Simple Remedies for Summer First Aid

Simple Remedies for Summer First Aid

Don’t be afraid to get outdoors

I love to spend time outdoors camping, hiking, swimming, picnics and long drives, especially in the summer when the sun is shining. Curiously, nature loves the summer too and life flourishes including bugs and poison oak.

To help you in your summer fun, I thought I’d recommend a few simple things that I like to add to my basic first aid kit.

Bring electrolyte packets for outdoors in the sun such as long hikes, camping trips or a day on the river. It’s easy to become dehydrated and these don’t weigh much. They travel well and are kid friendly. They can also help in a pinch if you are feeling lightheaded, getting leg cramps or have been overheated. And they travel well too. There are a number or electrolytes on the market. I get ones that don’t added color or too much sugar.

A few Activated charcoal capsules are great to have along. They absorb toxins and gas from the gut and slow down diarrhea. You can take them several times a day if needed. They are safe for children too. Take away from other medications as it can interfere with absorption. You can use a capsule topically for insect bites too. Make a paste and put it on the site. Cover with gauze because it will stain clothing.

There are a few homeopathic medicines that I like to have with me on trips. If you are unfamiliar with them, they come in little tubes of sugar pellets that are super easy to take. Arnica 30c is probably the most famous remedy for bruising and trauma. The number after the name refers to the dilution of the medication. 30c is usually adequate for basic first aid.

Ledum is great for puncture wounds, bug bites and bee stings (if you are not allergic). If you are allergic then use your regular medication (EPI Pen if needed, Benadryl) but you can also add in apis mellifera 30c for hives and swellings.

You can take homeopathics every 15-20 minutes until symptoms calm down. They do not interfere with other medications.

Magnesium capsules help if you get constipated when you travel. It can also help with muscle cramps and headaches.

Black tea bags make great poultices for boils and styes. Just make a cup of tea, cool the bag enough so that it won’t burn you and apply to the site. The tannins in the tea draw out the infection.

You can make your own bug repellant using witch hazel and a few drops of citronella, lavender, oil of lemon eucalyptus or thyme in a spray bottle. The common recipe is one-part herbal oil to 10 parts witch hazel. Avoid your eyes when applying. For itchy bites and poison oak, a few drops of peppermint oil in witch hazel or in your favorite lotion calms the itch. In a pinch you can apply menthol shaving cream.

And don’t forget your water friendly sun block. Check out for safe brands to use. If you do get a sunburn, then hydrate! Use homeopathic cantharis 30c and aloe vera gel or apple cider vinegar topically to soothe it.

What could be so simple, so natural? Pack a simple lunch, a bottle of water and head for the park. Put your electronics away and spend an afternoon taking a hike, strolling through your garden, or reading a book under a tree in the park. Consider it medicine. The Vis Medicatrix Naturae. So don’t be afraid of the outdoors. Enjoy your summer and I’ll see you on the river!


Dr. Jennifer Means welcomes you for Primary Care for the whole family: Nutrition, IV Therapy, Naturopathy, and Acupuncture. Contact us at 503-641-6400.