Organico Shop, Cafe and Bakery is open from Monday to Saturday from 9.30am – 6pm (Cafe from 10am – 5pm). Find us on Facebook (Organico Bantry) or online at www.organico.ie. Call us on (027) 51391. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or better still call in to us on Glengarriff Road, Bantry, Co. Cork - we have just moved our Cafe into a new downstairs space and would love to show it off!
What a stunning start to our summer! It’s hard to believe that we are in the same country we were in only a week ago. But while we all welcome the beautiful weather it can also bring some hazards, so I have put together some tips for dealing with minor irritants like bites, stings, burns and sunburn in safe and natural ways. Obviously if you have a bad reaction to a sting and especially if it is near the airways please do seek medical assistance; and ditto if a bite looks like it is becoming infected.
(On a side note, please forgive any typos or spelling mistakes in this article — for the last few weeks we have been working round the clock on expanding our Cafe and we are opening in few days…hopefully by the time you read this! So, if you are in Bantry please do come and visit; we are now on the ground floor as well as the top floor and are very excited to show off our new Cafe.)
Now, back to the topic. First lets look at sunburn. If you get too much sun, Aloe Vera is the most natural choice — you can add it to a bath as well as using it as an aftersun. We have an Aloe Gel with tea tree oil in it, which is great if you have heat rash or lots of bug bites as the antiseptic nature of Tea Tree comes in very handy. I would always look for a pure Aloe Gel with 99.9 per cent Aloe gel rather than a gel that has had lots of additives, as some brands can be pure chemicals rather than pure aloe! For bad sunburn you are best looking for a good aftersun with a high percentage of Aloe Gel; most healthfood shops will have one in this heat!
With all the BBQ’s coming out at this time of year small burns are all too common. If you are treating a burn at home, the first step is to cool the skin with cool or lukewarm water (whichever feels better) for up to 30 minutes. Do not apply any creams at this stage particularly not anything oily. Once the burn has cooled, and if you are sure it does not require medical attention, there are a number of alternatives for treatment:
Lavender oil is very cooling for burns and has good antibacterial qualities.
Aloe Vera Gel is also excellent particularly for sunburn but also for any minor burn.
We have Australian papaya ointment with colloidal silver in Organico and this is also great to have in your first aid kit — rashes, burns and all kinds of skin irritations are soothed and healed. In Australia this is a cult product for everything from nappy rash to dry skin!
Honey is excellent for preventing scars, infections, and speeding up healing. Any good quality honey will do, but for a bad burn I would use manuka for the added antibacterial qualities. The advice is to spread the honey thickly over the burn or, if you are using a dressing, apply to the dressing first. Comvita make a Manuka Honey in a tube which makes it sterile and easy to apply to burns and wounds.
If someone is badly burnt give them a zinc supplement for a month or two; it helps with skin healing and regeneration.
Active Colloidal Silver can be used topically on burns to prevent infection.
What about bites? Something to remember for midge or mosquito bites is the Zapper — it’s a little plastic gadget that attaches to a key ring and gives a tiny electrical shock when you zap a bite. A few zaps and the itch disappears! We have these in Organico along with a good anti-midge spray called Incognito that contains only natural ingredients — beware of DEET, the main ingredient in most anti-midge sprays, which is a very powerful chemical and should be used with caution in my opinion. You can look up more on this online (or read the insert in the box for side effects).
Stings are also very treatable at home or with natural home remedies. When dealing with bee stings, always remove the stinger as quickly as possible; you’ll see it sticking out of the skin. Pull it out with your fingers or scrape it away with a credit card or some other flat item. Then wash the area with soap and water. If you have ice to hand, or a cold wet cloth, apply that next. Then you can apply one of the following — I’ve been asking around and everyone seems to have their own favourite remedy; here are a few options. First though you need to know what stung you: bee or wasp?
Baking Soda can be made into a paste and applied to bee stings; it neutralises the acid and takes away the pain. Leave it on for as long as possible though as the pain is sneaky and can come back.
For a wasp sting, apply vinegar on a piece of paper towel and leave it on the sting for as long as possible. It might feel fine after a short while but don’t be fooled! — see above.
Essential Oils can give great relief to bites and stings: lavender oil is good for taking away the itch or sting; and lemon and tea tree are also very useful. Tea Tree in particular is great for preventing infection, which can be a problem when you get bitten or stung.
Apparently sugar is great for taking away the sting or itch — something I must admit I never knew! Crush up a sugar cube or grab some loose sugar and put it on a damp paper towel and apply it to the sting; I haven’t had to try this out yet but from the enthusiastic reviews it gets I will be remembering it for future use.
Enjoy the summer folks!