fun in the sun.

Whether you’re going to the beach, laying out by the pool, hanging out in the park or going for a bike ride on a favorite trail, there are many things you can be doing when out and about.

For every fun activity there can always be a downside, from sunburn and heat stroke to insect bites.

Rather than going to the store and buying expensive creams and lotions or staying inside and not having fun, it is best to know some simple, inexpensive remedies you can use to take care of your hurts and get back to enjoying the summer sun before it is gone.

And it should go without saying these are basic, homespun remedies that are meant for minor injuries and irritations. If you have a serious injury, seek prompt medical help.

Sunburns

One of the biggest complaints about summer time (or any season when you’re outside for long periods) is sunburn. Sunlight is full of radiation, ultraviolet rays, that your body has to counter with melanin (the genetic material that determines how dark your skin is). If you take in more than your body can handle, your skin burns, resulting in a red patch that’s tight, itchy and uncomfortable. Given time, sunburns heal naturally, but it can be an uncomfortable process. It can go easier.

The first trick to take the sting out is to use milk.

Soak a cloth in cool or cold milk and then lay it over the sunburn. It will help take the sting out of the skin. You can also apply raw, sliced cucumbers or potatoes to the affected area to help cool it and reduce inflammation.

If you want to stop a tan from forming (as some people prefer not to go for the dark look) then apply cold tea bags on the area of your skin while recovering from sunburn. Additionally, you can never go wrong with applying a cool lotion that has Vitamin E in it, as that helps the skin heal faster.

Heat Stroke

If you have spent too much time in the heat, you run the risk of heat stroke. When you start feeling light-headed and too hot, get out of the sun and into a cooler place.

You need to bring your temperature down by steps. A quick way to do this is to take an ice pack and place it in your armpit.

While it might feel like your head is hottest, cooling down your core body temperature via the armpit or the stomach is a much more effective way to bring down your temperature. It also works for fevers, once summer has gone and winter has taken its place.

Insect Bites

Insects are perhaps the second biggest troublemakers when it comes to good times in the great outdoors. Mosquito bites, and any other bites that itch, can be a huge pain that’s only made worse if you scratch. If you rub a bar of soap over the bite though, it will take out a lot of the itch. The same goes for hot water.

Whether you take a hot shower or use a heat compress, it will temporarily make the itching go away. A more unusual solution though it to put a piece of scotch tape over the bite. This both takes away the itch, and makes it much less likely for you to scratch. For double-effectiveness, dab some rubbing alcohol on the bite and then put the tape over it.

General First Aid

While not only found by those in the outdoors, cuts and scrapes are always a huge pain to deal with.

In your kitchen are basic ingredients for a First Aid kit. If you need to disinfect a wound, but if you don’t happen to have any Neosporin (a First Aid antibiotic ointment) around, put some honey on it.

A dab of honey on a wound that has been cleaned with soap can help insure that it heals over cleanly and that no infection sets in. Another handy condiment for cleaning up bloody messes is, oddly enough, plain black pepper. If the wound is clean, apply some black pepper and pressure. Pepper is an analgesic and it has antibacterial properties. Best of all though, it has no sting when applied to a wound to help stop bleeding.

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About Neal F. Litherland

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Neal Litherland is a Valparaiso resident who has been a freelance writer for several years. A graduate of Indiana University, he holds a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. He offers advice on money-saving tips using common-sense tactics. He welcomes suggestions and comments. Contact Neal: neal@thechroniclenwi.com.

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