Q: Yellow mustard on burns is probably my favorite home remedy. I apply it after running the burn under cold water and drying the skin. Then I replace the mustard as it dries. I’ve never had a blister or even redness the next day. This is the best remedy for anyone who often cooks or bakes.

A: We first heard about mustard for burns during our syndicated public radio show. A man from South Carolina called in to tell us that plain yellow mustard helps minor skin burns heal faster. We tried to talk him out of it, insisting that cold water was the only doctor-approved approach for mild burns. He insisted that mustard could also be helpful.

A reader of this column heard about the remedy and wrote to us in 2010: “I just want to say thank you. I burned the tip of my finger last night. I immediately put it in ice water. After about an hour, it still hurt if I took my finger out of the ice water, but it was time for bed.

“I looked it up on your website and saw that yellow mustard might be good for a burn. I put mustard on my finger. I was amazed that the pain went away, and I was able to go to bed pain-free. This morning, there is just a little white area where the burn was.”

Although we do not know why it works, many share your experience. A serious burn requires emergency medical attention!

Q: I tried everything to get rid of lice in my daughter’s long hair — Nix, olive oil, tea tree oil, mayonnaise and combing the hair every night. I washed her sheets and jackets nearly every day. Still after three months, I kept finding nits in her hair. The whole thing was absolutely exhausting.


Finally, I read about Listerine. Following instructions, I soaked her hair in amber Listerine for 30 minutes. Then we rinsed it, combed through it and used the blow dryer. Here’s the last step: a hot hairstyling iron on each little section. That was it! The ordeal was over!

A week later, we went through this process again, even though I didn’t see anything all that week. But I wasn’t about to take a chance. I checked her hair frequently over the next few weeks and found nothing. I personally believe it was the combination of Listerine and the heat from the straightening iron.

A: We suspect you are right. We’ve heard from many readers who have successfully used Listerine against lice. One expert suggested that the high alcohol content of the mouthwash, in combination with some of the essential oils, may asphyxiate the lice.

In addition to washing sheets and jackets, you were also running them through the dryer. Lice die at 135 degrees. Hair irons like the one you used can get as hot as 450 degrees. Very likely, that also contributed to you getting the lice out of your daughter’s hair.

Q: You’ve written that “excess vitamin D can indeed result in toxicity,” but you did not mention what the symptoms of that toxicity would be. Those of us taking vitamin D supplements would like to know.

A: Some of the symptoms of vitamin D overdose include weakness, confusion, lack of appetite, nausea and irregular heart rhythm. You can’t get too much vitamin D through food or sun exposure, but taking high-dose supplements could cause trouble.

You can learn more about the pros and cons of vitamin D and how much you need from our eGuide to Vitamin D and Optimal Health. This online resource is available under the Health eGuides tab at PeoplesPharmacy.com.