Summer is fast approaching and after a long winter, it seems like everyone is ready to get outside. Before your first weekend camping or trip to the beach, take note of these simple hacks to deal with common summertime health issues.
Consumer Reports recently released its list of top sunscreens, but if you can't find any of those products, they recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 40. You should apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before you go outside, and reapply every two hours. But sunburns happen and they can hurt.
Hack: Aloe vera ice cubes: Aloe vera and ice are great for treating a burn — so why not put them together for a soothing combo? Keep these stocked in the freezer in case someone in your family gets burned, but remember to label them clearly.
2. Bug bites
Mosquitoes, greenhead flies and other bugs are an annoying part of summer, but they don't have to ruin a good time. Applying ice or anything frozen on the bite can help to alleviate itchiness, but if you're at the beach on a hot day — that's probably not an option.
Hack: Toothpaste or baking soda: Oddly enough, these common home products can help. Toothpastes with menthol and mint flavors provide a cooling sensation. You can also create your own anti-itch serum with one tablespoon of baking soda mixed with water. Rub one of these solutions on the bite to reduce inflammation.
3. Poison ivy
Poison ivy is one of the worst summer rashes. Luckily, there are a few simple home remedies to help you deal with the itch factor.
Hack: Fruits and vegetables: Some experts recommend a freshly cut onion to reduce swelling and redness. A banana peel can help to moisturize skin and reduce the sting. Fresh lemon and lime juice have anti-itch and antibacterial properties. "The acidity helps with the discomfort," said NBC News medical contributor Dr. Natalie Azar.
It's important to remember that you shouldn't go in the sun after using these juices on your skin. They can lead to a bad burn.
4. Swimmer's ear
How can you tell if your child has swimmer's ear? "Press down on the outside of the ear and it is exquisitely painful (for the child), also tugging on it causes a lot of pain. You definitely want to see a pediatrician if that's the case," Azar warned. But there are measures you can take to help prevent swimmer's ear.
Hack: Tonybee maneuver: This helps to equalize the pressure in your ears. Take a sip of water and pinch your nose. Then swallow the drink while your nose is still pinched. You can feel the pressure subside as you do it. Another solution is to use a hair dryer. Make sure it's about a foot away from the ear and on its lowest setting. Gently pull your earlobe down to get the maximum effect.