As warmer weather returns and we spend more and more time outdoors, summer injuries can put a damper on the fun, especially when it comes to kids. So when cuts, bites, bumps and bruises occur, what are the best solutions? We asked the professionals and they shared the fast-acting natural fixes they turn to when their own children are hurting. Whether it’s a nasty knee scrape, an itchy bug bite, or sore muscles, your child will be pain-free all season long thanks to these doctor-recommended remedies.
Keep scrolling for FIRST‘s picks for the best natural remedies for common summer injuries, so playtime never has to end.
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Summer Injury Remedies Manuka Honey
1. Best Treatment for Scrapes
Where to buy: $5.46, Amazon
"I love using medical-grade Manuka honey for my kids' cuts and scrapes," says Estee Williams, MD, a mother of three and assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. Manuka honey comes from New Zealand and is known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and wound-healing properties. The FDA even recommends it for wound treatment. "I use the medical-grade kind because it's been sterilized to remove bacteria. I use it at work too," says Dr. Williams, who applies a thin layer on her children's cuts twice a day. "I love it — my kids' scrapes heal about 20 percent faster that if I didn't use it."
NOTE: Medical-grade Manuka can be pricey, so Williams says a gel version, like Medihoney Gel Wound & Burn Dressing, which contains leptospermum, a species of Manuka, can also help.
Summer Injury Remedies Calendula Cream
2. Best Treatment for Mosquito Bites
Where to buy: $11.99, Target
"Every summer, my son gets so many mosquito bites in our yard," says father-on-one Vincent Pedre, MD, an internist in private practice in New York City. "Of course, he doesn't tell me when he has one or two. He keeps playing until the bites are everywhere!" To quell the itch, Dr. Pedre applies a thin layer of calendula ointment, a homeopathic remedy derived from the antioxidant-rich calendula flower (aka marigold). "It reduces the swelling and soothes the irritating itch. Plus, it's a natural antiseptic, so it helps prevent infection," says Pedre, who applies three time a day. His son's bites lessen within a few hours. By the next day, they're always forgotten.
Summer Injury Remedies Watermelon
3. Best Treatment for Sore Muscles
Where to buy: $24.95, Amazon
"My 12-year-old son loves soccer, but it can take its toll and leave him with achy legs," says gastroenterologist Liz Cruz, MD, a mother of four in Phoenix. Depleting electrolytes via sweat can cause soreness, so Dr. Cruz mixes one banana and one cup each of coconut water, cubed watermelon, and mixed berries in a blender. "The coconut and banana replenish electrolytes while the berries add flavor." And the watermelon? It's rich in amino acids, which help bring oxygen and nutrients to muscles to speed repair. "It's now my son's favorite post-game treat," says Cruz, nothing that the smoothie works its magic in about 30 to 40 minutes.
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