Have you ever tried to get rid of the hiccups, or had a stiff neck, or chapped lips and not been able to get over the annoying pain? Check out our tips on how to overcome some of our bodies worst problems.
What causes them: Hiccups occur when your diaphragm starts contracting involuntarily. Your vocal cords snap shut after every spasm, making that familiar “hic” sound.
What to do: Well-worn remedies like drinking a glass of water upside down or holding your breath, can help. If your favorite trick doesn’t help, your hiccups should subside on their own in a few minutes. Seek medical attention if they last for more than three hours or make it hard to breathe or swallow.
What causes them: Friction—from a tight shoe rubbing against your foot, for example—can cause fluid to collect between layers of skin, causing a bubble-like blister. Burns and other skin injuries can also cause blisters.
What to do: The best thing you can do for your blister is leave it alone. Blisters can get infected easily, and this is why we don’t want you to pop them unless they are really big. If you must pop a blister, make sure your hands are clean, use a sterile needle to let the fluid out, and don’t remove the flap of skin covering the blister. You should seek medical help if the area around a blister gets red or tender, or starts draining fluid that is not clear—all of which can indicate infection.
What causes it: Holding your head in an awkward position for an extended period of time—while using a smartphone or laptop, say—can strain your neck muscles, leading to pain and stiffness.
What to do: Be aware of your posture. If you work in an office, make sure your desk, chair, computer keyboard, and monitor are positioned to let you work comfortably.
The same rules apply at home. The best way to use a laptop is on a desk, not your lap, with the screen at eye level and the keyboard within easy reach. If your stiff neck doesn’t respond within a week to home remedies like over-the-counter pain relievers, heating pads, icing, or gentle massage, check with your doctor.
What causes them: When hairs grow back into the skin after shaving or tweezing, they can produce painful and unsightly bumps. They’re most likely to be a problem in people with tightly curling hair.
What to do: You can stop tweezing, shaving, or waxing. If that isn’t an option, your doctor can prescribe creams, such as Renova, that help slough dead cells from the surface of your skin.
Also, as you’re getting ready to shave, gently rubbing your skin with a warm washcloth in a circular motion may help prevent ingrown hairs. If you get one anyway, you can try carefully passing a clean needle under the hair to pull it out of the skin—but don’t puncture or pick at the skin.
What causes it: An itchy throat can be due to irritation from a cold, the flu, seasonal allergies, postnasal drip, air pollution—even yelling.
What to do: Most of the time, your throat will get better with home remedies like drinking plenty of liquids, gargling with warm salt water (one-half teaspoon of salt in one cup of water), sucking on lozenges, and taking over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen. Putting a humidifier in your bedroom can also help.
If your itchy throat is allergy-related, antihistamines may be useful for easing the itch and treating other symptoms. But unless you’ve got strep throat, which can only be determined with a strep test, you won’t benefit from antibiotics.