Bizarre uses of your regular medicines

From a dose of Benadryl before bed to applying a paste of Aspirin on a mosquito bite, these regular over-the-counter medicines that you find at pharmacies can be used differently to solve a handful of nagging health issues.

Find out which drug can pull off a double-duty role.



Actual use: Aspirin is known to relieve fever and mild to moderate pain from conditions such as muscle aches, toothaches, common cold, and headaches. It can even protect you from a heart attack or stroke, if taken properly. Research suggests that it can reduce the risk of some cancers and Alzheimer’s disease.

Unusual use: Treats insect bites, stings and also fights dandruff. Aspirin has many other potential health, beauty, and personal benefits.

How it works: Attacked by mosquitoes? Crush two aspirin and make a paste with water. The drug’s pain-relieving ingredient, acetylsalicylic acid, is an anti-inflammatory, so it should work the same way on skin as on inflamed joints. This is not it. If you have flaky scalp, mix this paste with your shampoo, rub it into your scalp and leave it for a few minutes, then rinse.

Caution: Salicylic acid can occasionally cause skin irritation. If you experience a burning sensation, wash it off right away.


Actual use: Treat cough and other symptoms of common cold and allergies.

Unusual use: Controls motion sickness and helps you snooze well.

How it works: Its main ingredient, diphenhydramine, is an antihistamine, which means it blocks the effects of histamine in the body. So when you take a dose of Benadryl, your histamine levels go down and you start to feel sleepy. As for motion sickness, Benadryl interferes with the histamines (chemical) that deliver nausea signals to the brain, thereby controlling the nausea feeling.

Caution: The drug is NOT a fix for your sleeping disorder. It has a hangover effect and impairs driving.


Actual use: It is an antiseptic mouthwash, kills germs, and improves oral health and dental hygiene by fighting bad breath and plaque.

Unusual use: Kills lice, gets rid off dandruff and treat stinky feet.

How it works: The active ingredient of the product makes it hard for lice to breathe and they give up on life quickly. Soak hair and scalp with Listerine and let it soak for about 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse.

Caution: Don’t use it if you have sores and rashes on your scalp or skin, the alcohol in the mouthwash may have a burning sensation.


Actual use: Cleans and maintains the health of your teeth.

Unusual use: Clears up pimples, blemishes, mild burns and bruises. It also removes stains from bathroom sink to cellphone screens. And if you are still gaping in awe, toothpaste can even clean out the lipstick stains in clothes.

How it works: Apply a bit of non-gel, non-whitening toothpaste on the affected spot before you go to bed. It should dry up by morning. The toothpaste fights pimples by killing the bacteria, dehydrating it and absorbing the oil.

Caution: Skip if it irritates your sensitive skin.


Actual use: Provides relief from cold and suppresses cough.

Unusual use: Relieves sore muscles and headaches, heals small cuts or splinters and cures nail fungus

How it works: The minty ingredient in Vicks Vaporub, Menthol, has been shown to ease migraine pain. Its other ingredients like thymol, camphor and eucalyptus oil, offer antifungal properties, which makes it safe and easy to get rid of nail fungus. Simply coat the nail with the Vaporub once or twice a day. And to prevent infection and speed up healing time, take a small amount of Vicks and apply it on the cut.

Caution: If you experience chemical irritation or burns, stop using the rub and check with a doctor.

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