Natural Health

Ouch! 5 Quick Cures for Common Summer Accidents

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Warm weather brings its own set of hazards. When a minor accident happens, who wants to run to the pharmacy for a pricey fix? Not you! Turns out there’s no need for that, since pain relief is as close as your kitchen! These easy cures will have you feeling better in a flash.

Touched the grill? Grab a banana peel.

We love barbecuing, but not brushing up against a hot grill. Luckily, Australian scientists say this age-old remedy really is the best: Submerging burned skin under cool water for 20 minutes provides instant pain relief, plus cuts healing time by as much as 45 percent. Also smart: gently dabbing burns with the inside of a banana peel before bandaging. Brazilian researchers say it calms pain nerves and speeds recovery.

Scraped skin? Coat it with honey.

Skin abrasions sting and can feel tight and itchy for 10 days or more. To the rescue: raw honey! Covering scrapes with a thin layer twice daily adds a moisturizing coating that prevents itching, calms inflammation, and cuts healing time by 46 percent, Australian scientists say. Adds microbiologist Thomas Henle, Ph.D., honey’s antibacterial compounds help stop scrapes from becoming infected.

Got a cut? Sprinkle on sugar.

If you nick yourself with a paring knife, try this: Clean the cut, then sprinkle with sugar before bandaging. A study in the Journal of Wound Care suggests doing so kills bacteria and speeds healing as effectively as antibiotic creams. Study coauthor Moses Murandu, Ph.D., says sugar soaks up the moisture that bacteria need to survive, plus it encourages new tissue growth to seal wounds shut.

Upset stomach? Sip rice water.

Sudden diet changes can double the risk of GI trouble. But Spanish scientists say sipping two ounces of rice water provides relief from indigestion and bloat in 20 minutes. And it also eases diarrhea more quickly than electrolyte drinks if you sip a few ounces every half hour. To do: Simmer a half cup of brown rice in three cups of water for 30 minutes. Strain, let cool, then sip.

Touched poison ivy? Scrub your hands.

If you’ve accidentally pulled poison ivy instead of weeds, wash your hands thoroughly with dish detergent, and you’ll cut your risk of a rash in half, say University of Missouri researchers. Grease-fighting detergents wash off the poison ivy compound (urushiol oil) that sticks to skin.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.

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