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Epsom salts are a centuries-old remedy for many minor ailments. Used in compresses, soaks or the bath, these salts can provide soothing relief to aching muscles, insect bites and stings and swelling and bruises, among other things. Combine the salts with water as hot as you can tolerate to make a compress. The two versions described here are best for soothing insect stings and sore muscles, respectively.

Place 2 tbsp. of the Epsom salts in a small bowl. Add spoonfuls of the hot water and mix with the salt until it forms a paste.

Spread the paste onto the mosquito bite or insect sting. If possible, remove the stinger first.

Soak a clean washcloth in very hot water; wring out. Place the hot cloth over the paste on the bite. Resoak the cloth in hot water as needed to keep it hot. Continue for 10 minutes.

Mix two cups of Epsom salts and two cups of very hot water in a medium-sized bowl. Mix until the salt dissolves.

Soak a clean washcloth in the salt mixture; wring out. Place damp wet cloth on aching muscle and mild sprains to relieve pain and soothe aching. Resoak the cloth as needed to keep it as hot as possible.