HEALTHY LIVING TIPS: wear gloves when you pull weeds!

I love my fingers. They type when I ask them to. They write, play games, deal cards and operate the remote. When they hurt, I hurt. When they are viciously attacked by a weed, I am not amused.

A WEED, you say? Well, not just any weed. STINGING NETTLE – a nasty, vicious, poky weed that caused the fingers on my right hand to burn, itch and swell.

Who knew? Not I, but, boy, did I learn. The hard way.

I’d been pulling weeds because all the rain we’ve been having has made it perfect weed-pulling weather. I thought I was approaching a regular weed, but, no! One pull and my hand was on fire. I took a photo of the offending weed and Googled it. Here’s what I learned.


According to Wikepedia:

“The species is divided into six subspecies, five of which have many hollow stinging hairs called trichomes on the leaves and stems, which act like hypodermic needles, injecting histamine and other chemicals that produce a stinging sensation upon contact.”


“In normal circumstances, stinging nettle rash should disappear within 24 hours.”

Well, I have news for you,, I can still feel it.

I also learned that stinging nettles has a medicinal use. The same site offered this praise for the vicious plant:

“Stinging nettle has been used for hundreds of years to treat painful muscles and joints, eczema, arthritis, gout, and anemia. Today, many people use it to treat urinary problems during the early stages of an enlarged prostate (called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH).”

Do I care? Not a whit.

Here’s something else I learned:

“Research has found some evidence that rubbing stinging nettle leaves on painful joints can provide pain relief. One small study also found that eating stewed nettle leaves was a helpful addition to the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac.”


My takeaway: don’t pull weed without wearing gloves–and don’t believe everything you read on the Internet. 😉


PS: We’re having a wild and wooly storm in our part of the West Coast. Perfect weather for reading! I finished a book during the Super Bowl (yawn). Must go write a review…now that my fingers are finally better. 😉




HEALTHY living tip #1: Wonderful Waterpik®–a success story!

My late father loved the newest and greatest electric gismos. We had electric shoe shiners (fluffy circles of red and blue), electric pencil sharpeners (that stopped working when a grandkid tried to sharpen a crayon) and, of course, a new fangled water flosser called a Waterpik ® (ours was olive green).

I wasn’t a fan of this messy machine. I’d give it a lame try every once in awhile, but I didn’t have time to wait for the tap water to warm up and the cold water was a shock to my system.

Fast forward many, many years. As a person who hasn’t taken care of her gums as well as she should have over those years, I am looking at receding–and thinning–gums. Thinning means minute particles of food can lodge in between the gum line and the tooth to cause irritation and infection. Even brushing with an electric toothbrush, which I use, can miss these particles.

Gail, my dental hygienist, periodically checks the health of this important tissue with a little probe. She pokes around each tooth and calls out a reading. “Two, three, two. One, two, two. Three, three, four.”

Fours aren’t good. Fives are worse.

The last time she gave my gum tissue an exam, it flunked. Well, it got a D, which in Debland is not acceptable.  I asked Gail what I could do to help prevent further gum loss. “At this rate, my gums are disappearing faster than the glaciers.”

She recommended a water flosser. I drove straight to Costco and bought a Waterpik ®. Since that day, I’ve used it faithfully. One might say I’ve become addicted. Recently, I learned that you can add a couple of drops of your favorite mouthwash to the water and save a step in your nightly ablutions.

On Tuesday, I returned to my dentist’s office and Gail performed the probe. Holy hygiene, Bat Girl, the improvement was amazing! A-minus at the very least! Since this is the only thing new I’ve introduced into my oral health regimen, I’m going to credit my success to water flossing.

I thought I’d share this experience not because I own stock in Waterpik ®, but because some of you might be on the fence about whether or not to buy another “thing” to take up space in your bathroom. The answer is: Do it. Use it. And don’t look in the mirror while operating it (messy!!!).  Don’t wait as long as I did. Your gums will thank you.


PS: Remember that classic line from Pretty Woman when Richard Gere thought Julia Roberts was doing drugs and it turned out she was flossing? Here’s her advice, by which I stand.