Summer is here, the time to be outside and enjoy everything the long, warm days have to offer. As much fun as summer is, there are unique challenges to this time of year: spoiled, warmed-over food, too many hours on the river, biting bugs—the list goes on. Despite these challenges, there are many natural solutions to treat what ails you in the summertime. These first aid tips will get you back outdoors quickly—and with a stronger immune system to boot. Of course, if these tips don’t solve the problem, see your medical doctor or go to an emergency room or urgent care right away.
Hydration and Dehydration: Colorado is high and dry. The sun and heat make us sweat, but often we don’t feel it because there is so little humidity that our sweat evaporates very quickly. It is best to keep well-hydrated in this environment. The ideal way to do this is to drink something with a high mineral content. Homemade sports drinks, watermelon juice, or well water all have minerals that will help you absorb and hold your water more efficiently.
To make your own watermelon drink, first buy an organic watermelon. Wash the rind, then place about 3 cups of watermelon (rind, seeds, and fruit) into a food processor, blender, or juicer and puree the fruit. Then, pour the juice over as much ice or mineral water as you’d like. You can also add a pinch of untreated sea salt to increase the mineral content and sweetness. If you want some variety, add a few springs of mint or a handful of strawberries for a delicious beverage. You will be amazed at how quickly and thoroughly watermelon juice replenishes your body.
Looking for an alternative to store-bought electrolyte beverages? Here’s a quick recipe for a homemade sports drink that is sure to do the trick: http://www.diynatural.com/homemade-sports-drink/.
All of the above drinks can be used for mild cases of dehydration as well. In cases of dehydration, have the person sit in the shade or a cool environment and sip on the drink for a bit until they recover their energy. You will know they are rehydrated when they start to pass urine that is light yellow in color in quantities of at least two cups at a time. If they begin vomiting, develop a fever, pass out, or lose consciousness, go to an emergency room immediately.
Bug bites: Make a paste out of baking soda and water and apply it to the bite. Alternately, use natural toothpaste on the bite. Both will draw out the venom and diminish the swelling and pain or itching.
Sunburn: Wearing a wide-brimmed hat and light-weight clothing to cover your skin is the most natural sunblock there is. You can also use a white or light-colored umbrella as a shield. If you do develop a sunburn, apply yogurt on the area of the burn.
Scrapes: Wash the injury with clean water and then ½ strength hydrogen peroxide (equal amounts of water and hydrogen peroxide). Next, use a small piece of aloe leaf cut straight off an aloe plant. Rub aloe over the scrape, then cover the wound with a sterile dressing and keep the scrape clean and dry for 2 days.
Diarrhea: Make a strong brew of organic black or green tea (so strong you are on the edge of not wanting to drink it). You can drink it hot or cold, but make sure to consume approximately half a cup every two hours. You can also try well-cooked white rice, applesauce, and if your stomach can tolerate it, toast. The tea contains tannins which kill the majority of unhealthy stomach bugs while the rice and applesauce will help normalize your bowel movements.
Above all, have a great time this summer! And come in for acupuncture tune-ups along the way, especially if you overuse your muscles enjoying everything Colorado has to offer.