Written by natural parenting contributor Megan of SortaCrunchy.
July is here! And with it comes the opportunity to spend long, glorious hours outside. Swimming, sailing, hiking, camping, or just playing – this is the time to get outdoors and enjoy!
Most parents learn early on that being prepared is an essential part of effective parenting. All that time outdoors with our children means we will certainly have ample opportunity to doctor little cuts, scrapes, bruises, and bites that come along with playtime.
Rather than relying on the shelves of the pharmacy to treat the outdoor “ouchies,” look around your house. You may find that you have everything you need to treat minor injuries for yourself and your children. Here are a few ideas to help you stock a natural first-aid kit:
Tea Tree Oil
Is there anything tea tree oil can’t do? It is an extremely effective antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral oil that definitely deserves a place in every first aid kit. It is as potent as it is effective, so make sure to use it in small amounts, and you may consider mixing it with a carrier oil (like olive oil or coconut oil) to dilute it and lessen the sting of application. Tea tree oil is a great go-to treatment for cuts and scrapes.
Some people do have allergic reactions when treated with tea tree oil. It is a good idea to test the skin of each member of the family to detect potential reactions before using it as a first aid treatment.
Raw HoneyPhoto by botheredbybees
Similar to tea tree oil in its broad range of uses, raw honey is an excellent sources of healing to have on hand. Honey is a wonderful antibacterial treatment, and dressing a minor cut or scrape with it not only promotes healing but it also aids in bandage removal by protecting tender, injured skin from the stinging sensation of the bandage being removed.
Speaking of stings, did you know honey is a great treatment for bee stings? And a sealed container of honey will never spoil, making it an easy, low-maintenance addition to your first-aid kit.
Okay, I admit I’m cheating a little with this one. Arnica cream is something you may not just have laying around the house, but it’s a great item to pick up and have on hand.
This homeopathic cream is perhaps best known as a topical treatment for sore or stiff muscles, but it is also extremely effective in treating bruises. Applied to skin when bruising appears, its anti-inflammatory properties will reduce swelling and provide pain relief.
Deet-Free Bug RepellentPhoto by naturegirl 78
Nothing spoils an evening sipping lemonade on the porch as quickly as a swarm of mosquitoes! Most of us know to stay away from bug repellents containing deet, particularly for use on children. We found a bug repellent spray at our local health food store that is deet-free and relies on citronella and other essential oils to keep those pesks away. Katie loves the Bug Bar Bug Block from Graham Gardens.
According to this article at EarthEasy.com, mixing one part garlic juice with five parts water is an effective way to keep mosquitoes at bay.
Sunscreen – or Not!
In recent years, the use of sunscreen has become a controversial topic in natural parenting circles. Later this month, Simple Organic contributor Katie will be covering this topic for us, but in the meantime, you can read thoughts on the topic from Simple Organic contributor Stephanie in My Thoughts on Sunscreen, Part One and Part Two, as well as her post here at Simple Organic on the benefits of sunshine.
I know I’ve mentioned this before in my article on natural remedies for babies, but I wanted to say again that breastfeeding mothers have an advantage over the rest of us when it comes to health and healing. Breast milk is full of antibodies that can bring about all kinds of healing when applied topically. Use expressed breast milk to treat cuts and scrapes, and apply it to those prickly heat rashes that are inevitable when spending time in the summer sun.
Finally, make sure to include some sterile bandages, cotton swabs, and perhaps some gauze in your first-aid kit. Place all of the items in a non-recyclable, repurposed container that you already have around the house, and the outdoor “ouchies” will soon be forgotten as you enjoy fun in the sun!
What natural remedies does your family keep on hand to care for bumps, scrapes, bruises, and bug bites?