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Be Well

(page 4 of 5)

Do-It-Yourself Health


By Ellen Bodal

Doctor knows best, but there are plenty of ways to treat common maladies at home. Much like the duct tape we use to make our favorite ski jackets good as new, we can come up with creative ways to cure ourselves of mild seasonal afflictions. As always, if symptoms worsen or persist, consult your physician.







To stop that pounding in your head, take an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) like Advil or Aleve and drink plenty of water.


A shoulder and neck massage works wonders. Add an aromatherapy essential oil like eucalyptus or lavender to help ease the pain.


Nausea? Heartburn? Indigestion? Diarrhea? Just like the Pepto-Bismol jingle says, the pink stuff quashes it all.


Ginger in almost any form eases stomach problems. Drink natural ginger ale or tea, or snack on the root in crystallized form to get your digestive system back in synch.

Suck on nonprescription throat lozenges (Sucrets is a good one) that contain an anesthetic to relieve throat pain.

Though it may taste like sea water, gargling with salt and warm water can reduce the swelling that is causing the pain in your throat.

An over-the-counter cough syrup like Robitussin will suppress your cough. For the cough that won’t quit, a prescription with codeine can put you to sleep.

Drinking any hot herbal tea or breathing in steam with eucalyptus oil can help soothe your airway and break up the mucous that is causing your cough.

Ear pain can be pretty unbearable, so for fast relief, over-the-counter antiseptic eardrops work fast. Pop an Advil to help ease the pain.

Dish up the curry! Any spicy food that is hot enough to make your nose run can actually clear up the congestion that causes earaches.

Pain relievers with acetaminophen, like Tylenol, also serve as fever reducers.


If your fever hasn’t totally sapped your energy, take a lukewarm, but not cold, shower or bath to lower your body temperature.

NSAIDs like Advil or Aleve, taken as prescribed, decrease inflammation and can ease joint pain. For moderate to severe arthritis you should see your orthopedic physician to discuss more serious treatment.

Use it or lose it. According to local physical therapist Karoline Droege, stiff joints are like a car engine without oil. Low impact activities such as cycling and swimming will keep your joints well-lubed and in optimum condition.

The magic of Icy Hot . . . this topical pain reliever is cold on your skin at first, and then mysteriously becomes hot to relieve the ache of sore muscles. For the Eastern version, try Tiger Balm.

Two words: Hot. Tub.






Upset Stomach



Sore Throat















Stiff Joints






Sore Muscles



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