Last night we were making some nachos so I thought I’d make a cheese and chilli (or chili if you are americano?) dip to go with it. Usually I cut up a whole tray of chillis, however, since I didn’t know how hot the chillis here are, I thought I would go with four chillis for my dip. I cut them up and realised I didn’t have anything to dip in the dip, so my housemate Glen and I set off to the store on foot to buy some bread.
The local supermarket is about 6 or 7 blocks away, I think it takes about 20 minutes to walk there. It would take about 15 if the humidity wasn’t so high, but we kind of stroll here in Suva since the place collects humid air with the same insatiable desire as ash collecting pokemon. About half way to the store my fingers on my left hand started to burn a little, I thought that was a bit weird, and maybe I had just got chilli juice in some oyster cuts from my previous adventure. The burning got worse and worse as we made it to the store, bought the bread and came home, so by the time I got back my hands felt a bit like they were sitting in a bowl of water that was on a slow heat. I ran the hand under cold water for a while, which helped, and ate my dip and nachos with one hand. The dip was really good, had a lot of kick, but everyone in the house other than Nikki slammed down about 3/4 of it before we were all full.
My hand was feeling a lot worse by this point, and so we started googling remedies for chilli burn on hands. It was clear at this point that the burn wasn’t limited to any existing cuts, because the ends of all of my fingers on my left hand were going red. We started out scientific and put burn cream on my fingers. This didn’t really make me feel any better, but it was medical so I was kinda confident that as long as I was patient my hand would feel better. It didn’t. I started sweating and felt like I was going to throw up, and after 15 minutes I couldn’t take any more patient sufferance so I dunked my hand in a bowl of ice water. I felt relief in a second from the burn and the nausea. Unfortunately this wasn’t a long term solution because my hand slowly started burning inside the ice water, and when I took it out I got a sharp burning feeling.
My team of
medical staff witch doctors housemates started googling solutions to my problem. The first home remedy suggested by yahoo answers was putting my hand in milk. It felt ok, but was similar in effect to the ice water. It was also a little weird. The next solution recommended by e-how I think or wiki answers (or some other shonky online operation) was submerging my hand in vegetable oil. It didn’t help at all and was really gross – but we only had canola oil, so as a scientist I can’t rule it out as a possible solution. The next effort involved squeezing lemon juice on my hand, which I thought sounded more like torture than medical aid, but luckily it didn’t sting, it just had no positive effect. By this point my index finger had started to blister a bit, so I considered going to the hospital but was talked out of it when we called them and they sounded uninterested but polite.
Finally we found two bits of information that kind of worked, and I will share this sage advice with you all in case you ever cut hot chillies without the use of protective gloves. The first thing that helped was scrubbing my hands with alcohol. We used a middle of the range vodka as we were out of medical swabs. Chilli oil is apparently alcohol soluble so while this doesn’t ease the pain it stops the burn from getting worse. It worked for me. The second part of my chilli burned hands home remedy is to soak your hand in iced soapy water. This soothes the pain and seems to neutralise the acidic properties of the chilli and other failed home remedies you may have tried. We used Pure Fiji soap flakes that we got in bulk for cheap, but I think any genuine soap would do.
I spent the rest of the night watching avatar the last air bender until I fell asleep with my hand in the soap bowl. I also took a neurofen painkiller which helped a bit. Probably the most impressive part of this whole story is that my housemates ate the dip containing the dangerous chillis, and at present there have been no recorded incidents of mouth burn or ring sting. I mean if it can do 6 hours of pain to my hands? Wow.
As usual, I leave you with two film reviews from the past week or two:
Megamind 3D – This was pretty good for your usual holiday animated feature designed to milk dollars from families heading to the cinema during the break. It had some big stars voicing it, the characters were pretty good and the story was OK. Try not to watch the trailer or you might get some of the funny bits spoiled, but it suited my tastes, and was a good way to spend an afternoon. Rating: Volunteer to take your nephew
True Grit – I had been promising Nikki I would see this with her cos she liked westerns and loves the Coen brothers. I thought it looked like a film I would like from the previews, despite the presence of Maaaatt Daaaamon. The characters were great, the script was awesome but the plot was kinda a bit whacky. I would still recommend it if you are the kind of person that likes strong characters and witty banter. Rating: Good enough to pay Sydney ticket prices