Did you know frozen peas can pass for an ice pack?

Story by Jamie Lampros
Tue, May 28, 2013
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Ever wonder what products work best for a nasty bug bite, a cut from shaving or an allergic reaction?

We asked the experts what they keep on their own shelves at home, items that are easy to find and don’t cost a lot of money.

“There are so many things that are good to have in our homes,” said Deanna Wolfe, registered nurse and trauma services coordinator at Ogden Regional Medical Center. “Chewable baby aspirin is a must for anyone over 50 or who has heart disease — as chewing aspirin if you have chest pain is known to reduce heart damage.”

According to an article in the April edition of Consumer Reports on Health, aspirin is a blood thinner, so it prevents blood clotting formation. If you think you are having a heart attack, call 911, unlock your door and chew four 81-milligram tablets or one 325-milligram tablet while you wait for help.

Here are some other suggestions from Wolfe and Tami Timothy, specialty services manager at Lakeview Hospital.

• Baking soda

No toothpaste in the house? Wet your toothbrush and dab on a little baking soda. Baking soda also neutralizes battery acid spillage from exploded batteries in toys and flashlights, Wolfe said.

“It has been said that vinegar, baking soda and Dawn dish soap are the only cleaners you need in your household, and they are biodegradable and do not hurt the environment,” Wolfe said.

• Medications

Timothy said it’s always wise to have pain relievers and fever reducers on hand, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Other medications to keep handy include those for heartburn, allergies, diarrhea, nausea, inflammation, cuts and fungus.

“It’s very important to remember that if you take medicine on a daily basis, be sure you have enough on hand to last at least a week,” she said. “If you have pets, keep an extra supply of medicines your pet takes on a regular basis, along with a copy of their shot records, and keep all medications in a waterproof container.”

• Meat tenderizer

It’s great for removing venom and the sting from wasps and bees, Wolfe said. Make a little paste with meat tenderizer and water, and apply to the sting.

• Hydrogen peroxide

This is great if you have dogs who eat things they shouldn’t, Wolfe said. Give them the appropriate dose, and it will make them give you the items back, she said. However, it should only be used for dangerous ingestions and a veterinarian should be consulted for the proper dose.

• Vinegar and rubbing alcohol

Mixed together, it cleans windows and doesn’t hurt the environment, Wolfe said. Witch hazel can also relieve the discomfort of painful hemorrhoids and can also be used to relieve stinging and swelling from bug bites. In addition, distilled white vinegar can take the itch out of a bug bite and can be mixed with baking soda to be used as a nontoxic cleaner.

• Plain petroleum jelly

Consumer Reports on Health toxicologist Urvashi Rangan said it’s a great natural remedy for rashes and dry skin. It’s also less likely to irritate sensitive skin over moisturizers that have multiple ingredients.

• Frozen peas

Having aches and pains? A bag of frozen peas can serve as a great ice pack, and it’s inexpensive, Wolfe said.

• Cigarette rolling paper

According to Consumer Reports, these papers can stop the bleeding from shaving cuts.

• First aid kit

This should include disinfectants, adhesive bandages, medical tape, thermometer, scissors, tweezers, Q-tips, soap, flashlight and various medications for pain, allergies and gastrointestinal problems. For a full list, go to redcross.org.

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