Best remedies from 2020

With the year 2020 nearly over, it’s time to share the remedies I’ve found most helpful this past year. 
The pandemic took over the year 2020. My co-workers and I wear masks from morning until night, double-masking when caring for COVID patients, often from their cars. We’re restricted access to exercise, traveling, and visiting with friends and family, all due to COVID. 
There’s a small Christmas tree in the reception area of our clinic administration offices. Instead of using the star tree-topper this year, my co-worker Chanda substituted a roll of toilet paper instead, partially unrolling it to mimic a garland. When I saw it, I busted up, laughing. “THAT is SO appropriate, on so many levels!”  Smile and laugh, as this too shall pass.
2.Cerave® for dry skin.
I don’t know why, but wearing a mask 8-10 hours a day at work makes my eyes, mouth, and skin dry. Cerave® eases my dry and itchy hands and skin with absolutely NO greasy or slippery feel after applying it. I love how quickly and completely it soaks into my skin, better than other hand creams or body butter I’ve tried. 
3. Voltaren® gel for pain and stiffness. 
Voltaren® is the same strength as the prescription version. It can give you concentrated relief of muscle and joint discomfort and stiffness. To avoid overdose, don’t use it on your skin while taking one of its close cousins: ibuprofen (Motrin-IB®) or naproxen (Aleve®). 
4.Butterfly bandages to avoid stitches. 
Last month I caught my middle finger between two bars of steel, crushing it and splitting the skin wide open on both sides of my fingernail, almost to the bone. Too deep for a skin sealer like New Skin®, I used butterfly bandages to hold the skin edges tightly together. I keep them in their box already cut in half, using twice as many, which holds the skin together better. The adhesive doesn’t always stick very well, so I cover the “wings” with ribbon fabric tape and leave the rest open to the air. It healed without a scar! 
5.Actifed® for both runny and stuffy nose.
I’m allergic to ragweed, which makes my nose congested and runny at the same time. Luckily for me, Actifed® works like a charm. The antihistamine triprolidine found in Actifed® dries up my runny nose AND relieves both my itchy eyes and stuffy nose. Because it contains the decongestant pseudoephedrine, I have to buy it from the pharmacist. Many younger pharmacists have never heard of it, so you’ll need to ask them to order it for you or find a pharmacy that stocks it. 
6.Vaseline® (petroleum jelly) or coconut oil to prevent nosebleeds. 
Nosebleeds range from inconvenient, to annoying, to scary. People who use oxygen at night are often plagued by frequent bloody noses episodes, especially during the fall and winter months. Many of my patients have reported great success in reducing winter nosebleeds by GENTLY applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly (Vaseline®) or petrolatum to the inside of their nose every evening with a Q-tip swab. 
If you don’t have any petroleum jelly or petrolatum, you can substitute coconut oil on the Q-tip swab. Please avoid petroleum jelly entirely if you breathe oxygen through tubing with prongs that go into your nose because it can dissolve the prongs’ plastic tubing! Instead of petrolatum, you can use coconut oil instead or a saline gel for the nose like Ayr®.
7.Afrin® nasal spray to stop nosebleeds. 
Afrin®, or oxymetazoline, relieves nasal congestion by shrinking blood vessels in your nose, which reduces stuffiness and is also quite helpful in stopping a nosebleed. Suppose you show up at the Emergency Department with a nosebleed. The first thing many ER doctors will do for you is to squirt several sprays of Afrin® on a gauze pad, roll it up, then shove the soaked roll of gauze right up your nose. The combination of the pressure and blood vessel shrinkage from the Afrin® can often stop a nosebleed dead in its tracks.
8.New Skin® to seal cuts and hangnails. 
When using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, I can always tell if I have a cut on my hands because it really STINGS. New Skin® Liquid Bandage is a clear, waterproof liquid with an applicator brush. It protects hangnails, paper cuts, and minor abrasions from the sting of soap and water and alcohol sanitizing gels. New Skin® is better than regular bandages because it’s waterproof and contains an anti-infective.  
Dr. Louise Achey, Doctor of Pharmacy, is a 40-year veteran of pharmacology and author of Why Dogs Can’t Eat Chocolate: How Medicines Work and How YOU Can Take Them Safely. Check out her NEW website for daily tips on how to take your medicine safely. 2020 Louise Achey

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