Use meat tenderizer for pain of sting

Q. I got stung by a red wasp yesterday, and it felt like someone jabbed me with a hot poker. I’d forgotten how bad the pain from a wasp sting could be!

I remember my child’s pediatrician telling me to keep meat tenderizer in a first-aid kit for stings. I found some tenderizer and added water to make a paste. As soon as I daubed it on, it took away that intense pain almost instantly.

I don’t think it helped the swelling, but it really helped the pain.

Today the sting site is bright-red and very swollen, about the size of a tennis ball. It is also very itchy and sore.

I’ll try putting cut onion on it when I get home.

A. Meat tenderizer contains papain, an enzyme from the papaya that helps break down protein. Doctors have recommended applying it to stings for years so that the papain can break down the venom.

Your reaction sounds exceptionally severe. It is unlikely that a cut onion will work so long after the sting.

You should discuss your reaction with your physician in case you are becoming allergic to wasp stings.

Q. My doctor prescribed Nexium to alleviate stomach symptoms.

Shortly after starting this drug, I began having back pain and aching joints.

I have gained 10 pounds even though I am not eating any more food.

I feel so weary every day I can hardly continue my usual routine.

I have consulted a rheumatologist, who had nothing to suggest but a pain reliever to mask the aches.

Could these problems be traced to the Nexium?

What else can I do to ease my heartburn symptoms?

A. According to the prescribing information, drugs such as Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec and Protonix may infrequently cause back pain and fatigue as well as muscle and joint pain.

Occasionally, people have experienced unexplained weight gain, just as you did.

Please talk to your doctor about these problems so that you can find a different approach for your stomach trouble.

We discuss many natural ways to control heartburn in our book “Favorite Home Remedies.” It is available at or by sending $8.95 and $4 shipping and handling to: Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy, Dept. FHR, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027.

Q. I read with some amusement about using a key to stop nosebleeds. It really does work!

I am from England, and my dad and I used to get severe nosebleeds.

My mom used to use a key on the back of my neck.

It always worked, but the key was about 8 inches long and very heavy.

It was the original latchkey we used on our back door.

The idea was that the shock of a heavy, cold key would stop the nosebleed.

A. Thank you for sharing your memories.

When we first heard about this, a bunch of keys was suggested, but anything cold – like a butter knife kept in the freezer or a cold washcloth – seems to work.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of The Vindicator or e-mail them via their website: Their newest book is “Favorite Foods From The People’s Pharmacy: Mother Nature’s Medicine.”

2010 King Features Syndicate Inc.

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