6 Health Tricks to Steal from Nurses | GH
11 Health Tricks to Steal from Nurses
When you spend your days surrounded by sick people, you can't help but gather a few tried-and-true tricks for getting — and staying — healthy. From treating boo-boos to keeping sniffles away, here are some habits nurses say they swear by:
1. They cover the gas pump with a paper towel.
And the faucet in a public restroom. And the door handle on the way out. You get the picture. "A lot of the viruses we find during cold and flu season are sitting on what we call high-touch surfaces — gas pumps, subway poles, ATM machines," explains Keith Carlson, RN, a nurse and popular blogger in Santa Fe, New Mexico. So it may look silly, but covering those surfaces with a paper towel or napkin is a simple way to stay protected.
2. They use meat tenderizer for bee stings.
Seriously. Whenever Paula Losito, RN, a telephone triage nurse at St. Louis Children's Hospital, goes camping or does other outdoor activities with her family, she packs Aldolph's meat tenderizer powder, her clever remedy for bee stings. "Put a little in the palm of your hand, add a few drops of water, scoop it up with a cotton ball and apply to the sting site as soon as possible," she says. "Hold it in place for about 15 minutes. The enzymes help to neutralize the venom of the sting."
3. ...and baking soda for everything else.
Kathy Hotard, RN, also a telephone triage nurse at St. Louis Children's Hospital, claims this kitchen staple comes in handy to soothe bug bites, sunburn, and other skin irritations. "When my children are playing sports, I keep a small container of baking soda in my car," Hotard says. "Mix it with water to make a paste and apply it to bites and irritations."
4. They brew a cup of garlic tea.
Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which is thought to strengthen the immune system (as well as a host of other benefits). "But chewing it can be harsh for some people," says Donna Cardillo, a nurse and blogger in Sea Girt, New Jersey. Her solution? Make it into a tea. She chops one or two gloves of garlic and then "steeps" the garlic in hot water, making a pungent tea. We're not saying it tastes good, but Cardillo does say it helps her ward off colds and the flu.
5. They use stool softener for more than constipation.
Maybe it's not the sexiest item in your bathroom cabinet, but liquid stool softener can help remove impacted earwax (which can cause headache and dizziness)."Take a dropper and put three or four drops of Colace or other softener in the ear, and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes," explains Patricia Godbold, LPN, a nurse at MUSC Children's After Hours Care program in Charleston, South Carolina. Then rinse the ear with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and warm water until the wax comes out.
6. They treat cuts with honey.
Run out of antibiotic ointment? Honey is an alternative you probably already have nearby. "You can put it on gauze or directly on the wound," Godbold says. It keeps gashes moist while they heal and blocks out infections.
7. They start their mornings with water.
Everybody knows the importance of drinking water throughout the day — but having a glass before you do anything else has important health benefits, from regulating digestion to boosting immunity. "Most of us walk around dehydrated most of the time anyway," says Cardillo. "But we're particularly dehydrated after the night because we haven't consumed any water or food. A glass in the morning helps wake your brain and body up."
8. They wash their hands — forcefully.
Yes, hot water and soap are helpful. But the key to truly clean hands is friction, Carlson says. "If you watch a surgeon or a nurse get ready for surgery, they're not just pouring soap over their hands, they're scrubbing their hands with a brush," he says. "The friction actually removes the bacteria from the surface of your hands. If you put a ton of soap on your hands and don't rub very hard, like a child might do, it's not going to do much."
9. They always carry alcohol swipes.
Those tiny squares that nurses rub on your arm before a shot are great for disinfecting icky surfaces. Even better: They're cheap, available at most drugstores, and take up minimal room in your purse. "I always travel with those," says Cardillo. "I clean off the hotel telephone receiver and the remote control." Other good spots to swipe: the airplane seat belt and tray table. And for hands, nurses always carry an old standby: gel sanitizer. Martha Kent, senior nursing director of perioperative quality and safety at NYU Langone Medical Center, says, "I live in New York City, so I Purell on the subway and at work."
10. They drink apple cider vinegar.
This pantry staple was praised by Hippocrates, and medical pros still tout its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties. Sara Burdick, RN, a nurse and health coach at UCLA Medical Center, drinks a concoction of apple cider vinegar, lemon, and warm water when she's worried about catching a cold. " I swear by it," she says. "It works really well. The apple cider vinegar and lemon help balance the body's pH."
11. They pause and take some breaths.
It's been proven that stress makes you sicker. But studies show mindfulness decreases stress and pain while boosting self-confidence, feel-good endorphins and overall health, Kent explains. You don't have to stop everything and meditate, either: "It's basically concentrating on your breath whenever you find yourself in a situation of high stress, or if you find that you're not paying attention to what's unfolding in front of you at the moment," she says.
Video: Rescue German Shepherd Adopts Hurt Hummingbird, Helps Nurse It Back to Health
Selma Blair Says a 23andMe Test Might Have Revealed Her MS Years Ago
Louisiana woman fights off Plenty of Fish date, police say
How to Help a Friend Move on from a Long Distance Romance
Q: Is snoring dangerous
41 Ultimate Short Hairstyles for Long Faces
How to Improve Your Arm Workout for Size and Definition
Accusations of forcible kissing and groping have mounted for weeks
Tips From Physical Therapists on How to Manage AS
So the Beckhams’ house is even more incredible than we imagined
Women are more likely to pay debts with tax returns
Keep Your Cool With Rosacea