Dual-purpose home health items often in easy reach

Most of us have things in the house that can be used for something other than their intended purpose.

For instance, baking soda can be used in a pinch as toothpaste.

The editors at Consumer Reports on Health say a little distilled white vinegar, straight from the bottle, can stop bug bites from itching.

Chances are you have some plain old petroleum jelly in your bathroom. You can use it on minor cuts instead of an antibiotic ointment, such as Neosporin.

Dr. Jessica Grant, a New York dermatologist who advises Consumer Reports, says petroleum jelly may actually be better because it forms a barrier against infection without the risk of an allergic reaction that can happen with topical antibiotic products.

And then there's witch hazel which can relieve the burning and itching caused by hemorrhoids.

Consumer Reports points out that witch hazel is the active ingredient in some of the products you buy at the store, such as Tucks Medicated Cooling Pads. Witch hazel can also be used on bug bites to relieve the stinging and reduce the swelling.

For more information

10 Home Health Items Every Home Needs