Home Remedies for Summer Maladies

Health, Home & Family, Outdoors
on July 2, 2000

Baseball, barbecues, gardens, and swimming pools. Bug bites, poison ivy, sunburn, and heat rash. There is no free lunch.

The good news is that the down-sides of summer rarely require a doctor, and the better news is that remedies needn't be costly. Often they can be found in the medicine cabinet, kitchen, refrigerator or ice chest. If a condition is severe, however, or worsens after applying a remedy, seek medical treatment immediately. And before using these remedies, clean the affected area thoroughly with soap and water.

Insect Bites:

  • Combine water with either baking soda, salt, or mud to make a paste. Apply to the bite and let it dry.
  • Rub on equal parts of lemon and vinegar.
  • Moisten an aspirin and dab it on.

Bee or Wasp Stings: Call a doctor if the sting occurred in the mouth or nose.

  • Scrape out the stinger with a dull-edged flat object, such as a credit card or Popsicle stick.
  • Alternate ice with a raw potato, which reduces inflammation.
  • Mix vinegar and salt and apply.
  • Spray with deodorant that contains aluminum chloride to prevent skin irritation.
  • Rub with the juice of crushed rhubarb, which acts as an astringent, to reduce toxic effects.
  • Smother with wet tobacco.

Poison Ivy:

  • Take a bath of water and one-half cup of baking soda or oatmeal.
  • Cover the area with white shoe polish. It contains pipe clay, with effects similar to calamine.
  • Rub with the inside of a banana peel each hour to soothe itching.
  • Squeeze on fresh lemon juice or boiled, chopped garlic.

Heat Rash:

  • Sit in a tepid bath containing one-half cup of baking soda, oatmeal, cornstarch, or dried mustard.
  • Cover body with cool wash cloths—for up to 10 minutes.


  • Sit in a cool oatmeal bath.
  • Wrap up in a cool, wet towel.
  • Apply a paste of cornstarch and water.
  • Rub with one part vinegar, three parts water.
  • Dab with sour cream or yogurt for a cool, healing sensation.
  • Cover with raw cucumbers or potatoes.

Swimmer's Ear:

  • Put two or three drops of one of the following in each ear after swimming: hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, alcohol, mineral oil, or baby oil.


  • Cover with a bandage and apply pressure to stop bleeding.
  • Apply wet green tea bags on the cut.
  • Once bleeding stops, mix one-half ounce of iodine with 5 ounces of sugar (not powdered) and apply.