Summer is fast approaching and with it the unique and common medical conditions that need attention while enjoying sun-filled fun. It’s time to stock your cabinet with your summer arsenal. This year consider doing it with homeopathic preparations. They are safe, non-toxic with relatively simple guidelines for first aid use and equally effective for children and elders alike. They are also inexpensive and easily accessible alongside the vast array of medicinal products that are available in our drug stores, health food stores and organic markets today. With very succinct guidelines, you don’t have to ponder whether to use this product or that. It is clear what remedy is the best for what condition. Read away.
For all kinds of wipeouts from summertime activities that cause damaged skin; hurry get the calendula. It comes in ointment and cream. It’s important to make sure the wound is thoroughly cleansed, though. Calendula is so effective at closing wounds that it can seal in dirt, so clean, clean, clean. You will be amazed at how quickly it will heal. It isn’t sticky or greasy and is easily absorbed and gently effective. And, if an injury includes swelling, or muscle soreness, take arnica, but don’t apply the topical arnica to broken skin.
Arnica is also good for sore muscles, irritated nerves and bruisingthat come from summer sporting activities. Sore muscles and bruising respond to arnica orally and topically. The topical version comes in cream, ointment and gel. If there is nerve pain involved, find a cream that has hypericumin it. There are creams that have both arnica and Hypericum. These preparations can be used year round, but summer seems the time for lots of falls from bicycles, skateboards, roller skates and rollerblades. If an injury is to the head, go higher with the arnica potency (200c). This will help with the shock of a fall as well. Always make sure to have a medical checkup if something as serious as an impact to the head occurs.
Since the summer includes a lot of time in the sun, many conditions can result from overexposure. When you have Sunburn, the common type with reddening of the skin accompanied by a dry, feverish, restlessness with a desire for lemonade, use belladonna to help it resolve. It’s made from a nightshade, yet is very safe. For easing the pain, there are many simple home solutions: aloe vera applied directly from the leaves of the plant or bottled as 99% gel will soothe and often prevent peeling. Or, soak in a tepid bath (not cold). Yogurt applied directly to the skin can also be soothing as well as cider vinegar; it takes the sting out. Belladonna will also help the headaches that are caused by too much sun. You can also try Cantharis Vesicatoria for stinging blistering sunburn.
Overexposure to the sun can also cause heat exhaustion. Itis a common summer ailment that is caused by excess physical activity in the sun and occurs because the body gets dehydrated from losing salt by excessive sweating. Aconitum Napellus (Aconite). Weakness and muscle cramping are the usual signs along with exhaustion, irritability, restlessness. Headaches and dizziness can also occur and watch for the person becoming cold, pale and clammy. The other consequences of heat exhaustion are heavy breathing, a rapid pulse, and nausea. It’s even possible that the person loses consciousness. The first thing to do in case of heat exhaustion is to lay the person down in a quiet place with the feet slightly raised. Loosen clothing and give the patient a cup of weakly salted water every 15 minutes. Fruit juices can help too. For fever with dry heat, a red face and sudden cold give aconite 200C, but if you have a first aid kit with only aconite 30c, you can give it every 15 minutes.
It’s important to be careful of heat exhaustion which can lead to heat stroke. Heat stroke is when the body’s natural cooling system can’t function properly and the person’s body temperature soars, often higher than 105 F. When this happens, don’t use aconite, but rather use Belladonna to bring the temperature down and then call an emergency hotline. Heat stroke can be fatal. As with heat exhaustion, make sure to lie the person down in a quiet room with feet elevated and try to hydrate them with weakly salted water or diluted juice and contact a health professional for further care.
A non-threatening condition as a result of overexposure to the sun is prickly heat, an irritable rash from hot and humid weather caused by clogged sweat glands. For this condition you can use Natrum Carbonicum. There are also some good home remedies for relieving the rash itself while the remedy is working. Washing with neem soap helps the prickly heat rash to calm down. It has also been suggested that the prickly heat is caused by internal heat that also needs to be cooled down. Drinking citrus fruit juices is helpful in accomplishing that. A cornstarch paste applied to the skin helps externally. Add some water to regular cornstarch to make a paste. Apply directly to the rash and leave it on for about a ½ hour until it is dry, then rinse off with tepid water.
Other hazards of the summer months are Poison Ivy, oak and sumac; an itchy rash respond well to Rhus Toxicodendron (Rhus tox) which is made from poison ivy. Make sure to wash the area affected thoroughly. It can spread rapidly, so make sure not to touch the rash and touch another part of the body. A person can use a topical Rhus Tox cream as well. Rhus tox will work for poison oak if the rash causes intense itching and burning. Sulphur is the remedy to use if the itching gets worse with heat. You can apply Calendula cream as it also helps soothe the outbreak and prevents it from spreading. If Rhus tox isn’t working, try getting a hold of Anacardium Occidentalis. It is a remedy made from the cashew nut and has been referred to as the number one remedy for poison ivy, however it may not be as easy to get as Rhus Tox, because it is a lesser known remedy for acute conditions.
Insects love the warm damp weather and are responsible for all kinds of bites and stings. Depending on the symptoms, different remedies would be recommended. For bites that leave a puncture wound and are cold with throbbing, sticking, tearing pain, use Ledum Palestre (Ledum) which is made from wild rosemary. Ledum is also good for puncture wounds from other sources such as nails. However, bites that are red, hot, swollen with a stinging pain, particularly bee stings respond well to Apis Mellifica (which is made from honey bees). Apis is effective especially for people who are allergic to bee and wasp stings. There is a topical version of Apis as well and it does help with the pain when rubbed on the stinging wound. If the pain from a bite feels as if there is nerve involvement, then hypericum is the remedy to use.
Other kinds of skin rashes and heat boils are common. If the rash itches and burns then the remedy to employ is Urtica Urens (made from the nettle plant) and that’s why it’s sometimes called a nettle rash. Urtica calms the rash to alleviate some of the pain and itching. Try to avoid scratching the area, to prevent infections.
For summer eye troubles, including irritation, soreness, or infections-waiting-to-happen, Euphrasia Officianalis is what you want. Apis is for eyes that are puffy and pink with watery swelling that feels better from cold applications. Stinging, burning pain may be experienced, and the eyelids may stick together. A person who needs this remedy often feels irritable, disliking interference. Argentum nitricum is used when eyes are swollen, inflamed and are discharging yellowish or pus-like matter with redness of the whites and inner corners of the eyes. The person’s eyes may be tired and achy, worse from light and warmth, and better from cool water, cold compresses, and fresh air. People who need this remedy often have a strong desire for both salt and sweets. Hepar sulphuris calcareum, on the other hand is used when the eyes are inflamed and feel sore or bruised. It is accompanied by burning pain, or a feeling as if the eyes are being pulled back into the head. The eyelids are stuck closed in the morning with yellowish goo and the discomfort is eased by warm compresses, and warmth in general. Sensitivity to cold noise and light are indicators of this remedy as well. Emotionally they can be touchy and irritable.
Mercurius solubilis is indicated for people feeling ill and tired. They can have erratic body temperature with sensitivity to both to heat and cold. The eyelids can be irritated by a greenish discharge, including the margins of the eyes. Glands are often swollen, the breath offensive and salivation excessive. Natrum muriaticum is effective for people whose eyes feel bruised and whose tears burn and have caused the lids to swell. The eyelids can stick together from pus or mucous. The person is sad, tired, acting irritable, especially if someone shows them sympathy. Pulsatilla is a good remedy for classic conjunctivitis (pink eye) with the thick, yellow, itchy discharge that you often get with the measles or a cold. Warm stuffy rooms make it worse and they feel better in cool fresh air. Sulphur is the remedy for very red, irritated, burning itchy eyes. The whites of the eyes are red and bloodshot with hot tears. The eyes are worse from light and heat.
Swimmer’s ear is common in children and adults who love to cool in the pool. The ear hurts, although there is no apparent illness, yet there is still a feeling as if they have an illness. Sometimes, fluid or pus may leak from the ear. It is important to clear the dampness from ears after being in the water, because if it stays in the ear it can breed bacteria and cause an infection. Homeopathy is extremely useful and effective in summer maladies. Most ear “infections” respond to Hepar Sulph. When earache is accompanied by a foul-smelling discharge, Mercurius Vivus is helpful. Earaches after swimming respond well to Chamomilla.
And watch out at the all-day barbecue. All that food sitting out in the hot sun can cause upsets to the stomach. This can be easily remedied with Arsenicum Album, which happens to be the most often indicated remedy for food poisoning. Obviously it would be better to be careful not to eat food that has been sitting out all day. It could be a matter of overindulgence in eating and drinking at the barbecue and not about spoiled food at all, in which case Nux Vomica would be the magic pill.
Headaches are common in the summer. The symptoms of those headaches are important in choosing the element that would be most effective. Headaches that are characterized by burning and heat that feel better with cold compresses and have shifting pains that can be described as stinging, throbbing, hammering or pulsating that are aggravated in the morning upon awakening and worsen again in the evening, use Arsenicum. After too rich food or alcohol take nux vomica. If the headache is from travelling because you get nervous or anxious when you fly and the headache spreads all over the head and settles in the eyes, use Silica”
(Note: if you have any kind of implants, pacemakers, or splintered bones, don’t use this product as it helps the body expel foreign objects). And, because Silica helps the body expels foreign objects it is good for splinters as it encourages them to ease out of the body. For headaches that are always associated with a disordered stomach like acidity, white tongue and and belching, reach for Antimonium Crudum. When Antimonium is indicated, there is often a craving for citric and acidic drinks, the headaches come on more towards the evening with nausea and the pain is felt predominantly on top of the head and is occasionally accompanied with nosebleeds. Try Natrum Carbonicum when theHeadaches are periodic- they return every summer. Whenever there is a headache, sensitivity to noise is marked and desire to be in a dark room which helps relieve the headache a little. The headache is almost always accompanied by vertigo and a sense that the head has “enlarged” or has become “big”.
Sanguinaria Canadensis headaches are mostly right-sided, begin from the nape of the neck and spread upwards and the pain settles over the right eye. Veins of the head and neck are distended and the pains are relieved by lying down and sleeping. Pains are felt in the back of the head and occur suddenly like a flash.
Another common summer ailment is Fever blisters on the mouth caused by over exposure to the sun. As soon as you feel the tingling, itching, nervy pain take Natrum Muriaticum (Nat Mur). Sometimes you can even avoid the outbreak of the actual fever blister, but if you don’t catch it in time, it will still resolve much more quickly if you’ve taken Nat Mur. For Black eyes as when you are hit in the eye with a baseball, take Ledum. For Nosebleeds from injury, use Arnica.
The number one remedy for dehydration is China Officinalis, particularly if the person has had a summer bout of diarrhea and feels better when he is lying down with loose clothing on. When the point of dehydration is reached, simply drinking water isn’t enough. Make sure to lightly salt the water or give diluted fruit juice or ginger ale to help in the rehydrating process. At the moment of a broken bone you can give Arnica (for swelling and pain). If even the slightest movement after a break gives you pain, use BRYONIA instead. After the bone is set, Symphytum offinale can be used to help the bone knit. If someone has had the wind knocked out of them, or has almost drowned and they need to be revived give them CARBO VEGETABILIS and get medical assistance right away. The patient would be cold, limp, pale or blue. Make sure to loosen tight clothing and administer CPR.
Spending time in cars, planes and boats can set the stage for motion sickness. Cocculus indicus (from the Anamirta cocculus plant) is good for dizziness and Tabacum (from the tobacco plant) for nausea and vomiting. Use only to treat symptoms. It has not been proven to prevent motion sickness.
Directions for Potency and dosage of Homeopathic remedies
Based on the presenting symptoms, select the remedy that most closely matches. In the conditions described above, use lower potencies (6X, 6C, 12X, 12C, 30X, 30C). Generally first aid homeopathic kits are in a 30c potency. Additionally, remedies come with instructions on their label. Follow the instructions provided by the individual manufacturer. In some cases such as a head injury, an accident where shock is involved or a high fever, use a 200C potency.
Basic Homeopathic physician guidelines are as follows: take one dose and wait for a response. If improvement is seen, continue to wait and let the remedy work. If improvement lags significantly or has clearly stopped, another dose may be taken. The frequency of dosage varies with the condition and the individual. Sometimes a dose may be required several times an hour; other times a dose may be indicated several times a day; and in some situations, one dose per day (or less) can be sufficient. If no response is seen within a reasonable amount of time, select a different remedy. In all cases, if the injury or condition would need immediate emergency medical attention, administer the remedy and get assistance right away. In addition, it never hurts to follow up a condition with a visit to your regular healthcare practitioner.
Just as Pharmaceutical drugs are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), homeopathic preparations are regulated by the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States (HPUS). All remedies have instructions on the container which you can follow in acute situations. Homeopathic preparations are incredibly fast and effective. However, use common sense and for any condition that doesn’t resolve with a remedy, contact your homeopath or emergency personnel, your family physician or a hospital.
Enjoy your summer to the fullest!