Archive for the ‘Home Remedies’ Category

What If There Is No Ambulance? New Blog Teaches DIY Medicine

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

Duct tape. It can do a lot of things. But did you know it could help save your life?

That’s the kind of thing you’ll learn at the new blog The Survival Doctor: What to Do When Help Is NOT on the Way. It’s do-it-yourself medicine for when a natural disaster or terrorist attack strikes and you can’t get expert help right away.

After reading just one post, you’ll be able to stop a bleeding artery, clean the wound by puncturing a jug of water, and close the wound with duct tape. You can even use honey on it if you don’t have antibiotic ointment. (Don’t use it on babies though.)

The Survival Doctor is written by our publisher, James Hubbard, M.D. He spent years as a family doctor in small-town Mississippi and says the blog is “a combination of science, improvisational medicine, and Grandma’s home remedies.”

You can subscribe easily by email at the site. You’ll learn a little more with each post. Just imagine how glad you’ll be when phone lines are down, the Internet won’t work and the roads are blocked. When all you have is you.

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of and a freelance writer specializing in health and aging. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

Recipe for Cut Cleaning

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

What are the best ingredients for cleaning a cut?

a. Disinfectant and a cotton swab
b. Hydrogen peroxide
c. Soap and water

The answer is …


Bad Breath From the Stomach?

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

Got bad breath? Have you checked your stomach?

Acid reflux can cause not just heartburn but bad breath, says gastroenterologist Jonathan Schreiber. Treat the reflux, and your bad breath may float away. “Treatments include antacids, acid-blocking medications, and avoiding lying down after eating,” he says in this week’s featured article. Check it out here, and get more tips: “How to Stop Bad Breath: 3 Causes and Remedies.”

Interested in acid reflux? Check out “The Most Common Type of Heartburn: Non-Erosive Esophageal Reflux Disease.”

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Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of and a freelance writer.

This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

What Makes You Fart–and How to Stop It

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

We all know beans can do it. But what if you get gas sans those flatulence culprits?

It could be gas from your stomach that’s migrated down or other food causes you may not be aware of. Did you know some people even swallow air without knowing it? Check out all the causes in this week’s featured article, “How to Stop Excessive Gas: 5 Steps.”

And if you have really stinky gas or know someone who does, how about some charcoal underwear pads? Seriously. It’s a real product. I haven’t tried them, but here’s a funny video about the product from one brand, Subtle Butt.

Get your free mini-med school: our health e-newsletter!

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of and a freelance writer.

This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

Honey as Medicine: The Yummiest Remedy

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

by Leigh Ann Otte, Managing Editor

Did you know that properly stored honey never spoils? Yep, and it may help wounds from spoiling too. Integrative physician Robert Pendergrast explains:

[Honey] has strong antibacterial activity, mainly because of its low water/high sugar concentration: It literally sucks all the water out of bacteria.

Honey seems to be an effective wound treatment in certain situations. Of course, there are important precautions and guidelines. Find out more by checking out our article. It also covers whether a nighttime dose of honey can treat children’s coughs and whether bee stings—yes, stings—can treat arthritis. (Do be sure to read the precautions. For example, never give honey to a child under 12 months because of botulism risk.), giving a whole new meaning to “licking your wounds” …

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19 Tips for Outdoor and Indoor Seasonal Allergies

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

by Leigh Ann Otte, managing editor

Seasonal allergies can be so frustrating. It can feel like you have two choices: Feel miserable from the allergies or feel miserable from the medication.

Fortunately, though, those aren’t your only options. In “19 Tips From Allergists for How to Prevent and Treat Allergies,” allergists give their tips on dealing with indoor and outdoor allergies—without medication.

If you do need medicine, check out “Allergy Treatment: What Medicines to Take for Allergies—and How to Take Them,” which features an in-depth, practical rundown of your options—and how to use them best.

Do you have allergies? What has helped you?

Pssst … sign up for our free e-newsletter! You’ll get fascinating articles delivered once a month.

Gargling controversy: Tap water as a cold remedy? Newspaper questions study.

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

The most popular article in our latest e-newsletter took on a simple, long-time first-aid remedy: hydrogen peroxide. Believe it or not, it may do your cuts more harm than good.

After our managing editor tweeted a link to it, Twitter follower Ross Kennedy asked, “What about gargling with diluted peroxide?” Good question.

I’m not aware of any well-done studies that have shown that gargling with peroxide helps prevent infections. It probably doesn’t hurt, as long as it’s well diluted. (Otherwise, it can cause a burn.) One study did suggest that gargling with plain old water might help keep you cold-free. But the validity of its findings has been questioned.


What to do when you forget what the doctor said

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Once, I told a perfectly sane, intelligent and otherwise coherent patient to wait in the exam room to have blood work drawn. He smiled, said thanks and followed me out the door. I told him again he needed to come back into the room and wait to have blood drawn. He smiled, said thanks again and walked down the hall to leave. When he opened the door to go to the reception area, I had to gently restrain him so he would actually listen to what I was telling him. He had no fear of the lab work itself. He was just nervous about being in an unfamiliar setting and didn’t comprehend what I was saying.

If you’re like a lot of patients, you forget much of the advice your doctor gives by the time you walk out the door. You’re nervous, traumatized or more concerned about getting out of the building in one piece. Either that or the doctor was too rushed to give you the information in the first place.

We have a new article that provides general instructions on what to do after treatment for some common ailments. (The advice is generic. Always get specifics for your case.) I also wrote a follow-up on common misconceptions I see in my office.

Have you ever made any mistakes treating yourself at home?

James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H., is the publisher of, a Web site written by health-care providers for the general public.

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How to acclimate to the heat and how it happens

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Pop quiz:

  1. Why are some outdoor workers more prone to heat strokes after the first hot spell in early summer than later when it gets even hotter?
  2. Why are there more heat strokes in Chicago when the temperature may be hotter elsewhere at the same time?


Much has to do with your body having time to adapt, otherwise called acclimatization.  It takes between eight and 12 days for your body to acclimate to higher temperatures so when those hot days hit, you’re not ready.  The body acclimates to heat by: (more…)

Doctor Tips: How to treat poison ivy, oak, sumac–and what to have just in case

Monday, April 6th, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

The following is for information only.  Everyone has unique qualities or diseases that might affect treatment and healing.  Contact your personal health-care provider for specific advice.  These are generalized tips that may help until then.  I would love to hear additional ones from you.

First-aid supplies to have on hand for skin ailments:

  • Adhesive bandages of various sizes.
  • Tape. Any will do—even duct tape.  Of course, if you’ve had past skin reactions to tape, have plenty of hypoallergic or paper tape available.  Ideally, have several widths—or get a wide one and just tear it lengthwise to fit your need.
  • Gauze. Get a pack of non-sterile and some sterile nonstick.
  • Butterfly bandages or Steri-Strips.
  • Antibiotic ointment for cuts, scratches or breaks in the skin.
  • Hydrocortisone ointment, large tube, to treat skin inflammation, itching or irritation.  Not useful for cuts.  Use sparingly and not over one week on the face or two weeks elsewhere because it may start thinning your skin.

Other good items to have, but not essential:

  • Peroxide for cleaning wounds
  • Cotton-tip applicators for cleaning wounds or applying topicals (never for cleaning ears).
  • Aloe vera plant. The gel inside the leaf soothes about any superficial burn or rash.  Just break off a leaf near the bottom of the plant; take a knife and split it open; make multiple superficial horizontal and vertical cuts to get the gel out, and apply directly.
  • Domeboro tablets or powder.
  • Super glue (to make the tape stick better, not for gluing the wound shut).


Almost any plant can can cause skin irritation.  Some cause allergic reactions, with poison ivy, oak and sumac being most common.


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