Lime juice eased jellyfish sting

Q. On the beach at Zihuatanejo, Mexico, I was standing in the warm water when a clear jellyfish attached itself to my forearm and stung me. I shook my arm violently and ran back to my husband sitting on the beach.

A young local ran over and said to put lime juice on it. We had limes with us to put on our food, so I grabbed a cut lime and squeezed it on the wound. The pain went away immediately!

A. Thanks for sharing this first-aid trick for jellyfish stings in Mexico. We have heard that lifeguards sometimes suggest vinegar as an antidote to such stings.

Both the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association suggest that jellyfish stings should be washed with vinegar for at least 30 seconds. This inactivates the venom (Portuguese man-of-war) species (Circulation, Nov. 2, 2010, Suppl. 3).

Q. A reader recently asked about “brain freeze” as a migraine cure. She had failed to get results when she tried to stop a migraine with an “ice cream headache.”

As a fellow sufferer, I can attest to the effectiveness of brain freeze for stopping a migraine, but I believe adding caffeine is the key. A mocha Frappuccino from Starbucks does the trick for me!

A. There is probably a reason why you find caffeine helpful in your brain-freeze remedy. According to the National Headache Foundation, blood vessels in the head often dilate just at the start of a migraine. Caffeine makes those blood vessels constrict, which could contribute to the effect of the brain freeze.

Q. Years ago I took Synthroid. I tried the synthetic form, and it did NOT do the job for me.

I took Armour Thyroid later, and it worked fine until the pharmacy substituted a synthetic for the Armour. I became depressed.

This also happened to two of my friends: The pharmacy substituted the synthetic without telling them. Pharmacies blamed the insurance companies. The doctor had to specify Armour or we didn’t get it.

A. Depression can be one of many symptoms associated with inadequate thyroid hormone. Levothyroxine is synthetic T4. It is not the same as Armour Thyroid, which is desiccated pig thyroid gland. The desiccated gland contains T3 and other thyroid hormones in addition to T4.

Levothyroxine (Levothroid, Levoxyl, Synthroid, Unithroid) and Armour Thyroid are prescribed to treat hypothyroidism, but they are not interchangeable. Some people find that Armour makes them feel better. That may be due to a genetic difference in the type 2 deiodinase gene that guides the cells to transform T4 to T3 (Annals of Internal Medicine, Jan. 5, 2016).

Problems with quality control of desiccated thyroid in the 1930s and 1940s spoiled its reputation; many endocrinologists embraced synthetic levothyroxine (Synthroid) when it was introduced. Now, however, the paradigm may be shifting to acknowledge that people like you feel better on Armour Thyroid or other combinations of T3 and T4.

We discuss the use of T4, T3 and desiccated thyroid gland to treat hypothyroidism in our Guide to Thyroid Hormones. It is available online at

2016 King Features Syndicate Inc.