So you’re camping, somehow fall into poison ivy, and boom — now what? You don’t have any ointment or cream to soothe the itch, and any pharmacy is miles away. This is where you can resort to natural remedies — and yes, they do work! Whether you just don’t have the right first aid products or you prefer natural ingredients, Dr. Aisling Lanigan brings us the four best remedies to keep you and your family safe all summer long — naturally!
1. Mosquito bites
Prevention is key, but who wants to cover their kids or themselves in the chemicals that are in bug spray? Kids in particular are at risk as their skin absorbs the chemicals more easily. Try this natural bug spray to keep bugs at bay, or, if you do get bitten, try this DIY after-bite!
DIY naturopathic bug spray:
- Fill a 100mL bottle half with witch hazel, half with water.
- Add 15 drops each of citronella and peppermint essential oils with a couple of drops of vanilla oil.
- Apply diluted tea tree oil onto the bite and/or squeeze fresh lemon juice onto it.
2. Bee stings
If your child has an allergy, call EMS and initiate treatment such as an EpiPen. Allergy or not, it is vital to get the stinger out! The bee’s hind area contains the venom which causes pain (or a reaction) so don’t delay in getting it out. Run the affected area under cold water and apply ice for 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off.
Two easy home remedies to neutralize the acidic venom are:
- Make a paste using baking soda, a dab of vinegar and water, and apply it to the wound for 30 minutes.
- Apply toothpaste to the wound to reduce pain and swelling.
3. Poison Ivy
If you think you or your kids have come in contact with poison ivy, act quickly! The ivy’s oil can absorb into the skin within about 10 minutes. Wash the area with soap and water ASAP, and let the area air dry to avoid contaminating towels.
How to treat poison ivy:
- Baking soda is a great way to dry out blisters of poison ivy: Concoct a paste of baking soda and water, and spread it on the affected area. Reapply every two hours. Before going to bed, pour a cup of baking soda into a lukewarm bath and take a soak. Oatmeal is a good substitute if you don’t have baking soda.
- Apple cider vinegar applied topically to the affected area helps decrease itch and speed healing. Apply a teaspoon directly onto the skin 3 times a day.
Prevent burns by wearing a good quality natural sunscreen with zinc oxide as the active SPF ingredient.
How to treat a sunburn:
- Break off an aloe vera leaf and apply the sap to the affected area. Aloe vera is an anti-inflammatory, it prevents the skin from peeling and it promotes new skin growth. (It’s also great for healing mosquito bites, poison ivy and bee stings!)
- Less known, but equally as effective, is lavender essential oil. Apply it directly on the burn site as soon as possible. If you have a large burn area, you can use lavender oil mixed with liquid soap in a cool bath.
For more of Aisling’s tips and her video demonstration, watch the video below:
Courtesy Dr. Aisling Lanigan
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