Doctors are like superheroes – they can really save the day! But sometimes, making a visit is inconvenient. Maybe they’re booked for the week or the weather is bad. Or perhaps you’re far from home, on a hike, or it’s late at night. Fortunately, there are some “procedures” you can do without a doctor.
Be prepared by keeping these tricks in mind. Need a visual reference? Check out video tutorials on YouTube. Do some research, so when something happens, you’ll be ready. Below are seven problems you can solve when the doctor is out of reach.
1. Ear Wax
Having ear wax is normal and healthy. It stops dirt and debris from sneaking into our ear canal, but sometimes it builds up. Too much can be uncomfortable and hinder hearing.1 Don’t try to stick a cotton swab in there. This will
- Fill a small bulb syringe with lukewarm water.
- In front of a sink, hold the bulb on the side of the blocked ear.
- Wrap the other arm around the back of your head and pull the ear back.
- Tilt your head toward the sink, clogged ear facing down.
- Irrigate 2 to 4 times.
- Feeling pain? Stop immediately.
A bulb syringe is a rubber ball with a long tip. They’re typically used to remove mucus from infant’s noses, so you can find them in the baby section at the drugstore.
With all the buzz about Lyme disease, discovering a tick on your skin is scary. Don’t panic! A set of fine-tipped tweezers will take care of the bugger. Follow these CDC-approved steps.
- Grab the tick with tweezers, keeping them close to the skin.
- Pull upward with even pressure.
- Don’t twist or move abruptly. This can crush the tick and leave the mouth.
- Clean the bite with iodine, rubbing alcohol, or
- Dunk the tick in alcohol or flush down the toilet.
If a rash or fever crops up, visit the doctor immediately.2
3. A Bruise Or Sprain
Sports, accidents, and clumsiness are common causes of bruises and sprains. You can treat it at home, but if the pain is extra bad, you’ll eventually want to see the doctor.3
- Follow the RICE method. Rest and avoid using the injured body part.
- Ice 20 minutes at a time, multiple times a day. Cover the cold pack with a cloth.
- Compress with an elastic bandage to relieve swelling.
- Elevate the injury higher than your heart.
4. A Ring Stuck On Your Finger
It’s easy to stress when a ring won’t budge. Thankfully, cutting it off isn’t the only option. These tips will save both your finger and jewelry.
- Cut a long strand of dental floss.
- Turn the hand palm side up.
- Thread one end of the floss through the ring, toward your palm.
- Hold this end with the ringed hand’s thumb.
- Tightly wrap the other end around the finger, from the ring and up.
- Continue until it reaches the fingertip.
Hopefully, this will move around swelling so the ring comes off. If you don’t have dental floss, twine or thread will do.
A wart can show up on your fingers or feet.4 A doctor can cut it off, but duct tape is also effective, according to a 2002 study. You’ll also need an emery board or
- Soak the wart in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Cut a piece of duct tape. It should be the same size as the wart.
- Stick on and leave for 6 days. If it falls off, re-apply with a new piece.
- After 6 days, remove the tape and soak in water.
- Gently scrub the wart with an emery board or pumice stone.
- For 1 night, don’t wear tape and let it air out.
- Repeat the next morning.
- Continue for 2 months or until the wart is removed.
6. Ingrown Toenails
If the skin grows over your toenail’s edge – or when the nail grows into the skin – you have an ingrown toenail. If the below method doesn’t work, see a doctor before
- Clean the foot with soap and water.
- Soak in a warm bath of salt water or vinegar water.
- After 10 minutes, pat dry.
- Repeat 3 times a day.
You can also buy bandages that stop the nail from going inward.6
Are your gums swollen, tender, and bleeding? You’re dealing with gingivitis, a bacterial gum infection.7 A dentist can prescribe chlorhexidine mouthwash, but you can control it with anti-bacterial tea tree oil.8
- Add 6 drops tea tree oil to 1 ¼ cups distilled water.
- For flavor, add 6 drops peppermint oil.
- Swish around in your mouth, but don’t swallow.
These are all minor problems. If the pain or issue doesn’t go away with these remdies, it’s time to see the doctor.
|↑1||Earwax. University of Texas.|
|↑2||Tick Removal. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑3||Sprains, Strains and Other Soft-Tissue Injuries. American Academy of Orhopaedic Surgeons.|
|↑4||Warts. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑5||Focht III, Dean R., Carole Spicer, and Mary P. Fairchok. “The efficacy of duct tape vs cryotherapy in the treatment of verruca vulgaris (the common wart).” Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine 156, no. 10 (2002): 971-974.|
|↑6||Ingrown Toenail. The American College of Foot & Ankle Orthopedics & Medicine.|
|↑7||Periodontal (Gum) Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.|
|↑8||SALVATORI, C., L. BARCHI, F. GUZZO, and M. GARGARI. “A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF ANTIBACTERIAL AND ANTI-INFLAMMATORY EFFECTS OF MOUTHRINSE CONTAINING TEA TREE OIL.” ORAL & Implantology 10, no. 1 (2017).|