Sunday, July 22, 2007

Ow, my tongue!

So, while I was cleaning catboxes, tidying up a bit, and cuddling lonely kitties at Catt's house last night, Brian was making Boboli pizza for us. I didn't allow mine to cool properly, though, and scorched a large section of my tongue pretty badly. When this happens to me, I immediately cool it down with cold water and ice, but it still hurts for days and days afterwards.

I had a secret weapon in my cupboard this time, however. I've been keeping clove oil on hand in case I need to euthanize a fish. We experimented with clove oil as an anesthetic at the university, and it works very well. If they are left in the clove oil, they go to sleep and pass away peacefully. This is far more humane than the other common practices that include freezing and flushing, both of which are utilized at the Albany aquarium store. While a usual fish anesthetic would work (MS-222, aka Finquel), access to it is limited, and there's some information surfacing that indicates that Finquel may be causing blindness in hatchery workers that have been exposed to a lot of it. Clove oil is still not technically approved for use in hatcheries or other situations, but it probably will be within a few years.

That said, clove oil can also be used to numb pain, such as toothaches, and my experience is that its effects last longer than Orajel or Anbesol. You should NEVER use it full strength; it can cause rashes, tissue damage, and other problems. So, I diluted it--1 drop of clove oil in 2 tablespoons of almond oil (I get almond oil at the Indian grocery). I dipped a cotton swab into the mixture, then gently dabbed a small amount over the burnt area of my tongue. It doesn't taste great, but within seconds, the pain was gone. I reapplied a couple hours later.

Today, when I would normally be unable to eat anything that wasn't cold, I had no trouble eating a hot meal. I didn't need to re-apply the mixture since last night, either.

I do recommend that, if you make up a little batch, it should be discarded and a new batch made for the next time you need some. Almond oil should be refrigerated after opening to prevent it going rancid.

For more information, visit the MedlinePlus page about clove oil.

Please note that this blog entry does not constitute medical advice. I am not a medical professional, and you should talk to a doctor about these things. If you read this, do something to yourself based on what you read, and have a bad reaction, I am not responsible.

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