“Ferfal–Thank you so much for your blog! I was so interested in the video of the potassium permanganate, because at the moment I am halfway through the small book “The Inn of the Sixth Happiness” by Alan Burgess, which tells the true story of a young, single, British woman missionary who was in rural China when the Japanese invaded Manchuria. In 1938 their isolated village was bombed, leaving many casualties. All she had in her first aid kit was a bottle of Lysol, a bottle of Potassium Permanganate, a can of boric acid, and lots of cotton! She mixed up a solution of the P.P. in a kettle of warm water, and irrigated the wounds and bandaged them. Most lived, even the gunshot wounds. I highly recommend the book, as it gives a compelling picture of survival in a variety of disaster situations. ”
Jean Missouri, USA
Thanks Jean, thats very interesting.
These are the kind of “gems” I’m always looking for in terms of survival knowledge, real events that actually took place somewhere, at some time. Learning from what happened to others and analyzing how they coped, what worked and what didn’t, that to me is priceless information.
The book is the true story of English evangelical Christian missionary Gladys Aylward , who saved orphans and cared for wounded when Japan invaded China in 1938. She successfully used potassium permanganate to treat many wounded while escaping from the Japanese invasion. Its good to know that it has been effectively used in that role.
One of the things that I like the most about potassium permanganate is that the uses it has are so critical in a survival situation. Few things would be more critical during an emergency than purifying water and disinfecting wounds, and a small bottle of potassium permanganate crystals is enough to treat many gallons of water and prepare gallons of disinfectant.
Given the positive feedback I got, I did a final video wrapping it up and including a few final concepts.
A friend of mine who suffered a bike accident is using common sugar for treating his injured foot. He still goes to the hospital, has the progress checked and dressings changed but he still does some of it at home, and the doctors indicated that he should use sugar on daily basis. We’re talking about a serious injury with significant loss of skin, flesh and tendon damage.
My mother in law was indicated similar treatment after her breast cancer surgery, pouring sugar over the wound. I know its used at the Buenos Aires City zoo for animal wounds and that it has been used in battlefield wounds as well. Sugar works as an effective antiseptic, in some cases it even works in cases where typical pharmaceutical antiseptics have failed. Honey is also used and is an old time remedy for insect bites. Sugar and honey not only works as an antiseptic, several studies have showed that it also reliefs pain and speeds up the healing process when compared to not using it.
The way of using it is pretty straight forward. Clean up the wound with soap and water, dry so that there’s no moist the apply sugar directly into the wound. In some cases its recommended to first apply honey and then sugar so that it sticks. The people I know, they used sugar simply powered directly into the wound. The sugar crystals should go inside the wound when possible. After that, cover the wound with sterile dressing.
Its surprising how effective such a simple remedy can be. Doing some google you’ll find out several studies and hospitals that have come to accept hoe effective it is.
Ross’s email reminded me of superglue. I’ve used it this week as well to fix a small cut. My nephew had a cut in his head a few weeks ago fixed at the local ER with ordinary hardware store superglue.
Superglue is ethyl-cyanoacrylate. While butyl-cyanoacrylate is the improved, proper use medical superglue, ordinary superglue (ethyl-cyanoacrylate) works for small cuts and its used here in third world hospitals. I know lots of doctors and nurses that use it so its safe to say that in spite of being a bit irritant its ok for small wounds.
How to use it
When I first heard of superglue being used for cuts I thought it was interesting but didn’t quite understand how you’re supposed to use it. Since then I’ve done a bit or reading, including a very interesting piece of research by an orthodontists that used superglue to fix a severely injured lip. I’ve also been using it myself when I got cut so this is how I’ve been using it:
1) It must be a small/moderate wound, less than an 1/4 inch deep and no longer than two inches. We’re closing the skin here, anything deeper and more serious requires medical attention.
2)Clean the wound thoroughly with soap and water. You dont want to leave dirt inside the wound you’re about to close.
3) Dry and make sure you’ve stopped the bleeding. I’ve had good results (specially with fingers) by rasing the wound over my head. A bit of pressure helps too. Apply pressure for a couple minutes. A small amount of bleeding is ok, but you can’t have blood streaming out of the wound you’re trying to fix.
4)Use your fingers to bring the two sides of the wound together and place glue along the cut. Try to be as neat as possible and don´t use more glue than needed. I found out that the cleaner the cut, the easier it is to glue shut and it leaves almost no scar. Some glue will come into contact with the exposed wound even when bringing both sides together. Its not a problem. As the wound closes it will expel that bit of glue and it eventually peals off.
5) Once glue is placed all along the wound, keep both sides together for 3 minutes until the glue dries.
NoteI: If during an emergency you’re forced to do something like this with a larger wound, you want to leave one end not completely glued shut. This is because large wounds will have some infection and puss, and you want a way to drain it. During an accident my son had in his leg, we drained puss for at least two weeks until the wound healed. Of course you need a doctor for such a wound but I’m just telling you what to expect.
Note II: Keep an eye on the wound for any signs of infection. A bit of redness is acceptable, but if it gets warm to touch and the red color spreads you know the infection is getting worse and you need antibiotics and medical help as soon as possible.
None of this is medical advice, just a household tip or two on how you may deal with a small cut during an emergency.
Hi Ferfal, really enjoy your blog and your book as well; currently my dad has my copy. I’m a registered nurse working in an OR up here in America, so I deal with wound closures every day. I would suggest to you and your readers that you not glue wounds any deeper than 1/4″, rather than the 3/4″ recommended in the post (maybe a typo?). There’s just too much risk for infection or for uncontrolled bleeding. Your circumstances will dictate, but generally the shallower and cleaner the wound the more appropriate for gluing.
Your point about leaving an opening for drainage is spot on. As you said, if you start to see any significant drainage, warmth, discoloration, or discolored streaks from the wound, it’s past time for a professional. Supergluing things yourself is a good option if you’re desperate, but if you have access to formal medical care that’s of course your best option for treating whatever injury.
Keep up the great work, and take care,
Hi Graham. Thanks for the correction. I was actually thinking of some of the head cuts ERs around here fix with superglue. You’re right, that’s around 1/4 inch, not half an inch. Sorry for that, we use metric around here.
The lip that I saw pictures of glued together though, that was a serious wound and the doctor still used superglue. Guess the lesson is that while it can be done, when used so extensively you need a doc. When doing it yourself just stick to smaller wounds.
About 15 years ago I had inner ear surgery.
The way they get to the inner ear is to cut the outside of the ear almost all of the way off and then tape it to
your nose to get it out of the way….then drill (or moto-tool) a hole in your skull above the ear canal to reach the inner ear.
After doing the repair, they used medical super glue to glue my ear back on. There was a large compression dressing over the ear that I had to leave on for 24 hours…and had to be carefull for several
more days, but it healed perfectly.
For a few months little pieces of the cyanacrolate would work their way out of the incision area if I scratched or washed it. No pain, very little swelling—overall excellent result–and (unfortunately) my ears are no small piece of flesh and cartilage. Super glue is good stuff.
Mark Dayton, Oh
Thanks Mark for your email. Seems that its used a lot for soft tissues.
This is the PDF document I referred to beofre: Lip suture with isobutyl cianoacrylate (Graphic Warning!:shows actual wounds)
Click on it, its worth reading and it shows how isobutyl cianoacrylate is actually used. Notice Dr. Blanco actually puts the glue INSIDE the wound, THEN presses the sides together. Of course the wound shouldn’t be bleeding much so as to achieve this correctly. Again, for this type of larger wound, go to the doctor. Its still interesting to understand how this works.
|Left to right, up down: Ammo, mini first aid kit, roll of guaze, Quikclot sponge, quikclot gauze, emergency bandage.|
|Back of Emergency bandage package|
Since we’re all into shooting and in many ways like minded in terms of self defense training and such, its not much of a surprise to see such interest. One of them mentioned that they had a worker injured with some broken glass while in the country and they had a hard time stopping the bleeding. He said the quikclot sponge would have come in handy. I’ve posted about Quiklot before, here’s the link.
The Emergency Bandage 4″ (Israeli Bandage)
Heavyweight Classic Messenger Bag – Olive Drab
Its ok if you don’t have much stuff in it. It lacks the rigidity other bags I own have, but then again its much more affordable as well. Main criticism? It could use a zipper for the main compartment (I’ll add that myself soon ) and it would be nice to have them in the pockets as well. Sometimes bags get thrown around a bit, used as rifle rests when shooting (actually we did that today) and you can end up loosing some small items from the exterior pockets.