Need to sort a health or beauty niggle fast and you don’t have the time to do a pharmacy run? When it comes to non-urgent medical problems, you will be surprised to find the solutions right in your medicine cabinet – some staples like antiseptic, aspirin and even haemorrhoid cream can have some surprising uses, according to pharmacist James Delahunty and GP Dr Vicki Kotsirilos. Here’s what these essentials can do for you:
Insomnia and nausea
Did you know? Antihistamines can aid sleep and relieve nausea.
Allergy medications contain promethazine hydrochloride, which can have a mild sedative effect – while relieving symptoms of allergy. Many antihistamines have the same active ingredient as travel sickness medication and can also be used to treat nausea.
Remember! This is only a short-term fix. If insomnia is an ongoing problem, see your GP.
Eyebags, cold sores and minor bleeding
Did you know? Your haemorrhoid cream can shrink those bags under your eyes, and soothe cold sores, even minor bleeding.
The vascoconstrictors that help shrink haemorrhoids can tighten up puffy skin under your eyes. Haemorrhoid creams containing adrenalin and a local anaesthetic can also be applied to a cold sore, or to a minor cut to numb pain and constrict blood vessels to help stop bleeding.
Remember! Not all haemorrhoid creams contain cvascoconstrictors, and some contain corticosteroids, which can cause unwanted side effects with long-term use.
Sandfly and mosquito bites
Did you know? Liquid antiseptic mixed in equal parts with generic baby oil is an effective insect repellent.
Liquid antiseptic contains chloroxylenol, isopropyl alcohol and pine oil, which produce an odour that’s unappealing to sandflies and mosquitoes.
Remember! When storing the mixture, label it clearly and keep it out of reach of children because it’s poisonous if swallowed.
Foot fungus and head lice
Did you know? Tea tree oil can cure foot fungus and kill head lice.
Known as a great antibacterial, tea tree oil is also a powerful antifungal. Experts suggest soaking your feet nightly in water with a few drops of tea tree oil, and add a few drops to conditioner before combing out lice with a fine-toothed comb. Do this for 20 minutes before rinsing off.
Remember! The head lice treatment needs to be repeated every night for a week and then once a week for a fortnight to remove residual nits (eggs), but stop using if it causes scalp irritation.
Cramps and restless legs
Did you know? Soap can relieve menstrual cramps and restless legs.
A cake of ordinary soap placed under the sheets at the foot of the bed helps relieve pain and calms the involuntary limb movement that comes with restless leg syndrome (RLS). Although there’s litle scientific evidence to this, reserachers have used soap-scented skin patches to ease menstrual cramps and fibromyalgia pain.
Remember! Causes of nocturnal cramps or restless legs may include kidney problems, pregnancy and magnesium or iron deficiency. See a doctor if this is an ongoing issue.
Pimples and plantar warts
Did you know? Aspirin can help zap pimples and plantar warts.
Salicylic acid, found in aspirin, is also the main ingredient in most acne medications. As an emergency remedy for pimples, experts suggest crushing soluble aspirin with manuka honey for an antibacterial bang. Research has also shown that applying salicylic acid direct to plantar warts on the soles of the feet can work as well as having them frozen off by a doctor.
Remember! Some people can be sensitive to aspirin, so do a patch test before applying to the face. wash off immediately if you experience any skin irritation.
Sore muscles and fever
Did you know? Medicated chest rubs can soothe sore muscles and reduce fever.
Chest rub massaged onto sore muscles can relieve pain and improve healing from breathing problems associated with cold and flu. When rubbed on the soles of the feet, they can help reduce fever.
Remember! Some of the ingredients can cause serious harm if taken internally, so avoid putting chest rub up your nose, near your eyes, in your mouth or anywhere near broken skin.
Text: Bauersyndication.com.au / Photos: 123RF.com