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Monday, March 25, 2013

At-Home Burn Remedies

Last night as I was flipping through a magazine, I heard a loud screeching sound come from the kitchen. At first I thought my son was playing around with his dinosaur toys, but howls of pain shortly after made me jump up and run to see what had happened.

"My foot, my foot!" was all he kept screaming, and his grandma quickly filled me in: he'd been standing next to the oven when she opened it, and hot liquid had dripped off the foil when she pulled a casserole dish out. Now, I don't know if any of you have ever tried to get a toddler to calm down enough to treat a burn, but let me tell you, it wasn't easy. First he tried to grip his skin tightly with his grubby little fingers (making it worse of course) and when I finally pried his hands away he proceeded to kick me each time I tried to apply something. (He was certain putting any cream on would add to the sting.)

Finally I remembered something I'd seen my mom do a long while back: I grabbed a paper towel, sloshed some milk on it, and slapped it quickly over his burn. He instantly quieted and I was able to calm him to the point that I could apply something longer lasting than a milk-soaked cloth. But it got me to thinking about burns, and what sort of crazy remedies are out there that can be used. You'd be surprised at how many can be found in your very own kitchen!

Please note that these remedies should only be tried on minor burns, and medical experts still agree that the best way to heal a small burn is by holding a wet compress to it, followed by plunging into a basin of cool water and then putting a clean (sterile) non-adhesive bandage around it.

1. Try a little bit of Honey: Amazingly enough, tests have shown that raw honey will help a burn to heal faster than some burn-ointments that are available on the market. Some claim that it even reduces the risk of scarring! To try this one, simply apply a small bit of honey to the burn after you have cleaned the area, then cover with clean gauze.

2. Vinegar on alkaline-based burns: Many claim that the weak acidic level in vinegar is just right to combat burns caused by the sodium hydroxide in common cleaners found in the home (such as Fantastik or EasyOff), but just as many people seem to speak against it. One favorite remedy includes keeping a small bottle of vinegar chilled in the refrigerator for the purpose of a burn remedy, but there is a good chance the relief is more from the cold liquid than it is from the vinegar. Regardless, the vinegar-burn-remedy has a good pack of believers to back it up, so it made the list. To use this remedy, wash your burn in a basin of cold water. Next, use a 1:1 solution of water and vinegar. To achieve the cold effect for extra relief, stick a few ice-cubes in your vinegar solution. Soak a cloth in the solution and apply to the burn. Repeat as needed.

3. The potato of many uses: Weird as it may sound, the potato has long been heralded as a reducer of redness and reliever of burns! And here I thought they already were so versatile with their mashed, baked, fried or boiled uses. Apparently, cutting a potato in half and applying it to a burn will "pull out" the heat of the burn, not only relieving the sting, but reducing the look of the burn to a mere blush of what it was before. I do seem to recall one of my aunts applying a potato to me as a child, but that was for a bee sting. I guess it works for all kinds of burning sensations! To use this one, simply cut the raw potato in half and hold it against the burned area.

4. Raw onion juice, good for more than making you cry: This is one of those that I am a bit skeptical on, but many chefs insist that it will work. All agree that the juice from a fresh onion is needed, so that one you've got sitting half-used in the bottom of your fridge isn't gonna work. To use this one, cut a fresh onion open, apply immediately to the burned area. After about 10 to 15 minutes, let your burned area rest, then continue with the other half of the onion for another 10 minutes or so.

5. You say tomayto, I say tomahto: Ketchup, pizza sauce, pasta favorites, juice, and now burn-healer. Is there anything this vege-fruit can't become? According to many natural-health sites, the juice from a tomato contains healing lycopene and can be used to get rid of the burning sensation and prevent blisters from forming when a burn occurs. To use, simply cut the tomato in half and hold there until the stinging subsides. Allow the tomato juice to naturally air dry on the skin.

6. Sour cream, slather it on!: Using sour cream in the kitchen is touted as a great way to reduce the sting in a burn. Some claim that the fat and the chill of the cream combine to pull the heat out and put soothing moisture into the area. To use this one, clean the burned area and then simply apply the sour cream to the entire burn so that no air can get to it. After about thirty minutes to an hour, the burn should be "healed" to the point that you can remove the cream and go on about your business as usual!

If anyone decides to try any of these, I'd love to hear about it! Let me know about your experience, or tell me if you have a crazy burn remedy of your own!

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