Hiccups. Twitchy eyes. Blisters. Chapped lips. Swimmer’s ear. Bad breath. Gas. None of these conditions is life-threatening or usually serious enough to warrant a doctor’s care.
But most of us have experienced these minor health conditions and wondered: What can I do to remedy them?
For answers, we turned to a handful of experts © 2017 NewsmaxHealth for their best advice on how to treat these annoying health issues.
The worst thing about that first hiccup is knowing that there will be a second, third, fourth, and so on. They come out of nowhere and generally won’t go away no matter how long you hold your breath or how much water you drink.
Hiccups are actually a spasm of the diaphragm. That causes air to shoot into the voice box, producing the “hic” sound. Numerous things can cause it — overeating, reflux, too much booze, too much soda, nervousness, or even a good laugh are all common triggers.
There are dozens of home remedies, but they are spotty at best.
Osteopath Tyler Cymet conducted a five-year study on hiccups: “I think the jury is in that nothing works. It starts and stops on its own, and that’s about it.”
For serious cases — lasting days, weeks, or months — continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) seems to work by increasing air pressure in the throat. If you don’t have a CPAP machine handy, try plugging your ears with your fingers while drinking a glass of water, either with the help of a friend or through a straw. Otherwise, you may just have to be patient.
Alcohol, eye strain, allergies, fatigue, and caffeine can all get an eye twitching, but it’s most commonly caused by stress. Once the stress dissipates, the twitch will go with it.
Try some deep breathing, meditation, massage or anything else that relieves tension. If it happens frequently, you could have a magnesium deficiency that supplements may resolve.
New shoes can rub your feet the wrong way, producing relatively harmless but painful foot blisters. To prevent them, make sure your shoes fit properly. Even then, you may need to put an anti-chafing balm on blister-prone areas before hitting the streets. Make sure to address a hot spot immediately by sticking an adhesive bandage over it.
If you still get a blister, let it be. If it pops on its own, leave the skin flap intact, apply an antibiotic ointment and slap on a bandage.
Your lips are designed to draw moisture from the air, but under dry conditions the moisture evaporates faster than your lips can collect it, causing what doctors call chellitis. The easy solution to a dry, cracked kisser is to use lip balm to lock in the moisture. Experts say the unflavored, non-medicated stuff works best.
Frolicking in a pool, lake, or sea is fun but can leave water trapped in the ear canal. And that gets old fast. Sometimes it just takes tilting your head and jumping up and down to clear an ear. You can also try cupping your hand over your ear and pumping it to create enough suction to pull out the water.
For stubborn conditions, use an eye-dropper to put three to five drops of rubbing alcohol into your ear, and that will evaporate the water.
Halitosis may be better than no breath at all, but it can turn you into a social pariah. Usually, it’s just a temporary thing after you’ve eaten something like escargot or pepperoni pizza. If your breath is often offensive, blame stinky bacteria that hang out on the back of your tongue. Good dental hygiene generally helps. Brush your teeth regularly, floss every day, and scrape your tongue morning and night. And drink a lot of water to keep your mouth tissue flushed and moist.
Few things are as embarrassing as gas. Often, it’s triggered by a sensitivity to certain foods, such as dairy or gluten. If so, avoid them or eat them with an anti-gas product like Beano. Digestive enzyme supplements may also help.
Try to avoid swallowing a lot of air, which can happen when you smoke, chew gum, or eat and drink too fast.
© 2017 NewsmaxHealth