There is nothing worse than going on holiday and falling sick, is there? Medical care in Tenerife is really very good and the hospitals do provide English and German translators (you´ll find a list of hospital numbers on the Quick Tips page) but as every Mum knows, not every ailment requires a visit to the doctor. Here are some home remedies to provide effective relief for minor upsets, accidents and ailments.
Colds and Flu
I have yet to find a supplier of Lem-Sip here in Tenerife. If you’re a sucker for cold-remedy drinks, make your own hot-water drink with fresh lemon juice and honey. Keep tea and coffee to a minimum, but drink plenty of water to replenish lost fluids, and try to eat something light to help rebuild your strength.
If you are all out of paracetamol, try the following tips to break a fever:
Sponge patient with tepid water, briskly wiping each area of the body sponged. This will cool the body while also increasing circulation.
Make up an apple water drink in order to bring down the fever further. Slice three washed but unpeeled apples and simmer them in a little water until they’re soft. Strain the water and add a washed piece of lemon, which will improve the flavour. Serve the drink cold.
High temperatures in children are often caused by colds and infections. Before panicking, use your gut feeling to assess whether your child is her normal self or not. A high temperature when it is combined with floppiness, lack of interest in food or drink, an unusual cry or sensitivity to light are reasons to call the doctor.
Providing the house is warm enough and your baby doesn’t have a cold, add a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda to her bath water and let her play in it until the water is almost cold.
If you’ve run out of travel-sickness tablets and are convinced your kids will be sick without them, offer them a peppermint sweet, or persuade them to chew a piece of peeled fresh root ginger before leaving.
Both are old remedies for nausea and in clinical trials, ginger has proved more effective than many over-the-counter drugs.
Try to keep the afflicted pest ..er.. I mean patient.. looking straight out the front windscreen, looking out the side windows will only increase the feelings of nausea.
Cut out solid food, milk, coffee, tea and concentrated fruit juices for 24hours. Make your own rehydration drinks to replace lost fluids. The correct recipe is:
One pint or half litre of boiled water mixed with half a 5ml teaspoon (or two pinches) of salt and four 5ml teaspoons (or one handful) of sugar. You may flavour it with squash. Drink as much as you want. Once the solution is made up (and the same goes for the packet varieties, eg Dioralyte) keep it in the fridge and use within 24hours.
If you’ve bitten too hard on a brazil nut and you are fresh out of painkillers, try one of the following remedies to ease your pain.
Place a whole peeled clove of garlic directly on the aching tooth and keep it there for an hour.
Rub a few grains of cayenne pepper into the gum around the tooth.
If you forget to wash your hands afterwards and get the pepper in your eyes, you’ll forget your toothache altogether.
Chew on some cloves dipped in honey.
Burns and scalds
In your rush to stop the roast potatoes burning or the gravy boiling over, you burn yourself, act quickly.
Hold the affected area under cold running water for 10 to 15 minutes to reduce the temperature, to prevent the formation of blisters and to minimize the amount of damage to the skin.
Take off any clothing that has been soaked with hot liquid – but do not attempt to remove any item that has become stuck to the burn as this will only damage the skin further.
Remove any jewellery that you are wearing on the area you have scalded as the burn may make the injured area swell, particularly if it’s on the hands or fingers. Any jewellery may have to be cut off later.
Use a clean bandage, handkerchief or other non-fluffy material to cover the area you’ve burned. This will ease the pain, prevent infection setting in and stop any more damage occurring.
If your sinuses are blocked, the best way to ease your breathing is to make a steam inhalation. Pour boiling water into a bowl and, for a few minutes, hold your face over the steam with a towel over your head and the bowl to keep the steam concentrated.
Use one of the following in the water: two crushed cloves of garlic or a few menthol crystals.
Heartburn and Indigestion
The rules for preventing heartburn and indigestion – avoiding very rich foods, eating small meals instead of one large one – are almost impossible to stick to when attending any celebrations.
Garlic as an ingredient in your vegetables will help prevent indigestion as it stimulates the body’s digestive enzymes and relieves problems such as gas and heartburn.
If you’re still suffering, make a tea with 1 tbsp cloves to 1pt boiling water (strain before drinking); or mix 1 tbsp each of apple cider vinegar and honey in cold water and drink.
(Incidentally my spouse suffered terribly from heartburn for years until as part of a diet he cut out bread for several weeks. For him, bread was the heartburn culprit.)
Another of life’s lovely surprises that tend to be bestowed on us women and a truly horrible thing to have when on holiday. I remember once in… no, I guess I’ll spare you the gory details. Anyway…
…although over- the- counter remedies exist for cystitis, these are a relatively recent invention, and it’s easy to make your own at home with water and a teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda to every pint of water. You should aim to drink several pints every hour from the moment the symptoms start.
Cranberries also ease the discomfort of cystitis so stock up on cranberry juice.
Chemists are usually open from 09.00 to 13.00 and from 16.00 to 20.00 (Monday to Friday) and from 09.00 to 13.00 Saturdays. However outside these hours, a Farmacia de Guardia is on duty in each region of the island, and a list should be displayed prominently in all chemists windows or telephone 922 248 24 24 for your nearest duty chemist.
Chemist shops in Tenerife normally stock the range of items that you would expect to find in the U.K. they also frequently sell – over the counter – several drugs including antibiotics that in Britain would only be available on prescription
Urb. Callao Salvaje
Telephone: 922 78 05 34
Costa del Silencio
Chapparal Shopping Centre
Avda. Principa Espana.
Telephone: 922 70 42 13
Urb. Las Terrazas.