Right along with long and lazy days come sunburns, bug bites, and itching and scratching. Hit the kitchen pantry for home remedies recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and everydayhealth.com to cure and fend off minor boo-boos — but be smart! If symptoms don’t improve, or seem to get worse, call your pediatrician.
An oatmeal bath can help soothe several ailments, including sunburn, rashes and bug bites. Grind a cup of regular or quick-cooking oatmeal until it’s pretty fine and then dump it into a bath of lukewarm water. Rinse off thoroughly and pat dry.
Did you know that baking soda has astringent qualities? Next time a bug takes a bite out of your crew, make a paste of baking soda and water and gently apply. Baking soda is also great for those suffering from a heat rash — just add a few tablespoons to the bath.
Enjoy a bit too much summer BBQ? Ginger, whether fresh or brewed into a tea, can help settle a tempestuous tummy.
Honey can act like an antibiotic cream if you don’t have any handy. Just dab on a bit of the sweet stuff and cover with a bandage.
Milk and Tea
When kids are itching from exposure to poison ivy, a compress soaked in cold milk rather than plain old water might be just the ticket. Or, try applying a moistened tea bag to itchy skin (use black or green tea). A green tea compress also works well for relieving sunburns.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Your Credit Card
For a bee sting, use the edge of a credit card (or fingernail) to scrape out the stinger. Once that’s done, soak the area in apple cider vinegar to relieve swelling, or just apply an ice pack for about 20 minutes.
An Ounce of Prevention
Take a few steps to prevent common summer ailments:
• For heat rash, limit physical activity on super hot and humid days, wear loose cotton clothing, and stick to the shade.
• Keep little ones’ fingernails short to prevent infection from scratching at bites and rashes.
• If kids have been in the woods, check them for ticks. If you find one, remove it with tweezers but save it in a plastic sandwich bag. If a rash develops at the tick bite spot, your doctor can analyze that bad boy to see if it carries Lyme disease.
• The AAP recommends avoiding insect repellents containing DEET on infants two months and younger, and using repellents sparingly on children over two months. Parents should steer clear of sunscreens that contain insect repellents, since sunscreen needs to be re-applied throughout the day, while insect repellents should only be applied once.
• Going camping? Add plenty of garlic to a meal you serve to your family prior to your trip — insects will be repelled by the odor in your sweat (unfortunately, your fellow campers might be as well)!