Monday, October 6, 2008

Beware of Home Remedies

While some do-it-yourself health lifestyle techniques work just fine,others can spell real trouble.

There’s nothing wrong with home remedies like cornstarch and water on a bee sting, but cleansing your colon from the comfort of your home is certainly one for the “do not try this at home” warnings. Neither is removing wax from your ear by holding a lit candle inches from your head.

Health is wealth and should be handled with care. Don't be fooled by every home remedy you hear about and seek professional help from your health care provider when necessary.

The ear produces a waxy film that acts as a natural lubricant. It waterproofs the ear and has an acidic pH that helps in preventing infections. Wax build-ups may cause itching and impaired hearing that is why some people resort to ear candling. This so called easy at-home solution involves taking a candle-shaped beeswax cone, placing it in the ear, lighting it, and after the wick burns down, removing the cone along with ear wax and other impurities.

Who said that lighting a flame inches from your ear is easy? It’s actually dangerous and may lead to burns in the ear canal and on the eardrum. I’d rather that you stop playing with fire, and just use a tissue around your finger to wipe away excess wax from the outer part of the ear. Using cotton buds is acceptable but stays at the outer part of the ear and do not go deeper to avoid puncturing the eardrum.

Another nonsense home remedy is using whiskey for teething babies. It’s not unusual for parents to try anything to stop their child from non-stop hours of crying and wailing but alcohol should not be a part of the remedy at anytime.
Aside from the fact that whiskey has no real numbing effect on the gums of teething kids, they should not be consuming alcohol as well. Instead, try to chill a teething toy in the freezer and give it to your baby. It will have a cooling effect on the gum which will both soothe and numb it. A child old enough to have ice pop can be given a sugarless one but definitely with adult supervision.

For adults, whiskey won’t help a toothache or tenderness in the gum. Only dentists or pain relief drugs can take away the pain caused by a cavity deep in the tooth or a gum infection.

So-called home remedies for minor burns like toothpaste may provide a slight cooling effect. However, these are not sterile and may increase risk of infection.

Over-the-counter antibiotic burn ointment is still best for mild to moderate first-degree burns and second-degree burns limited to an area no larger than 3 inches in diameter. Gently apply it to the burned skin, and keep it covered for cleanliness. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help alleviate pain.

Some people say that since colons are filled with toxic waste matter, the solution is to flush them out with herbs, special diets, or laxatives. While colon is a waste receptacle, its function is to let fecal material pass out of the body, naturally.
However, if you try to cleanse your colon from the comforts of your home, it may disrupt your body's electrolyte balance, which can cause dehydration and salt depletion. It can even lead to malnutrition, anemia, and heart failure.
It is better to increase your fiber intake by eating more fruits and vegetable, or by adding a daily supplement to your diet.

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