Patients' "home remedies"? What have you seen

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    Had a family come in to the ER last night. Their little boy (~3yo) got ahold of the pot of boiling water on the stove. Clear 2nd degree burns to (I'd say) at least 30% of the inside of his arm. Little guy had dark skin, but the burn basically sloughed down to reveal bright pink flesh.

    The family put sugar (!) on the burn at home. When they brought him in, the RN had to clean the wound and basically the sugar just debrided the fresh burn even more. I've been racking my brain trying to figure out the logic behind putting sugar on a burn I even Googled it and the only thing I can tell is people sometimes put it on a burned tongue. Then I was thinking that sugar on a burn probably makes an awesome growth medium for bacteria. I told the family very firmly that they must leave the dressing intact until the burn unit followed up with them - all I could imagine was them taking the dressing off and putting some other mystery substance on it. Then they refused 1/2 the kid's pain meds, but I digress.

    Have you guys heard of this, or other wonky "home remedies" that you've seen come through the doors?
    virgo,student nurse likes this.

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  2. 73 Comments...

  3. 0
    Putting a potato in your pocket to cure arthritis. As the pt was getting a hip replacement for severe arthritis.
  4. 4
    Patients family "prayed" for the evil spirits to leave thier son (26 years old) so he wouldnt be diabetic. Guess who came in DKA?
  5. 1
    I've seen a patient putting earwax on a cold sore.
    DeLanaHarvickWannabe likes this.
  6. 2
    Yes, I have heard of putting sugar on a burn, I was not sure personally, so I called up grandma. She is 90!, and knows all sorts of stuff. I read your post and if I am correct the child had dark skin, so I will assume he is African American. The sugar was used in slavery times and after to soothe the burn, and keep out germs. The wound would be cleaned and dressed with sugar or butter to keep swelling down, and prevent infection. I am not sure how well it worked, but it was done all the time, and unfortunately these home remedies have been passed along through generations.

    I have also heard of warming a garlic bulb in a sock, and press the sock to your ear for earache.
  7. 1
    Quote from virgo,student nurse
    Yes, I have heard of putting sugar on a burn, I was not sure personally, so I called up grandma. She is 90!, and knows all sorts of stuff. I read your post and if I am correct the child had dark skin, so I will assume he is African American. The sugar was used in slavery times and after to soothe the burn, and keep out germs. The wound would be cleaned and dressed with sugar or butter to keep swelling down, and prevent infection. I am not sure how well it worked, but it was done all the time, and unfortunately these home remedies have been passed along through generations.
    Holy cow! That is really interesting. I figured it had to be a cultural thing, yes they were African-Canadian. Thanks for calling up your grandma
    virgo,student nurse likes this.
  8. 1
    A casual acquaintance (who is a MD) told us her nephew kept getting either gallstones or kidney stones (I can't remember which) she was going to (or had already) saved the stones, crushed them up, and had him drink them to prevent more stones from forming!

    She went to accredited medical school in the USA (I don't know which one)!
    DeLanaHarvickWannabe likes this.
  9. 0
    Not a nurse yet, still a student but my MIL swears by putting a bar of soap under the sheet at the foot of the bed to ease arthritis pain.
  10. 3
    Quote from brownbook
    A casual acquaintance (who is a MD) told us her nephew kept getting either gallstones or kidney stones (I can't remember which) she was going to (or had already) saved the stones, crushed them up, and had him drink them to prevent more stones from forming!

    She went to accredited medical school in the USA (I don't know which one)!
    EEEW.
  11. 1
    Quote from virgo,student nurse

    I have also heard of warming a garlic bulb in a sock, and press the sock to your ear for earache.
    garlic has antibiotic properties, so at least that one had something going for it, even though it's not enough or directly in contact with the bacteria to do any good!

    my mom ALWAYS put butter on our burns growing up. always.
    virgo,student nurse likes this.


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