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Summer 911 – Natural Remedies For Summer’s Maladies

Bee stings? Berry stains? Swimmer's ear? These tried-and-true natural rescues for summer's common maladies will ensure you enjoy the season until the leaves fall!

Summer’s here! While thoughts of long, hot, lazy days at the beach, family boating on the lake, tasty cookouts, and camping under the stars are joyful ones, to say the least, seasonal dilemmas can change a day of summer “fun” to “done.” What can you do? We’ve got some tried-and-true natural summer remedies—many found right in your kitchen or pantry—to make sure you have fun right through to the first falling leaves.

Problem: Heat Rashes

Aloe to the rescue!

Fix: A regular ice pack will cool down a rash. Apply every few hours if necessary. If desired, or for larger areas, take a tepid bath with baking soda or oatmeal to calm the burn or rash at first, dusting with cornstarch or more baking soda afterward. Aloe, whether in plant form, gel or lotion, is also recommended. After cleansing and gently drying the affected area, apply cooling, soothing aloe as many as six times a day to relieve itching and speed healing.

Problem: Sunburn

Man getting sunburned at the beach

Fix: While ice is not recommended for sunburns, applying cool or cold compresses throughout the day can help relieve pain. As with a heat rash, a tepid bath with baking soda or oatmeal can also calm affected skin areas (use caution in soaking too long, or skin will dry out further). Aloe is highly recommended in the same application as for heat rashes.  Also, give cucumbers a try—they’re often used for sunburns. Simply slice one open and wipe it directly on sunburned skin. Or try this unusual remedy!

Problem: Swimmer’s Ear 

Fix: Flush with a 50/50 solution of rubbing alcohol and white vinegar four times a day, using an eyedropper or syringe.

Problem: Bee Stings

Fix: Many concur it’s best to ease out the stinger with a credit card. Pulling it out can break the sac, releasing more venom. After the stinger is out, an ice pack can reduce swelling and mitigate pain. A paste made of baking soda and water neutralizes the effects of the sting. Apply honey for its antibacterial properties to lessen the risk of infection.

Problem: Sprayed By A Skunk

Fix: To remove skunk spray odor from skin, fur, or fabric, mix 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, and a few drops of grease-cutting liquid dish soap. Work into the affected area, rinse, and reapply as needed.

Problem: Poison Ivy Rash

poison ivy

Fix: While the ability to identify the plant in the first place will go a long way in precluding exposure to this bothersome and painful rash, if you find yourself a victim, some say mashing raw potatoes in a blender or food processor and applying the paste to the affected area does much to quell swelling and itch. Reapply often.  Or try one of these remedies for relief!

Problem: Itchy Bug Bites

Fix: Reach for the toothpaste!  Regular toothpaste, when applied to an insect bite (especially fire ant bites) will immediately relieve itching.  Additionally, a fresh cut onion quickly applied to a sting will prevent swelling and redness, and will stop the pain.

Problem: Frizzy Hair

Fix: Exacerbated by humidity, so-called “frizz” is the result of dry, brittle, or coarse hair that lacks moisture and/or protein. Shampoo only once or twice a week, if you can get away with it, using a gentle shampoo. Conditioners that contain castor or coconut oil, or Shea butter, will help keep frizz in check. Be sure to avoid alcohol-containing styling products, as it will dry out the hair. Vegetable glycerin added to a finishing product can tame frizzy hair (be careful of using gels, as they tend to dry hair in the long run). Some women swear by smoothing a little hand or body lotion onto their palms, then running them lightly through clean, dry hair for a final shield against humidity. Take advantage of clips, barrettes, and headbands.

Problem: Berry Stains

Fix: Who doesn’t love diving into a bowl of sweet, fresh strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries in season? But what if some of that sweet-tart juice escapes your mouth and lands on your favorite shirt? For that unsightly stain, rinse the area well with water, then soak in white vinegar (apple cider vinegar can discolor the fabric). Let soak for several minutes or longer. Rinse again and launder. If the garment is white, try some whitening toothpaste. Dish soap mixed with a dab of peroxide on the stain can also help. Some also swear by a cut lemon: Rub it right on the stain and rinse. Works on berry-stained fingers, too!

This article was published by the staff at Farmers' Almanac. Interested in becoming a guest author? Contact us to let us know!

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Barb S.

For sunburns…use refrigerated Noxema (just put the jar in the fridge for awhile, then rub it on the affected areas…AND it will leave a tan and no more burn. Always worked for me.

Lorrie

Comfrey works wonders on most burns & cuts. Mash a leaf (fresh or dried) on pad or band aid, apply to wound, leave several hours or over night. Will draw out stickers thorns, etc. Also Aloe Vera is great for burns.

Susan Higgins

Hi Lorrie, yes, we agree. We mention aloe in the sunburn remedy. And take a look at this article that mentions comfrey. Great stuff! Want Great Skin? Head for the Garden!

Candee Silveria

One poured boiling chicken broth, complete with grease, over my hand. My husband filled sink with cold water and ice cubes, held my hand in it until the cold was painful, then again and again for 15-20 minutes. No ointments, bandages, or blisters. Next morning it was as if
it never happened! Couldn’t believe it! Has been my main burn remedy ever since! Also the baking soda paste for bee and insect stings, works great. Leave in place until dried.

Beulah

I got sunburned at the beach a long time ago and an elderly lady saw it and told me to douse myself in “old yellow” listerine. I did and to my amazement it worked wonders! I have used it for lots of “ailments” since then also.

Lori

We live on a farm and when bee stings happen we normally are not near the house. So a mixture of water and dirt which makes mud, put on the affected area, will take the sting away.

Frieda McMaster

Tobacco may not be healthy for smoking; however, those of us from tobacco-growing areas know that applying some tobacco mixed with your own spit and applied to bee sting will draw the poison and take away the sting. Water in place of spit might work, but we never did it that way growing up! 😀

Shannon

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar works wonders for sunburn. Just apply to a washcloth and lay on skin….it really takes the heat and sting out of it.

Coggins

Be careful with the cornstarch on heat rash. Used it once and my rash ended up being yeast rash. Cornstarch feeds a yeast rash and I ended up at the doctor’s office

Judy

Diane, Try Hydrogen Peroxide to get the blood stain out. It works on fresh blood stains but not sure on old ones. Put an old towel or rag under fabric when pouring peroxide on item so blood won’t bleed through and spread. Hope this helps!

Diane

Does anyone know how to remove old blood stains out of cloth?

nonamer

Great information ! Farmers Almanac Rules!

BotanicalGuides.com – Herbal Remedies

M.Peterson

A paste made of meat tenderizer used on bee stings will help a great deal. The pepsin in the tenderizer will dissolve the venom.

jsimler

I have used the baking soda, peroxide wash several times on my dog. It works!! However, never appy it to your dogs nose. A dab of Listerine mouthwash on the nose will remove any smell there.

Amber

Never had good luck with tomato juice. Last fall though, my dog was sprayed by a skunk and I found a remedy that called for baking soda, peroxide, and a small amount of dish soap. I washed him with that (outside!!!! it has fumes!) And the smell was practically gone. Don’t put that mixture in a closed container because it will explode. And wear rubber gloves. As for the smell around the house, that took a while. I would bring in wood during the winter from the pile, and it smelled of skunk!

Amber

I never would have thought tin foil would help, but I have already burned myself 3 times grilling so far….Accident prone and ready to try tin foil now.. Thanks

Dina

As far as skunk odor goes, our vet recommended mint mouthwash full strength and it worked great!

smyliep

Not sure if you are looking for more, I guess, good remedies…. But I recently burned (2nd degree) a couple fingers. The pain was so intense and nothing seemed to help. I found on the internet that applying tin foil helps to reduce the pain and incredibly it worked…. With summer and outdoor BBQ’s, the possibility of burns is there…..

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