I was watching an old episode of Friends, where Joey and Chandler pee on Monica’s foot after she was stung by a jelly fish. I was wondering who in the hell thought of that first. I mean, how does that even come about? I was stung by a jelly fish when I was in my twenties, and the lifeguard told me to put some wet sand on it. He never offered to pee on my leg. I would have enjoyed being able to tell that story.
So, I started thinking about old wive’s tales, homemade remedies, and what the experts have to say about them. Maybe you may even learn a thing or two the next time some guy wants to pee on your jellyfish sting.
A Vacation Ruiner
1. Pee on a jellyfish sting- Stop right there! Urine has never been proven to help in jellyfish stings. So, that drunk kid at spring break who told you he is in medical school and that he should pee on your sting was a big, fat liar. And perhaps an exhibitionist. In fact, vinegar is the best first treatment for a jellyfish sting. The people in Australia are way ahead of the world. Their beaches are lined with vinegar stands. Other treatments that also work are rubbing alcohol, unseasoned meat tenderizer, baking soda, household ammonia, and lemon or lime juice. So, the next time you head to a beach, take some vinegar with you. If you don’t get stung, you can always make a salad.
2. Butter on a Burn- This is a remedy that my mom used on us all of the time. Any time we had a burn, she would reach for the butter. Which I have a real problem with now, because the loon never put the butter in the refrigerator. She left the butter out on the stove, hiding under a clear glass butter dome. So, not only was she putting butter on my burned hand, she was putting potentially rancid, yucky, bacteria laced butter on my burn. Oh sure, I know many of you have eaten counter butter and you are still alive and Grandma is now 105 and has never been sick a day in her life and has kept butter out on her counter, but that’s not what I am supposed to be talking about anywho.
photo via wikipedia
I am sure that the thinking years ago is that butter may act like a salve and help soothe the burning. But, butter on a burn can actually trap heat. And that is a no-no. Thanks, Mom. I have read that if you have to use something, honey may be of some interest. But, don’t hold me to it.
3. Sore throats- Sore throats suck. You have to swallow, and the thought of the impending pain is just sad, especially when a child is involved and is looking at you for help. I was always told to gargle with warm salt water when you had a sore throat. My ex-husband swore by it. In the past year, my bff turned me to apple cider vinegar. Ahhh, I love it. Does it work? Yes, it does. I read though that you should not give it to a child younger than two years of age.
Damn sore throat. I can’t wear my pearls.
For gargling: You’ll need 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup cider vinegar, and 1 cup warm water. Dissolve the salt in the vinegar, then mix in the water. Gargle every 15 minutes as necessary. Works for me.
4. Hydrogen Peroxide and Rubbing Alcohol- My mom is such a liar. When I would wreck my bicycle, my mom would basically pour peroxide into my wound. “Watch, Vickie. The bubbling means it is killing the germs.” Wrong, child killer. Now, this is where the experts disagree. Some say that you should put alcohol on the wound to use as an antiseptic. Others yell, “Oh, hell no!”
Some dermatologists believe that the bubbling from the chemical reaction that occurs when peroxide comes in contact with the skin isn’t only cleaning the wound, it’s also killing healthy cells. When there’s a cut, they believe you should not use iodine, peroxide, or alcohol. Yikes. So, that’s why my knees looked like hell. And guess why it stings when alcohol is applied to a cut? Well, because it’s wiping out tissue that is healthy. I did not know this. I watched my son’s cat last Christmas and the damn thing bit me. I used peroxide, thinking that damn bubbling would be killing the germs and bacteria. All hell broke loose and I ended up taking antibiotics and it really got nasty. Cat bites can be dangerous. Stupid cat.
5. Well hell, when in doubt, just use some whiskey- I used to work as a dental assistant in a previous life, and you just wouldn’t believe the people that would come in with a toothache, touting the virtues of whiskey applied on their gums or hurting tooth. They swore that it worked. I was hoping that someone drove them to their appointment, as I swear some of them were applying the whiskey every hour or so. Now, my grandmother had a recipe for rheumatism that called for whiskey. You go, Grandma! I still have her recipe, written in that shaky, chicken scratch penmanship that only grandmothers could create. It reminds me of Granny on The Beverly Hillbillies.
How about a hot toddy? Feeling sick and want to go to sleep? Some people swear by drinking a hot toddy before bed time. Here’s one recipe.
1/4 cup whiskey, 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice. Microwave until it is hot, sip it and then go to bed.
My mom gave us a little bit of whiskey when we had a cough. I’m thinking she wanted to knock us out so we wouldn’t be up all night, which would mean she would be up all night. She also told me that she used a little whiskey on her finger and would rub it on our gums when we were teething. I’m surprised none of the Mendenhall kids are attending AA meetings.
Momma, whiskey is good
6 Aspirin on a tooth - Not tonight. I have a toothache. I imagine a very lazy person decided to just put an aspirin on his tooth or right on his gum to ease the pain. So, does that mean if you have a headache, you should just put a pill on your head? Stupid. Aspirin is very acidic and it can leave a little round imprint on your gum if you leave it on there long enough. This just makes no sense and I can not find any research that says otherwise.
7. Kerosene for head lice- Really? Dear God.- I can’t even imagine, but I bet I know how this started. It probably went something like this:
“Ethel! Ralph has done come home with lice. We need to kill them little buggers…(pause, pause, thinking, thinking…) I know! Let’s kill them with kerosene. It will drown them.”
And that’s how another old wive’s tale started. There were some kids when I was little that had to sit with kerosene on their head while their mother combed out the nits. Here’s my thought. When I was little, I was a shuffling, sock wearing, static electric shocker kid. What if I came shuffling through while ole Ralphie was getting a kerosene shampoo. If I shocked him, would his head ignite? Just wondering. But, back in the sixties, that’s the remedy was used. In 2012, I just read where mayonaisse is a solution to head lice. Wouldn’t that just be like feeding them? There would be big lice sitting on your head.
8. Rubbing a potato on a wart- Ok, wart people, I have read that this works from numerous articles. When you rub a potato to the wart, the wart will turn black and fall off. The chemical compound in the potato is supposed to fight the wart. But, slice the potato and rub the wart. Some people peel the skin off of the potato, and tape the skin to the wart every night at bedtime. I’m not warty, but I would try it.
9.Splinter remover- Elmer’s glue..Say what? Dear God, this would have solved so much anguish. My daughter would lose her mind every time she had a splinter. Why didn’t someone tell me this fifteen years ago. Supposedly, you just apply Elmer’s Glue on top of the splinter. Let it dry. When you peel the glue off, the splinter is supposed to come off with it. Ta-da! Wow, I almost want to get a splinter to see if this really works.
10. Oatmeal for Arthritis-Quaker Oats for fast pain relief. I guess you can eat breakfast and then put the leftovers on your hands. “Mix 2 cups of Quaker Oats and 1 cup of water in a bowl and warm in the microwave for 1 minute, cool slightly, and apply the mixture to your hands for soothing relief from arthritis pain.” Well, people take oatmeal baths to help with poison ivy, so I mean, who knows? This is supposed to work.
11. Eye puffiness- Preparation H. Let’s get to the bottom of this one… (hahahaha) I just read about ten articles about this, and it doesn’t work. I really think someone reached for the wrong ointment once upon a time and next thing you know, someone said it worked for them. But, the fact of the matter is, it isn’t supposed to work at all. But, hey, if your eyes start bulging out a bit, it may be something you should try. Just sayin.
12. Vicks Vapor Rub- Ahhhh. I love my Vicks Vapor Rub. Imagine my happiness when I read that if you have a bad cold with congestion, and you can not sleep, rub Vicks Vapor Rub on your feet, don some socks, and go to bed. You will wake up after a great night sleep, feeling better. I personally know people who have tried this and they have said that it works. Why wouldn’t it? Vicks Vapor Rub rocks!
photo via pinterest
So, there you have it. In the end, Mother knows best. Until years later, when you find out the fruitcake almost killed you. Old wive’s tales will always be around. People will always swear that something ridiculous worked magic for them. And if it works, who are we to judge?
Well, except for the smelly kerosene boy. I’d have to slap his mom.