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5 DIY first aid hacks every parent needs to know for summer

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, May 18th, 2016


Summer is finally around the corner and this means it’s time to prepare first aid kits to be ready for that inevitable fall or accident. Nutritionist Andrea Donsky shares five homemade first aid options that will do the job while being gentle on kids’ skin.

Cuts and scrapes

When it comes to cuts and scrapes, the first instinct is to disinfect the wound using hydrogen peroxide or another antibacterial product. However, new research shows that minor wounds don’t always require disinfectant but rather a simple wash with a saline solution or lukewarm water. Once the wound has been cleaned and all the dirt is removed, you can apply:

· Honey: honey has natural antibacterial and anti-viral properties that help to decrease the likelihood of infection. Research shows that wounds kept moist heal faster than those that are dry. Cover the wound with gauze or leave it uncovered.

· Thyme: you can also steep some thyme to make thyme tea. Steep for five minutes and then soak a towel or cloth in the “tea” and apply it to the affected area to clean and soothe irritation. 

If you have severe wounds of cuts, always seek medical help.


Bruises amd inflammation

If you have bruises and/or inflammation, fruit might be your best bet.

Pineapple: this fruit contains natural anti-inflammatory compounds and an enzyme called “bromelain” which helps to reduce inflammation. Rub the fruit directly on your skin to break down the blood that has clotted to form a bruise. Bromelain will help fade the bruise quickly and prevent further blood clots from forming.

Bee Stings

Bee and wasp stings

The first thing to do when you get bitten by a bee or wasp is to remove the stinger.

Bee sting: make a paste of baking soda and water and leave it in the bite area for 15 minutes to neutralize the acidic venom and reduce the pain and swelling.

Wasp sting: soak cotton balls or a cloth in vinegar and apply it to the bite for 15 minutes to eliminate the discomfort. Andrea’s personal preference is to use apple cider vinegar because it works a little bit faster. 

Bug Repellents

Bug repellent 

With the Zika virus in the news and on our minds, we want to keep mosquitoes as far away as possible!

· Basil leaves are great for repelling insects especially for mosquitoes (they don’t like the scent of basil). You can use them two ways: 

  1. Steep basil leaves in boiling water for 2-3 hours and strain the steeped water into a spray bottle and use it on your body, windows, picnic tables, doorways, and anywhere else you often see bugs. You can add vodka to make it more potent.
  2. You can also rub basil leaves directly onto your skin for a quick repellent.

· Store bought bug repellent: for everyday use, I prefer to use bug spray without diethyltoluamide, also known as DEET. It has been linked to rashes, nausea and skin irritation. Look for a bug repellent that doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals, and instead use essential oils to repel the bugs. 

· In the event you do get bitten, try the following:

  • Rub a banana peel over the bite. The sugars in the peel will help draw the fluid out of the bite.
  • Apply a cut up onion or onion poultice to the bite. Wash the area afterwards (avoid using onion if the skin is broken).
  • Apply a slice of raw potato.
  • Peppermint or neem toothpaste work to relieve the pain and swelling.



When it comes to the summer sun, it is important to apply sunscreen often to protect the skin. When it comes to sunscreen, to look for brands that are free of harsh chemicals like oxybenzone and parabens.

· In the event you do get a sunburn, try the following:

Grab some fun shaped ice cube trays and freeze some aloe vera in it. This creates ready-to-go “boo boo cubes” when you need them. Aloe vera is packed with vitamins and minerals that help to relieve pain, fight inflammation and repair damaged skin cells. It also stops the burning sensation you experience with a sunburn.


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