Saturday, April 28, 2012

Health Journal - Wound Care

Warning: The pictures in this post are not for those with a weak stomach! :)

If there is one thing that we are not lacking on the farm, it's wounds. :)  Wound care is not hard, but you must have the supplies you need on hand and most importantly, be consistent with your treatments.

When someone comes to me with a bloody wound, the first thing I do is saturate it with Tea Tree essential oil.  I do not wash the wound, although we will put it under running water (before the tea tree oil) to rinse it off.  Lavender essential oil will also clean and disinfect the wound, but it burns.  I will clean the skin around the wound with hydrogen peroxide.

If the wound is bleeding heavily you can sprinkle cayenne pepper on the wound and it will stop the bleeding.  Once I cut my finger very deep with a kitchen knife, and it would not stop bleeding.  As I stood at the kitchen sink holding my finger together and not wanting to move away from the sink because blood was dripping everywhere, I asked one of my kids to get me the cayenne pepper.  They said, "Mom, you are crazy!"  But it did the trick and only stung for a moment.  If a wound is bleeding profusely, mix a heaping teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a small glass of water and drink it.  By the time you count to ten, the bleeding will have stopped.  This also works great for a bloody nose.

The next thing I do is apply a homemade salve, herbal oil, or powdered herbs.  There are a number of herbs that are good for wounds.  If it's a burn, I would apply a portion of a leaf from an Aloe Vera plant.  Raw honey is also good for wounds, especially burns.  It seals off the wound from the air which almost immediately stops the pain.  It will also sterilize the wound because of its antibacterial properties.

With all serious wounds, I change the dressing morning and night.  This is very important!  The herbs that I put on the skin are feeding the wound and need to be reapplied regularly.  I also put the patient on Vitamin C and garlic - the larger the wound, the larger the dose.  How much?  A lot!  If they get the runs, back off a little. You will not have to deal with infection if you do this.

Another way to prevent infection, with a wound like Mike's (see picture below) where there is a puncture, is to soak the wound in very hot salt water.  If there is any sign of infection (red, inflamed skin or red streaks) soak the finger OFTEN and make sure to keep the water hot.  If you are diligent this will cure the infection.

I always thought that a wound had to be exposed to the air in order to dry out and heal, but I have learned that the exposure to oxygen is very painful and slows the healing process.  If a wound is covered well, your patient will be quite content.  If they complain of pain, unwrap it and cover it better - meaning put on more salve and bandage it up well.

When bandaging a wound, you want to make sure that what you put on it will come off well, without ripping the new skin off.  This usually isn't too difficult with small wounds - the average band aid works just fine - but with large wounds, it can be challenging.  I have found that young burdock leaves work best for large wounds.  We have plenty of burdock growing on our property, so I don't have to worry about having a "band aid" when I need one.  In the fall, I will pick some burdock leaves and hang them in my garden shed.  When they are dry, I transfer them to a plastic bin.  The bin may sit in the shed all winter unused, but at least they are there when I need them!  With Jonny's finger, (see picture below) I used burdock leaves.  I would simply break off a portion of the dried leaf (removing the hard veins that run down the center) and pour hot water over the leaf.  Within a minute or so the leaf is ready to be applied to the wound.  Plantain leaves also make good band aids, but are quite a bit smaller than burdock leaves.  Fresh leaves can also be used.  However they can cause irritation, and in that case just pour hot water over them as you would a dried leaf.  The leaves will also FEED the wound.

It is also wise, to splint your wounds.  It helps in healing and may help the patient be more comfortable.  When Ben cut his leg, getting around was very painful for the first 24 hours.  A splint helped.  Drinking clove tea and taking 303's also helped a lot with the pain. (See my posts on Pain Relief and Cramps for more information on that.)  There is a website that I like for obtaining medical supplies - Rescue Essentials.  They have SAM splints which work great for splinting everything from fingers to legs.  You can get a training kit to learn how to use the splints for a very reasonable price.
As I said before, the hardest part of wound care is being consistent.  Life gets busy and it's easy to forget or put off treatments, but you cannot do this if you have a bad wound.  To prevent infection you must stay on top of your treatments and make sure your patient maintains a good diet.  Sugar is a big NO NO during a treatment period.  You are asking for trouble if you eat sweets during times of healing, and if you are not feeding the body well, the process will take longer.  Another important thing to remember is that you must be as aggressive as what you are treating.  If what you are doing is not working, you must do more, more often.  Natural remedies are not like drugs which often work immediately.

My personal conviction is that I do not want to be dependant on anyone to take care of me or my family.  That said, I am not against traditional medicine.  It is necessary at times, but I want to learn what I can and be prepared in case I am confronted with a situation where I cannot get medical care.

I am sorry that this post is so long!  There is just so much to write about! :)  For more information on natural home remedies join us for a class here on the farm.  Click on the "Classes" tab at the top of the page.

Mike pierced his fingernail with the end of a cattle panel.  It almost went all the way through his finger!

Jonny got his finger caught in a belt sander.  This was a bad wound!

In this picture, Ben cut his leg open by kneeling on a pruning shear.  It was pretty deep.

1 comment:

Theresa said...

O.kay the pictures are yuck (I'm a bit squeamish) but the info. is great!! Looking forward to your class. I know this morning I told you the 19th, but Scott thought it would be better for me to hold off and wait until the 23rd since that will be after Sammi's graduation party so please switch her and I to that class if there is still room. Thanks!

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