Non-Drug Treatments

At a time where you perhaps least tolerate the discomforts of common ailments, you are not able to take a magic medicine to make it all better. Here is some helpful non-drug alternatives that may give you some relief. This guide should complement and not substitute the role of your caregiver, so always get his or her approval first.

BACKACHE

Long warm baths in the morning or evening. Heating pad on the low to medium setting for twenty minutes 4 times a day. Preventive measures including exercise, proper lifting technique, good posture and proper footwear.

BRUISES DUE TO INJURY

Apply an ice pack, either commercially available or homemade or a cold compresses to the site as soon as possible for about thirty minutes if necessary. If the bruise involves the hands, wrists or feet, immerse the afflicted part in ice-cold water for the same duration and at the same intervals.

BURNS

If the burn is not third degree and shows either minor or no blistering, you can follow the same instructions as for bruises. Applying aloe vera gel may help ease the pain. Never apply anything to a badly blistered burn where the skin is partially or completely denuded. If this is a case, seek medical attention.

COLDS

Remedies for this common and often miserable ailment include saline nose drops (available at any pharmacy), Vicks VapoRub and the use of a steam humidifier or vaporizer. The latter is helpful for both nasal congestion and coughs. Be sure to drink plenty of extra fluids until you are well.

DIARRHOEA

Drink 8 ounces of liquid hourly. This includes all clear liquids (except those with caffeine and prune juice). You should avoid dairy products until you are well, so if advised by your caregiver, take calcium supplements until you can use milk as a calcium source again.

FEVER

Take a tepid water bath and add ice cubes to gradually reduce the water temperature. Splash your body with the cool water, because heat loss is more rapid by evaporation than by condition into the water in which the body is submerged. You can get out when the shivering begins or your temperature drops below 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Notify your doctor if your temperature is 102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher or your fever is not accompanied by common cold. Drink plenty of fluids (8 ounces hourly) as long as the fever persists.

HAEMORRHOIDS

The best remedy for haemorrhoids is a sitz bath (hot tub soaks) for 30 minutes three times a day. The water should be hotter than the usual bath but not as hot as you can stand it. Increasing the fiber in your diet may also help if your haemorrhoids are made worse by constipation.

ITCHY SKIN

Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with enough household ammonia to make a paste, and apply it to the itchy areas. Alternatively, take a warm bath that has about 1/2 cup of cornstarch dissolved in the water. If the itching is accompanied by a rash or if the condition persists, notify the practitioner. To help prevent itchy skin problems that are so common in pregnancy, try to avoid long hot showers and baths, and use soaps that are not very drying. It may help to apply a good moisturizer after your bath or shower when your skin is still a little damp.

ITCHY EYES

Dip washcloth in warm water, wring it out, and apply it to the affected eye for 5 to 10 minutes every three hours. If your eye is usually red or painful, or if you have any visual problems as well, seek medical attention.

MUSCLE SORENESS DUE TO OVERUSE OR INJURY

Apply ice packs or cold compresses of the first 24 to 48 hours, then use hot soaks, warm baths or a heating pad until well. For the best hot compress, wrap the affected apart with a hot wet washcloth. Followed by a layer of plastic wrap, then a dry washcloth and lastly a heating pad set on a low to medium setting. Simple hot soaks can be done for an hour twice a day. The more elaborate hot compress is usually used in more severe muscle injury and can be left on for an hour two to three times during the day and continuously throughout the night.

SINUS PAIN

Use hot compresses alternating with cold compresses over the affected sinuses for about a minute each. You can do this routine for 10 to 15 minutes 3 to 4 times a day. A steam vaporizer or humidifier and saline nasal spray may also be of benefit. If you have green or yellow nasal discharge or postnasal drip or any fever, you may have a sinus infection. Seek medical attention for possible antibiotic treatment.

SORE THROAT

Salt water gargles for five minutes every two hours may help. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of hot water. The water should be as warm as a cup of hot tea.