Summertime is here! And with the warm weather comes fun in the sun and a whole host of new woes that go along with blistering heat and moist humidity. Here are 7 frugal ways to deal with common summertime ailments without breaking the bank.
- Poison Ivy – We spend countless days here on the farm pulling out, cutting off, and generally attempting to obliterate Poison Ivy. One of the best ways I’ve found to stop from getting the itchy Poison Ivy/Oak/Sumac rash is to immediately wash any skin exposed to the plants with a de-greasing soap (like Fast Orange) and then soaking in a bath with 1/4 cup of bleach added to the water. This seems to remove the oils from the skin effectively and prevents a rash if done soon after exposure. For stubborn already developed rashes, dabbing the area with straight bleach for a couple of seconds can help dry it up faster, as well. Also, be sure to wash your hands after petting cats and dogs, as the oils can cling to their coats and create a rash.
- Sunburn – Like many men, my husband is constantly battling the effects of the sun on his (mostly) hairless head. When sunburn can’t be avoided, we’ve found that the best remedy for burned scalps and ears is a little bit of diaper rash cream. The zinc in the ointment is the same medication used by physicians to treat burns, and works well for relieving sunburn pain and taking out the redness sooner.
- Chaffing and Heat Rash – From infants to adults, we all fall victim to summer’s swampy skin at some point. For a quick safeguard against chaffing and heat rash, apply deodorant to areas prone to moisture, such as behind knees, the bottoms of feet, and under the breasts. A light dusting of baby powder applied immediately afterwards also helps keep your skin dry.
- Athlete’s Foot – Even if you preach to your kids about wearing shoes to the public bathroom at the pool or park, you may still end up fighting a nasty case of athlete’s foot. To help soothe little toes, mix over-the-counter anti-fungal cream with zinc ointment (like Desitin) and apply liberally twice a day. The zinc helps heal broken skin and relieve pain while the anti-fungal kills off the offending infection.
- Plantar Warts – Going barefoot in the summer means potentially exposing your feet to contagious conditions, such as Plantar Warts. Instead of heading to the podiatrist to have them cut or burned off (which is quite uncomfortable) try washing your feet two to three times a day with Dial Gold soap (yes, it has to be the brand name). In a few weeks, your warts will dissolve and you’ll have saved yourself a bundle in medical bills and pain.
- Bee and Wasp Stings – If you’ve ever tried to console a screaming child who has just been stung, you know how awful it can feel to be helpless to relieve the pain. Try putting ice on the sting immediately while you mix up a thick paste of baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the sting to help draw out the poison. The ice helps slow down the spread of the irritant and reduce swelling.
- Itchy Bug Bites – If you don’t have access to fancy bug bites ointments, try dabbing a small bit of mint toothpaste on the bite to help relieve itching.
How do you cope with summertime woes in a frugal manner?