When minor medical issues crop up (nosebleeds, insect stings, dandruff!), chances are your medicine cabinet already contains some effective — and surprising — fixes for what ails you. Here are 10 common household items that do double duty, saving you a trip to the pharmacy and cash in the process!
It’s for: Heartburn
The effervescent type with sodium bicarbonate helps neutralize the acid that causes painful heartburn symptoms.
But try: Soothing insect bites
“Antacid formulations such as Alka-Seltzer contain aspirin, an anesthetic that can help ease the sting and itch of insect bites,” says Howard Sobel, MD, a clinical attending physician in dermatology and dermatological surgery at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.
He recommends making a paste with a crushed antacid tablet, a pinch of oatmeal (also a skin soother), and water and applying it to the skin. Results are immediate – and this DIY formula has a healing bonus that other anti-itch salves lack. “Calamine lotion contains zinc oxide, which can be drying to the skin,” Dr. Sobel explains. “Effervescent antacid tablets provide quicker relief from pain and itching – without the dehydrating side effects.”