Healthy Living with Ruth Holmes: Don’t let burns and bugs bites ruin your summer

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MINOR burns, Sunburn and Stings

SKIN rashes and minor burns, including sunburn, usually clear up without assistance – but here are some tips to speed up the recovery and ease the symptoms.

Friction, chemicals, and excess heat can all burn the skin.

Most burns occur from accidents in the home; if the burn or scald is small and affecting only the superficial layer of the skin, which can look red and swell slightly, then some herbal first aid can help to relieve the pain and speed the healing of the skin quicker, with minimum or no scarring. Before applying anything to the affected area it is important to cool the wound down, either by submerging the affected area in cool water for a few minutes if possible, or using a cold water compress for an hour or until any pain subsides. Raising the affected area slightly this will slow blood flow which will also ease the pain.

If the burnt area blisters, do not break this as it is likely that infection can then occur. Do not apply anything greasy, such as emollients, butter or ointments as these can make the burn worse.

There are a few good things that can be applied either directly onto the rash, bite or burn using a clean cotton cloth, such as: aloe vera gel which can be fresh if you have a plant, (simply slice one of the leaves and the gel is insideor from a preparation, calendula which soothes the skin is a wonderful skin soother, or the red oil from hypericum perforatum (St Johns Wort) – dilute 1 teaspoonful in 1 tablespoon of water, then apply as a dressing.

If ever a dressing becomes stuck then soak this with water with salt in, Echinacea or Calendula.

Essential oils of lavender, rose, and tea tree, as well as honey, act as skin healers as well as being antiseptic, and will reduce any scarring. These can be diluted in a little water., especially good in iced water. Vitamin E oil directly or mixed into a cream around the affected area also aids skin repair.

Nettle rashes are usually caused by an allergic reaction, but can also be triggered by heat, cold, or sunlight. It only lasts for a few hours but can re-occur. Stellaria media (chickweed) has a very soothing quality, and is specifically useful to relieve itching. As well as comfrey cream, this must not be used on any areas of broken skin. Other causes of skin rashes can be from insect bites, stings and temperature changes – any of the above remedies can be applied.

Regarding stings, if stung by a bee then an alkaline solution is necessary – apply ice then bicarbonate of soda mixed with a little water. But, if stung by a wasp or other insects, then acidity is necessary – like diluted vinegar, or lemon juice. Occasionally the sting is left on the bit;, take care to flick this off as, if it is squeezed whilst trying to remove it, more poison from the sac can be sent into the puncture wound.

All these conditions require skin to heal quickly and efficiently and this which will depends on a good supply of vitaminsessential for this. These are A, C, and E, Zinc and Bioflavonoids, which will reduce bruising and minimise scar tissue.

Always remember to rehydrate from the inside with regular sips of water.

If the size of the burn is larger than the palm of your hand, or is weeping or showing any signs of infection, then seek medical advice. is necessary,

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