5 Home Remedy No-No's
From ear candling to colon cleansing, here are 5 home remedies that may do more harm than good.
Home Remedy No-No Number 3: Butter for a Burn continued...
Cool tap water can also help, but only in the first minute after you're burned, explains Sheridan. Any greater length of time and the damage is already done. If you're near a faucet, run the burn under water for at least five minutes.
Other burn no-no's: Toothpaste is a common home remedy that Sheridan often hears about in the burn unit, but again, it offers no benefit other than a slight cooling effect, and the same infection concerns apply. Also, while it might make sense to treat a burn with ice, it doesn't help, and it could make matters worse.
"If a burn is deep enough, it can cause a loss of sensation around the wound," says Sheridan. "So ice can compound the problem by adding frostbite to the burn because you can't tell that it hurts."
When should you call for help? If you're worried about a burn; if you have a fever; if you have moderate to severe pain or no pain at all as a result of a third-degree burn; or if there is increasing redness around the wound.
Home Remedy No-No Number 4: Colloidal Silver
With hype and hope spread by word of mouth and the Internet, colloidal silver is believed by some to help treat a range of infections and diseases.
"People believe that colloidal silver can treat fungal infections, TB, HIV, herpes, and even cancer by boosting the immune system," says Ted Epperly, MD, president-elect of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Unfortunately for colloidal sliver supporters, they're wrong, and the consequences of their mistake could be costly.
"One of the most well-known side effects of colloidal silver is that it turns a person's skin a greyish shade of blue," says Epperly.
The skin isn't the only organ affected by colloidal silver; so are the kidneys, stomach, and brain, as well as the nervous system. Silver is actually deposited into the cells of these organs, possibly causing cell damage and death, leading to organ failure.
"The effects of colloidal silver are toxic and cumulative," says Epperly. "Worse, they're irreversible."
Epperly urges people to ignore the hype and instead, talk to a health care provider about the proper way to treat infections and diseases.