When we picture summer in the county, our visions are Norman-Rockwell idyllic. Reality isn’t always quite as rosy. You might get stung, bitten, or burned.
Don’t let a brief setback ruin your good times. Michelle Abadir, MD, a dermatologist in Rye Brook (drabadir.com), gives us the best advice on how to recover after a summertime setback. Here, her antidotes to some of the biggest summer bummers.
First, take the stinger out; it’s got all the venom. “Sometimes, you can just take a credit card and swipe it across the top and it’ll come out,” Dr. Abadir says. If not, get the tweezers. Once it’s gone, you can focus on dulling the pain. Believe it or not, meat tenderizer on the wound really works. “Papain, the enzyme that breaks down the meat, also breaks down the venom.”
“Cortisone works,” Dr. Abadir says. Use the over-the-counter kind and it should be fine. If it’s particularly pesky, use ice. “Cold always works on anything that itches,” she says. “Pain and itching are carried by the same nerve fibers. Cold confuses them.”
If you know you’ve come in contact with poison ivy, washing the affected area within 10 minutes of contact might be able to stop breakouts. (Just remember to also wash everything you’ve touched since your exposure, too.) If you’re too late, there’s always Benadryl—just make sure you take it orally. “People use Benadryl topically, and it works, but you’re more likely to develop an allergy to it if you use it that way.”
We’re talking blisters here. If you’ve cooked in the sun that long, take Motrin—right away. Dr. Abadir recommends a 600- mg dose, so long as you don’t have any reason you shouldn’t be taking it at all (such as bleeding). “It decreases the inflammation,” she says, “and the inflammation is what causes the damage.”