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 Summer First Aid Deborah Barr. All Rights Reserved.


All of the fun outdoor activities of the season can have a downside—insect bites, sunburn, rashes,  bee stings, and injuries to name a few. There are many safe, natural remedies and some are commonly found in your kitchen.

I’ve listed some below along with some high quality products that I've researched and used. It's advisable to keep some of these on hand during the summer months.

Please know when it is necessary to seek medical treatment and do not hesitate to do so. If you experience severe symptoms and/or allergic reactions, please go to the emergency room. 



The best approach is prevention by using a good sunscreen and I've provided links to some high quality, chemical-free sunscreens at the end of this article. Be selective since many sunscreens contain chemicals that harm your health. If you do experience sunburn, soothe it with one of more these:

  • Use 96-100% pure aloe vera gel; add 15 drop pure lavender pure essential oil and 3-5 drops pure peppermint essential oil to four ounces of gel. Do not use fragrance oils.

  • If you don't have pure aloe vera gel, add 4 drops lavender essential oil and 2-3 drops peppermint essential oil to any vegetable oil or moisturizer that you have on hand.,

  • Apple cider vinegar or white household vinegar – soak a cloth with one of these and apply to sunburned skin; or add 3 cups vinegar to a cool bath and soak.  You can also combine half vinegar and half water in a spray bottle and spray the sunburned area.  Avoid contact with eyes or broken skin.

  • Add 2 cups baking soda to a cool bath and soak for thirty minutes; or add cup baking soda to 16 ounces of cool water and compress your skin with it.

  • Take Astra C internally. It is effective for healing all kinds of burns.

If sunburn is severe with blisters, fever, pain, purple patches or rashes, seek medical attention.


Insect Bites

Apply a few drops of pure Tea Tree oil to the bite.  Look for tea tree oil that is 100% Melaleuca alternifolia, or a tea tree cream with at least 5% Tea Tree oil.  This essential oil comes from the leaves of an Australian tree and is a powerful first-aid remedy for all type of bites and stings.  It has potent antibiotic and antiseptic abilities and can be used it as an insect repellent.

Use any of these on bug bites for their pain-relieving an anti-inflammatory properties:

  • Break open the leaf of a fresh aloe plant or use a 96-100% pure aloe gel product

  • Juice of a fresh lemon

  • Brown rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar

  • Calendula ointment or tincture

  • Baking soda

  • Pure essential oil of lavender reduces irritation caused by mosquito bites and bee stings

  • Pure essential oil of chamomile reduces itching from insect bites. 

  • Do not apply pure essential oils directly to skin.  Dilute 3-5 drops in a teaspoon of jojoba oil or other vegetable oil.  Apply up to four times daily.  These are for external use only.

There are many natural insect repellants in health food stores that contain pure essential oils.  Insects hate essential oils.  Please avoid any that contain deet which is absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream causing many toxic effects including brain cell damage. My favorite is Quantum Health Buzzaway Spray - Deet-Free insect repellant for mosquitoes, black flies, ticks, gnats

I have successfully treated many people and dogs with Lyme disease and all of the terrible symptoms it causes. Schedule a consult


Bee Stings

First check for a stinger, and, if there is one, quickly remove it.  Do not squeeze a stinger out.  Gently scrape across the stinger site with a long fingernail or credit card which will usually remove stinger and venom sac. If it doesn’t, use tweezers.

Next apply one or more of these:

  • Make a baking soda paste by combining 3 teaspoons baking soda with one teaspoon warm water.  This reduces pain and swelling while drawing out toxins and neutralizing some of the inflammation.

  • A few drops of Echinacea tincture to the sting and take it internally.

  • A  drop of pure essential oil of Lavender over the sting.

  • A few drops of pure essential oil of peppermint on a sting that has become hard and swollen the day after the sting.

  • If you have none of these available, apply mud. Add enough water to dirt to make a thick mud; cover the sting completely.

  • Apply witch hazel, fresh lemon or lime juice.


Poison ivy, oak, or sumac

For rashes from poison ivy, oak or sumac; insect bites and stings, burns and bruises 

Dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in 8 ounces of water. Dip a clean cloth into the solution and place the cloth over the affected area for 15-20 minutes.  You can also make a thick paste of baking soda using 3 parts baking soda to one part water and apply to the affected area.  Dissolve one-half cup of baking soda in the bath for relief.  This is also helpful for insect bites, stings, burns and bruises.

Dilute cup apple cider vinegar in 5 cups of water.  Soak a clean cotton cloth in the solution and apply cooling compresses to the area.

Apply cold, fresh tofu to the rash and use a wet cloth to bind into place for 15-20 minutes.  When the tofu is no longer cold, discard and use a fresh, cold piece. Tofu is anti-inflammatory and can also be applied to all kinds of minor burns.

Swim in saltwater.  Sun and salt water quickly dry out poison ivy rashes.

Colloidal Oatmeal bath – 1-2 cups in the bath. I like Aveeno Bath; link is below.

Xanthium Relieve Surface to relieve itching and rash, take 3 tablets every 2 hours in the acute stages, then 3 tablets every 3 hours until symptoms clear.  May be more effective to take with Astra C.   Both are professional herbal formulas and available here.


Effective Herbal Formulas for pain from injuries

It's always best to go to the emergency room when you suffer from an injury. For minor incidents these herbal formulas are very effective. Even if you have a broken bone they will speed up your recovery.

Resinall E Tabs for pain and swelling due to sprains, strains, contusions, fractures, torn sinews, bruising and lacerations. Effective to take it before athletic events such as running, football, or boxing to prevent swelling and pain. This is a good one to keep in your medicine cabinet. Learn more here

AC-Q Tabs for joint and muscle pain from traumatic and sports injuries; works well for acute lower body (below the waist) injuries, and chronic cases affecting the whole body.  Learn more here

SPZM treats injuries affecting the upper body; useful for muscle cramps, wrist pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, lack of strength in the limbs, restless leg syndrome. Learn more here

More Pain Formulas Here


First Aid Products

I've researched some high quality products that should be part of your first aid medicine cabinet. I have used most of them myself.  It's wonderful that there are so many chemical-free products available. Here are some of my favorites:

Thayers Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera Original Alcohol Free soothes itches, rashes, burns, insect bites

Quantum Health Buzzaway Spray, 8 Ounce Buzz Away Extreme - Deet-Free insect repellant for mosquitoes, black flies, ticks, gnats

Tropical Sands  100% Pure Aloe Vera Gel, Biodegradable, 8 fl Oz sunburn, irritated skin, psoriasis, eczema

Alba Botanica Very Emollient, Fragrance Free Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30

Blue Lizard Sensitive Sunscreen SPF 30+  paraben-free, fragrance-free, chemical-free

Lavender Essential Oil. 10 ml. 100% Pure, Undiluted, Therapeutic Grade.

USDA Certified Organic Peppermint Essential Oil. 10 ml. 100% Pure, Undiluted, Therapeutic Grade.

Tea Tree (Melaleuca) Essential Oil. 30 ml (1 oz). 100% Pure, Undiluted, Therapeutic Grade.

Boiron First Aid Calendula Ointment, 1 oz. soothing for cuts scrapes, minor burns

Aveeno Soothing Bath Treatment,  soothing for poison ivy, oak, and sumac and dry, itchy skin

Unker's Multi Purpose Therapeutic Salve - 3.5 Ounces I've used this product for many years in a variety of ways; on the temples for a headache; checkbones and under nose for sinus infections; as a steam; for sore or tight muscles; insect bites; rubbed on the belly for stomach ache and many other uses

My article Summer Health Tips for Body and Mind will enlighten you to the many health issues from insomnia to poor memory that are worsened by summer heat. You'll learn how to combat them with cooling foods; which foods cause them;  how to replace electrolytes; and the importance of keeping your digestion strong and healthy.

Use common sense and caution during the heat of summer. Take a first aid kit with you when hiking, biking, or for any outdoor activity. Wear a hat and sunglasses and drink plenty of water. Play well and enjoy! For summer health tips

Deborah Barr  All rights reserved.


A Holistic approach takes some effort and education, and can be made easier with professional help.  I've witnessed the struggles of countless people in my 31-year counseling practice and  it has been disheartening to learn the many irrational, extreme, even dangerous methods those people have used to recover good health or lose weight.  Many have harmed their health in the process.  You can have it all -- good health, a slender, fit body, mental and emotional harmony, and a life you love.  It depends on you and your choices.

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There are many popular food plans and no lack of internet advice from thousands of people who lack an understanding of food therapeutics and have little or no professional training.  Good marketing sells fads to people who are desperately trying to recover good health and lose weight.  Current scientific findings often contradict previous findings by the same experts.  A perfect diet that will bring everyone good health does not exist and accepting this fact is a good starting point for achieving balanced health.  

Consider some professional guidance for the right nutrition and holistic health plan for you. You can greatly improve every aspect of your physical, mental and emotional health with a customized holistic approach.   Schedule an Introductory Holistic Health and Nutrition session with Deborah Barr, 29-year Holistic Health and Nutrition Counselor. You'll be on your way to better health. Sessions can be done by phone, skype, or at Pittsburgh office.

Questions?  Call 412.361,8600 or send an email to 


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Deborah Barr, 31-year Holistic Health and Nutrition Counselor/Coach, speaker, and author, has helped thousands of clients reverse health and weight issues; achieve emotional harmony, radiant health, passion, peaceful living, work-life balance, and a life they love.  In 1985 she founded Whole Health Resources, the premier Holistic Health Center in Pittsburgh.  WHR’s mission is to promote the healing and development of body, mind and spirit, and to teach an understanding of the relationship between diet, attitudes, lifestyle and wellness. She offers free help through 2 e-newsletters, Holistic Weight Loss, and Whole Health Matters, and free articles.   Subscribe to newsletters

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