Weird and won­der­ful health cures for kids

Not all old treat­ments are ur­ban myths. MATTHEW BARBOUR looks at the ones with a solid track record for ef­fec­tive­ness

Uxbridge Gazette - - Family Health -

Ground pep­per forms a crust over a cut to keep it clean

TWO in five mums use old wives’ treat­ments to treat their kids’ ail­ments, re­search shows – such as putting raw meat on a wart or ver­ruca, rub­bing a wed­ding ring on a stye, or us­ing breast milk to clear up con­junc­tivi­tis. Here are 13 worth tak­ing a closer look at...

HOME CURE: Duct tape USE IT FOR: Warts

COV­ER­ING warts with duct tape works bet­ter than freez­ing them off, ac­cord­ing to a study pub­lished in the Archives of Pe­di­atrics and Ado­les­cent Medicine.

In the study, the duct tape zapped 85% of warts af­ter two months, com­pared with 60% with the freez­ing method.

Clean the area then cut a piece of duct tape slightly big­ger than the wart, and stick it on firmly. Ev­ery three days take the tape off, file down dead skin with a pumice stone or nail file, and re­peat un­til the wart dis­ap­pears.

HOME CURE: Vodka USE IT FOR: Smelly feet

IF TAK­ING your kids’ socks off causes house­plants to wilt, wipe them with a vodka-soaked dish­cloth. It’s the same prin­ci­ple as rub­bing al­co­hol.

Al­co­hol is an­ti­sep­tic and dry­ing, so it de­stroys odour-caus­ing fun­gus.

HOME CURE: Lis­ter­ine USE IT FOR: Blis­ters

THE clas­sic breath fresh­ener – and pow­er­ful an­ti­sep­tic – can also do a num­ber on blis­ters when kids are wear­ing in their new school shoes. Mois­ten a cot­ton ball with Lis­ter­ine and dab it on the blis­ter three times a day.

HOME CURE: Ba­nana peel USE IT FOR: Bruises

ON top of many other uses – in­clud­ing whiten­ing teeth and eas­ing the pain of haem­or­rhoids – the hum­ble ba­nana can also heal bruises in half the time.

Ap­ply a ripe peel to the bruise, tie it on with a ban­dage or tape, and leave overnight. The man­ganese, mag­ne­sium and potas­sium helps blood flow through the ves­sels un­der the skin, flush­ing away the coloured tox­ins.

HOME CURE: Torch USE IT FOR: Splin­ters

SKIN is translu­cent, so shin­ing a torch lets you see the an­gle the splin­ter is at and how deep it is, says Si­mon James, first aid trainer with the St John Am­bu­lance.

Do it in a dark room, place a torch di­rectly against the skin about 1cm on the other side of the splin­ter, get your eyes down to skin level and pull it out with ster­ilised tweez­ers.

HOME CURE: Olive oil USE IT FOR: Earache

EAR drops sold at phar­ma­cies can soften wax, but many con­tain house­hold sta­ples such as olive oil or bi­car­bon­ate of soda, says GP Dr Fiona Sankey. “Olive oil can do the job just as well, though don’t do this if you have a per­fo­rated eardrum be­cause it could cause in­fec­tion.” Again, con­sider us­ing bi­car­bon­ate of soda – dis­solve half a tea­spoon in a beaker of wa­ter be­fore in­sert­ing it into the ear with an eye drop­per, which can be bought from a chemist. Stub­born build-up may need clean­ing by your GP.

HOME CURE: Ice cubes USE IT FOR: Toothache

IF THE pain is throb­bing but the tooth isn’t ten­der, the nerve through the tooth could be in­fected. As heat can worsen in­flam­ma­tion, ice might help re­duce that swelling and re­lieve pain. While mi­nor in­fec­tions may clear by them­selves, you’ll need to see your den­tist for treat­ment to pre­vent the pain be­com­ing con­tin­u­ous.

Don’t put aspirin, clove oil or any­thing else against the gum – it will prob­a­bly burn it.

HOME CURE: Su­docrem USE IT FOR: Burns and spots

MANY as­so­ciate Su­docrem with treat­ing or pre­vent­ing nappy rash, says Dr Hady Bay­oumi, a con­sul­tant der­ma­tol­o­gist at the Spire Bushey Hos­pi­tal.

“But it can be used for all types of skin is­sues,” he says.

The cream is an an­ti­sep­tic, in­hibit­ing in­fec­tion and keep­ing bac­te­ria out of the wound. “It’s also good for cuts, spots, mi­nor burns, chilblains, mi­nor bed­sores and sun­burn.”

HOME CURE: Ground pep­per USE IT FOR: Cuts

STUD­IES show a com­po­nent of black pep­per, called piper­ine, has strong an­tibac­te­rial prop­er­ties, which would sug­gest it is help­ful for heal­ing. It also forms a crust over a cut to keep it clean.

“Adding ground pep­per to small cuts helps blood co­ag­u­late for faster heal­ing, while si­mul­ta­ne­ously killing lin­ger­ing bac­te­ria and re­duc­ing scar­ring,” says Cathy Wong, au­thor of The In­side- Out Diet.

HOME CURE: Onion USE IT FOR: Wasp stings

RUB­BING a slice of onion on a wasp sting will re­duce the swelling and speed up the re­cov­ery time. There are en­zymes in fresh-cut onion that help break down the com­pounds in a sting that cause in­flam­ma­tion.

HOME CURE:

Vine­gar USE IT FOR: Swim­mer’s ear

CHIL­DREN’S ears are more sus­cep­ti­ble to bac­te­ria than adults be­cause the open­ing is big­ger. Vine­gar kills the bac­te­ria that cause swim­mer’s ear. Di­lute white vine­gar with an equal amount of dis­tilled wa­ter and put three drops in the ear three times daily.

HOME CURE: Gin­ger USE IT FOR: Travel sick­ness

AT LEAST two of the ac­tive con­stituents of gin­ger re­duce the amount of gas­tric juices pro­duced and lower acid­ity of the stom­ach which will help fight nau­sea. Suck on a lit­tle slice of fresh gin­ger at the first signs of queasi­ness.

HOME CURE: Su­gar cubes USE IT FOR: Hic­cups

HIC­CUPS are caused by un­con­trolled spasms in the di­aphragm. It is thought su­gar stim­u­lates the va­gus nerve – which leads from the brain through to the di­aphragm – to stop mus­cles con­tract­ing.

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