Dangerous Home Remedies
Dangerous cures for head lice
There are also many folk remedies for getting rid of head lice. People rub petrol or kerosene on their children’s scalps, or use pesticides straight from their garden store. Other ‘cures’ involve coating the head with Vaseline, olive oil or salt water. Not only are these remedies ineffective, but they can be harmful. Safe and effective preparations can be purchased from pharmacies or prescribed by your GP.
Burns and paraffin ingestion
Putting butter or oil on a burn. It is bad for the burn, as it actually keeps the heat in. The correct treatment is to cool the burn with cold water, afterwards covering it with antiseptic cream and a dry dressing.
Forcing a child who has ingested paraffin (kerosene) to vomit. Paraffin is toxic, but vomiting takes it into the lungs, where it does more damage than in the stomach – it can lead to a form of pneumonia (chemical pneumonitis) that is very dangerous. You should not give the child milk, charcoal or a laxative like liquid paraffin, instead give the child water to drink. The child should be admitted to hospital for X-rays and up to 24 hours’ observation.
Dodgy dental remedies
The practice of rubbing Grandpa Headache Powder onto the gum area to alleviate toothache is dangerous – gums become chemically burned. Rather take pain medication the usual way, and get yourself to a dentist.
A second frequently encountered problem is when patients with broken dentures use superglue to try and repair them at home. This is extremely dangerous, as the glue is toxic. The only solution is to have them professionally repaired.
Bad for baby
Paediatrician Professor Eugene Weinberg says that one inappropriately used home remedy is when babies with gastro-enteritis are taken off their usual food and put on rooibos tea, often for extended periods. The tea, while not harmful in itself, does not contain the essential electrolytes (especially potassium) and other nutrients required by an infant with severe diarrhoea.
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