Onion fights pain, swelling of wasp sting

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY

Health & Fitness

October 10, 2004|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,KING FEATURES SYNDICATE

I was cleaning up my flower beds for fall when a wasp stung me on the cheek. Not only did it hurt, but I feared it might swell up so my eye would shut.

I remembered your writing something about a cut onion, so I sliced the end off an onion and held it on the sting for about 20 minutes. It took the pain away quickly, and the site did not swell up either. Thanks for the remedy.

Thanks for the report. According to Eric Block, an expert in onion chemistry, there are enzymes in freshly cut onion that help break down the compounds in a sting that cause inflammation.

Are there natural ways to keep jock itch from returning? My husband has been using Lotrimin cream or other antifungals daily for about three years. Within two or three days of stopping the cream, the rash always comes back.

He has done all the recommended things, like wearing boxers and loose slacks. He dries off carefully after a shower. I am hoping you've got a home remedy that works.

Jock itch is due to a fungal infection, which is why antifungal creams used against athlete's foot keep it at bay. Some years ago a reader reported that using Cetaphil lotion as a cleanser in that area was beneficial. The propylene glycol in this nondetergent cleanser has antifungal activity.

Another reader found that dandruff shampoo could also cut down on jock itch. He lathered up Selsun Blue and left it on the affected area for five minutes.

Dandruff is caused by yeast, a type of fungus, so other treatments that work for dandruff might also help against jock itch. Readers tell us original Listerine works against dandruff, so it might work against jock itch if he's careful.

An old-fashioned approach others have recommended is Whitfield's ointment. It contains benzoic and salicylic acids in an extract of oak bark. Your pharmacist should be able to order it or make you some.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019, or e-mail them via their Web site, www.peoplespharmacy.org.

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