There you are, soaking up the rays on some idyllic sun-drenched island when disaster strikes in the form of a toothache, heat rash or bug bite. Don’t Panic! A quick trip to the local drugstore or supermarket reveals a clutch of time-tested, island-made and cost-effective remedies to tide you over.
Toothache in Jamaica
The only thing worse than having a toothache is having a toothache when you’re way from home. Mitigate the misery by soaking a square of cotton gauze (or, in a pinch, a corner of a clean washcloth) in overproof rum, placing it over the offending tooth and biting down. The alcohol (126 percent proof!) temporarily numbs the pain until you can get to the dentist. (And the rummy buzz isn’t bad, either.)
Hot and Bothered on Curacao
This “air conditioner in a bottle” will have you feeling cool as a cuke in no time. Just liberally splash Alocolado onto your arms, neck, legs and chest for instant tingly refreshment, courtesy of the alcohol and menthol combo. Granted, the sensation only lasts a few minutes but you can safely reapply as often as you wish, then sit back and – literally – chill.
Achy on Grenada
Whether you’re a regular runner like me or you just overdid it on the beach volleyball court, sore muscles can be a pain (sorry). But there’s no need to bathe yourself in medicinal-smelling Bengay. Formulated with oil from the Spice Island’s locally grown nutmeg, peppermint oil and menthol, Nut-Med spray and cream won’t replace a prescription anti-inflammatory but it will provide warming relief to minor aches and pains. Trust me, after a day hiking through Grand Etang national forest, you’ll be glad you bought it.
Sunburned on Aruba
Unbelievably, there are still travelers who think they can get away with a swipe of SPF 8 or 15 when they’re in the Caribbean. For those sun-fried folks who insist on learning the hard way, I recommend investing in a bottle of Aruba Aloe‘s burn aid gel, which soothes with the pulp of the locally harvested succulent. It’s non-greasy and just might delay the inevitable peeling – at least until you get back home.
Scaly in the Turks and Caicos Islands
A heaping handful of Salt Cay Works’ salt rocks – harvested here for more than 100 years – added to your bath will help calm and revitalize scorched skin. Natural minerals inherent in the salt will lessen redness; just keep bathwater temps on the cool side to minimize any further drying.