Hikes, bike rides and soccer are just a few ways you may be enjoying the outdoors with family and friends this summer. These activities however, may unexpectedly lead to different concerns that require immediate attention. Although we are familiar with traditional first-aid kits, it’s important to know there are a variety of natural methods that can help us with issues such as insect bites and minor cuts and burns.

Here are some ways you can naturally help your family during the active summer months:

Insect Bites and Stings

Taking measures such as wearing light colours and long clothes, getting rid of standing water, and staying inside when mosquitoes are most active, are key preventative measures to avoid bites and stings.

The use of insect repellants is also an important step. If you want to avoid chemical-based insect repellants, you can make your own by combining essential oils (such as lemon, eucalyptus, or citronella) with carrier oils or alcohol (such as organic soybean oil or witch hazel). Take the itch out of bites by applying a paste of baking soda and water, tea tree oil, or apple cider vinegar.

Increased use of vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids, either through foods and/or supplements, may help reduce bite or sting responses.

Sunburns

Although limited exposure to the sun is one of the best ways to support vitamin D production, care must be taken to not overexpose and lead to sunburn. Measures to prevent sunburn include wearing light clothing and hats, and consuming a diet full of antioxidants.

Antioxidants that are found in fruit and vegetables such as berries and kale, or in supplements such as vitamin C, resveratrol and astaxanthin, are important nutrients for supporting and healing the skin.

In case of a sunburn, topical application of aloe vera gel, raw organic honey, or Calendula cream, are great ways to soothe the skin and reduce pain.

Cuts and Scrapes

Cuts, scrapes and bruises are inevitable with kids! Clean the injury with lavender essential oil and water. Then apply a natural product such as tea tree oil,  and bandage the cut or scrape – repeat this several times per day.

Bruises, Sprains and Strains

In addition to the use of the well-known RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) method in cases of minor, acute soft tissue injuries, the application of Arnica cream is important to heal sore muscles, and reduce bruising and pain. Consume plentiful amounts of foods such as pineapple, papaya and fish, along with spices such as turmeric and cinnamon, which contain compounds that decrease swelling and pain.

Remember to keep essential first-aid remedies such as tea tree oil, Arnica and Calendula cream, handy.  Having these natural supplies close by – combined with maintaining a healthy diet full of antioxidants – will help you recover quickly and enjoy the short, but amazing summer season!