8 Home Remedies for Summer’s Common Problems

When the temperature's out to set new records, the last thing you want is the pain of poison ivy or the burn of a blister. Here we offer inexpensive, easy remedies for those familiar troubles.

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    1. Sunburn
    Solution: Vinegar
    Vinegar contains acetic acid -- one of the components of aspirin. It can help ease sunburn pain, itching, and inflammation. Soak a few sheets of paper towels in white vinegar, and apply them to the burned areas. Leave them on until the towels are dry. Repeat as needed.

    See 10 more home remedies for sunburn

    NOTE TO OUR READERS:
    The information in this feature should not be substituted for, or used to alter, medical therapy without your doctor’s advice. For a specific health problem, consult your physician for guidance. Before using any of these remedies, especially if you have an existing medical condition, or are pregnant or breast-feeding, check with your physician. Some remedies may interact with prescription drugs, including the Pill and antidepressants; always do a 24-hour skin test before using. The publishers and author cannot accept responsibility for any damage incurred as a result of any of the therapeutic methods contained in this work.

    2. Heat Rash
    Solution: Baking Soda
    Sometimes it seems as if baking soda is good for just about anything, and it's certainly good for relieving heat rash. Soak in a tub to which you've added a few tablespoons of the powder. It will ease the itching and make you feel more comfortable while the rash heals. You can also add fine-ground oatmeal, which is sold under brand names such as Aveeno.

    Apply baking soda or cornstarch directly to the rash site to absorb moisture and sweat. This is an age-old approach, recommended by many country grandmothers. Some say cornstarch is better because it is softer on the skin. Reapply every few hours, rinsing and drying the skin beforehand.

    See more home remedies for heat rash

    3. Blisters
    Solution: Aloe Vera
    Keep the blister clean with soap and water. Smear some aloe vera gel on the blister and cover it with a bandage to help it heal. But be sure you use the pure gel of the plant. Some processed products contain ingredients, like alcohol, which have a drying effect.

    See more home remedies for blisters

    4. Swimmer's Ear
    Solution: Garlic
    Swimmer's ear is an infection of the outer ear canal. It happens when water gets trapped in your ears and allows bacteria or fungi to flourish. To deal with the pain, your easiest option is an over-the-counter painkiller such as aspirin or acetaminophen. For soothing at-home relief, treat your ear to heat. Use a hot-water bottle or a heating pad set on low. If you're using the bottle, wrap it in a towel so it feels comfortably warm, not super hot. If you're using a heating pad, for safety's sake, be careful not to fall asleep with that electric pad nestled against your ear.

    Take advantage of garlic's potent antibacterial properties and use this herb in eardrops. You can buy garlic oil in health food stores, or make your own. Grate three medium cloves of garlic and place them in a shallow dish. Cover them with olive oil and let the mixture stand overnight. Strain out the garlic and apply 3 drops in the affected ear.

    See more home remedies for swimmer's ear

    5. Insect Bites
    Solution: Peppermint Oil
    Instead of scratching that insect bite, apply a drop or two of peppermint oil. It has a cooling effect, and also increases circulation to the bite, speeding the healing process. Alternatively, if you have toothpaste that contains peppermint oil, apply a dab.

    See more home remedies for insect bites

    6. Cuts and Scrapes
    Solution: Honey
    If you can stop the bleeding and keep the wound clean to prevent infection, you've done your part; nature will take over from there. Required: some bandages and antibiotic ointment (doctors recommend any triple antibiotic variety). No antibiotic cream handy? In a pinch, dab on a little honey and then cover with a bandage. Honey has antibacterial properties, and studies have shown that it can speed wound healing. In certain cases some doctors believe that honey might even be superior to triple-antibiotic creams as a wound dressing. Don't have a Band-Aid? Don't worry -- honey dries to form a natural one.

    See more home remedies for cuts and scrapes

    7. Poison Ivy
    Solution: Lawn Weed Plantain
    Run for the shower -- or the nearest creek, if you're hiking -- and wash away the resin before the allergic reaction takes hold. Once you come into contact with poison ivy, the clock starts ticking: You have about 15 minutes to get rid of the urushiol. Use soap and warm water, if they're available. If you have a choice of soaps, use one that does not contain moisturizers. Skip the washcloth, since it can spread the oil around your body. Pick a few leaves from the common lawn weed plantain, wash them, mash them, and apply as a poultice to the affected skin. Plantain contains a chemical (called allantoin) that is anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial.

    See more home remedies for poison ivy

    8. Fried Hair
    Solution: Avocado
    All that sun, water and chlorine made your hair dry, rough, brittle, and frizzy? Condition it with Avocado. Avocado moisturizes hair shafts and loads them with protein, making them stronger.Thoroughly mix a ripe, peeled avocado with a teaspoon of wheat-germ oil and a teaspoon of jojoba oil. Apply it to freshly washed hair, and spread it all the way to the ends. Cover your scalp with a shampoo cap or a plastic bag, wait 15 to 30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

    See more home remedies for dry hair.

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