It can happen to anyone. One minute you’re outside enjoying the summer sunshine, the next, ouch! A sprain or strain, insect bite, sunburn, or other minor injury can put you on the sidelines if you don’t know how to handle them. Follow these tips to care for common summer ailments naturally. Remember, if your symptoms are severe or don’t respond to self-care, contact me, acupuncture may be able to help.
Sprains or Strains:
Remember R.I.C.E. for the first 24 to 48 hours:
Rest: Stay off the injured limb.
Ice: Apply an ice pack, 20 minutes at a time, up to 8 times a day.
Compression: Wrap area with a bandage to reduce swelling.
Elevation: Rest the injured ankle, knee, elbow, or wrist on a pillow above the level of the heart. Use arnica cream to reduce bruising and pain.
Take your vitamins: Vitamins C, E, and zinc help to reduce inflammation.
Consider acupuncture: If you have ongoing pain from a muscle injury or trauma, consider acupuncture treatment to relieve pain, reduce inflammation and speed healing.
Insect bites & other itchy skin problems:
Mosquito and wasp bites: Run water over the affected area. Apply apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, or witch hazel to the area. For the next few days, try applying lavender or cinnamon oil to the bite.
Bee stings: Remove the stinger with tweezers. Apply arnica cream to reduce pain and discomfort.
Poison ivy: Minimize the rash by washing the area thoroughly with soap and cold water as quickly as possible. Try the homeopathic remedy Rhus toxicodendron to relieve the itching.
Sunburn: Apply a towel soaked in cool water to the affected area for 20 minutes as soon as you notice the burn. Spread aloe vera gel, preferably fresh from the plant, directly on the burned area to relieve pain, speed healing, and prevent scarring. Try a baking soda paste or plain yogurt compress to soothe the skin.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Acupuncture. Alpha Books, 2000.
Questions and Answers about Sprains and Strains. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. May 2004.
Rapaport Karlson, Amy. “Natural first-aid kit: get fast relief from 14 common ailments with these effective remedies.” Natural Health. April 2003. FindArticles.com. 11 May. 2008.