Even a Simple Wound Can KillTaylor Abegg
One of my favorite gifts as a kid was a 30lb. fiberglass recurve bow I got for Christmas. I loved shooting my bow and would practice in the back yard shooting at cardboard boxes for hours. The arrows I was using were nothing like the aluminum of carbon fiber arrows of today. They were very basic wooden arrows with a metal field tip crimped on the end. I only had three arrows and they were really showing the signs of wear. What I didn’t realize was just how worn they really were.
One of my arrows had developed a crack about six inches in front of the fletching. I could easily see the crack but just didn’t think anything about it until I learned a very painful lesson. I nocked the cracked arrow, drew it back and sighted in on my cardboard box target. I released the shaft and everything seemed to slow down as if I was watching the arrow leave my bow in slow motion.
As my bow string pushed against the nock at the back of the arrow, the force caused the arrow to bow and split right where the crack was. The front part of the arrow flew away from my bow totally missing the target. The back end of the arrow ended up driving through my left index finger just in front of my first knuckle.
I didn’t feel anything at first and remember just staring at it wondering what to do. I then decided I better go inside and see if I could somehow remove the arrow.
I came into the kitchen from the garage and went to the knife drawer. I decided the best course of action was to cut through the flesh on top of the arrow so I could just lift the arrow straight up rather than pulling it out. This was my first encounter with just how tough human skin really is. I had unfortunately (on second thought, fortunately) chosen a fairly dull knife. As I began to saw on my skin, I was surprised I still couldn’t feel anything but was upset that the knife was not slicing through the skin as easily as I had anticipated.
I quickly decided to abandon this approach and knew I needed help to fix this problem. I could hear my sister in the living room with her boyfriend and decided to walk in there to get help. My sister first thought I was somehow faking it but on closer inspection realized this was real. I have to clarify one important point here – my parents, especially my dad seldom felt a doctor was needed to address a wound. If this happened today, I would rush my kid to the emergency room – not the case when I was growing up.
I told my sister how I’d tried to cut the arrow out and she commented on the folly of my attempt. She explained that the arrow would need to be pulled out. I definitely was not excited by this revelation! She told me to look away and on the count of three, she would pull the arrow out. I reluctantly agreed, turned my head and heard my sister begin counting. One. Two. Then a quick jerk of her hand pulled the arrow right out of my finger. She totally faked me out and pulled on the count of two! I’ve still not forgiven her for this.
I never got stitches and pulled out slivers from the wound for several days thereafter. Somehow, I survived. It began to get infected so I just kept applying lots of antibiotic salve under several Band-Aids. I still have the scar today and can even see the cut mark where I tried to slice the skin to remove the arrow.
Now, the facts are – I was very lucky. Had such an accident happened in the wild, I could have died with an infection. It really is easy to take for granted the extraordinary medical care available to all of us by simply walking into an Emergency Room. But what if all that was unexpectedly taken away? Are you prepared to handle more than applying a Band-Aid?
Should the time come that requires evacuating one’s home for an extended period of time and living off-grid, there are a myriad of potential health issues that could become as deadly as any arrow, gunshot or knife wound. One of the greatest killers of all time is that resulting from untreated infections.
It’s hard to imagine with today’s medical treatments, medicines and antibiotics that basic wound infections could be any kind of threat. But, remove your access to such treatments and antibiotics, a simple cut on your hand or leg, once it becomes infected, can kill.
Penicillin was discovered by Scottish chemist Alexander Fleming in 1928. It’s estimated that penicillin has saved the lives of more than 200 million across the globe. It saved the lives of 12 to 15 percent of Allied Forces during WWII. Since that time there have been many additional antibiotics discovered that have equally saved the lives of many hundreds of millions around the world.
So what does one do when antibiotics are not available? Are there any alternative treatment methods that could save lives and eradicate wound infections?
Treating wounds using alternative healing methods will become a vital skill when there is no doctor around. Besides providing you with the much-needed food, your pantry also holds two items that will help you treat wounds: honey and sugar. These two ingredients are beneficial for cleansing and healing traumatic wounds. Treating wounds with honey and sugar is an ancient method of healing that has been tested over time. The ancient Egyptians were the first to document this process. The healing proprieties of sugar and honey are mentioned even in the Bible, Koran and Torah.
People around the world have used honey and sugar to cleanse and heal traumatic wounds; in particular gunshot wounds and battle injuries where a loss of flesh leads to infections.
How does honey and sugar work for treating wounds?
Sugar is a short chain, soluble carbohydrate composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. It has many names and it’s also known as glucose, dextrose, fructose, galactose, sucrose, maltose, and lactose. Sugar has high osmolality, and it’s able to draw fluid out of the wound. It reduces water content in the injury and inhibits the growth of bacteria. It is also helpful in removing dead tissue while preserving the tissue that is still alive.
Honey is a viscous, hyper-saturated sugar solution made from 75-80 percent sugar and 20 percent water. It is very effective at killing staphylococci, including the community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, within a few hours. Honey also has anti-inflammatory activity and its ability to absorb water provides antiseptic action. Scientists believe that the healing proprieties of honey are derived from its ability to produce hydrogen peroxide from the glucose oxidase enzyme found in its composition.
Treating wounds step by step
You first have to make sure the wound has stopped bleeding and that it’s very clean. Cayenne pepper can be applied to stop the bleeding, but I must warn you that it will sting like hell. You will then have to clean the wound with a mild soap and warm water or a saline solution. Pat the area dry until there is no moisture inside the wound. Honey and sugar react and bind with calcium and if calcium is not available because of bleeding, no clot can form.
Pour granulated sugar directly on the wound and make sure it gets down as deep into the wound as possible. The sugar shouldn’t just be sprinkled on the surface and outer rim of the wound. If the wound is too large, you need to apply honey first and then add sugar on top (you can mix sugar and honey until you make a thick paste).
Cover the wound with a clean bandage and secure it with tape. The dressing will prevent the honey and sugar from leaking out and it will keep the wound protected from external debris and bacteria.
Change the bandage and repeat the cleaning and sugar application once a day. You will have to do it more than once per day when you notice the bandages are wet from the removed fluid.
Alternative to using honey and sugar
Although there are many reasons one should store honey, the chances are that not everyone has this fantastic food at hand. There is an alternative to honey for treating wounds and it involves using cooking oil.
You will need to combine three parts of powdered sugar and one part of cooking oil and mix the ingredients until the mixture is uniformly smooth. A thick layer (1/2 inch) of this mix will have to be applied directly to the wound. This alternative works just as well and science backs it up.
Sugar will dehydrate all bacteria and prevent it from reproducing. If the bacteria die, no infection can occur. The oil coats the outer bacterial membrane and prevents water and foodstuff from entering the cell. It also prevents egress of cellular waste products. As a result, the bacterial cell withers and dies.
A few words of advice:
- CAUTION – This is a homemade remedy. Therefore I recommend you should research anything you read. You will be assured of its use and the accuracy of the information provided.
- Commercial honey is not as effective at treating wounds as raw honey.
- If you apply cayenne pepper to the wound to stop bleeding, be prepared to experience pain. It does sting and some people cannot tolerate this pain.
- Manuka honey is the best type of honey that one can store and it’s even being used by the New Zealand army forces.
- You should avoid using this treatment for infants as they can develop botulism from honey.
Mixed together, honey and sugar or sugar and cooking oil can provide a healing alternative that is available for anyone. The paste resulting from mixing these ingredients can be applied directly to an open wound. It is a healing method guaranteed to stave off infection and hasten the healing process. This healing method has been used for centuries and it won’t fail you when the need arises.