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Summer Solutions: Natural Pediatric First Aid

Summer is finally here. The prospect of playing outside in the warm sun is just as exciting for parents as it is for kids. As much as we try to prevent them, accidents and owees happen. Here are some easy home remedies for common summer ailments.

Sunburns: It is important to get 20 to 30 minutes (depending on skin type) of sun exposure without sun block every day. This ensures adequate vitamin D production. Vitamin D deficiencies increase the risk of colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, and other chronic conditions. However, too much sun and sunburns increase the risk of skin cancer. We do not ever want to get burned, but we still need to get our daily sun to maintain our health.

If sunburns do occur topical aloe, comfrey, calendula, witch hazel, or hypericum (St John’s Wort) are all soothing botanicals. A baking soda bath can draw out the heat and calm the inflammation. Add 1 cup of baking soda to a luke-warm bath and stir to dissolve. Soak for 20 minutes. Avoid using soap because it can be drying and irritating to the skin. Also, vinegar packs can help moisturize and sooth burns while minimizing peeling. Soak towels in a solution of half water and half vinegar (white or apple cider) and apply to the affected area. Avoid the eyes and broken skin, as it will burn.

Bee Stings: Applying ice, baking soda packs, or fresh basil topically can sooth the sting. Give homeopathic Apis for swelling, redness, and itching, especially if the area feels better with cold applications and worse with heat or pressure. Dissolve 3-5 pellets under the tongue. The dose is 30 C, which can be bought at most health food stores. Apis homeopathic remedies do not replace the need for an epi-pen if someone is allergic to beestings

Cuts and Scrapes: After cleaning the wounds apply calendula or comfrey salves or tincture. Calendula is antimicrobial and promotes healing. Comfrey reduces inflammation and promotes healing. If cuts and scrapes happen while hiking look for yarrow along the trail. Yarrow is antimicrobial and helps stop bleeding. Roman soldiers carried yarrow soaked in garlic juice to pack in battle wounds. Vigorously rub the leaves between the fingers to release the phytonutrients and moisten with a little water before applying will do just fine for non-battle scrapes and cuts.

Eczema/Atopic Dermatitis: Often the summer heat brings flares of eczema. There are numerous topical options to palliate both dry and moist varieties. While this eases the suffering, it does not address the source of the problem. Most eczema is related to what foods a person is eating or something they are being exposed to in their environment. It is not the same for every person, which is why the details for each individual needs to be evaluated to find the source.

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