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October 2016    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 31, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Salad Dressing to the Rescue!

from the October, 2016 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Subscriber Michael Wood (Edmonds, WA) wrote to us to tell how a dose of oil and vinegar saved a dive trip while he was in Indonesia.

"I was liveaboard diving the Komodo area in August when my left outer ear canal started hurting, swelling and causing my hearing to be impaired, making it uncomfortable both underwater and on the boat. (I could still clear my ears, thankfully.)

"My dive-mate, Mark from Conservation International, told me that a Navy Seal doctor he worked with once recommended a mixture of olive oil and apple cider vinegar! The olive oil lubricates the ear canal and protects it from seawater, and the vinegar serves as an antibiotic. I mixed the two liquids I got from the galley and put it in my ears with a syringe before and after each dive. It worked! The swelling and pain gradually subsided. He did not recommend alcohol, as it dries out and cracks the ear canal, enabling infection."

It's not the only time a salad dressing can come to the rescue.

Those long black sea urchin spines that so easily penetrate the neoprene of a wetsuit can be difficult to pull from your skin, and you risk infection in trying to do so. You see, each brittle spine carried a series of tiny serrations or barbs that make it almost impossible to remove.

People who inhabit Mediterranean shores know of a simple remedy. Soak the site of the skin penetration in vinegar for around 20 minutes. This dissolves the surface serrations of the spines, smoothing them off. Then apply some olive oil. The spines will disappear overnight.

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