Superglue for wounds

Discussion in 'Bush Medicine' started by Jason, Oct 25, 2008.

  1. Jason

    Jason Founder Staff Member Administrator Bushclass I

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    I've heard of people suggesting superglue for wound closure in the past and wanted to write something up regarding the topic. I think it stems from use in the Vietnam war.

    Modern superglue contains a substance called ethyl-2-cyanoacrylate. It produces a short chain polymer when dry. This short chain polymer is not flexible and tends to become toxic and brittle before the wound is healed.

    In Vietnam they used a substance called N-butyl-cyanoacrylate which was sprayed onto wounds to last until surgery was performed. There was some success with this but the idea never caught on in the USA except in veterinary medicine. This polymer was slightly longer and provided more flexibility.

    Today there is an FDA approved substance called Dermabond that is used in hospitals in place of superficial sutures. This chemical is 2-octylcyanoacrylate and is significantly longer (molecularly) and about 4x's stronger than the one from Vietnam. It is to be placed on the skin only and works best for straight, clean wounds such as those created with a scalpel. I would not recommend this for field use, especially on deep wounds as it will not have the tensile strength to hold multiple tissue layers closed.

    I personally use modern superglue for one thing, paper cuts! As long as it is not deep enough to cause bleeding a little superglue will relieve the pain and protect it from the pain caused by bending the finger and getting it wet.
     
  2. Tomahawk

    Tomahawk Guide

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    Interesting

    I have heard of using super glue to close a wound but have never seen it done.

    I did see an old montana hunting guide use toilet paper and pine pitch to cover a burn wound in the field. that was pretty interesting.

    tomahawk
     
  3. Trekon86

    Trekon86 Guest

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    I do use superglue at home and at college but I would not whilst in the field, mainly because of the risk of sealing in germs.
    PMZ
     
  4. Jason

    Jason Founder Staff Member Administrator Bushclass I

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    I used to think it was a bad idea because of sealing in germs but someone had the idea of only sealing it in certain parts, similar to stitches. I thought that was a great idea. Something to consider.
     
  5. Tomahawk

    Tomahawk Guide

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    wound treatment

    You can actually seal a wound with powdered Alder bark, and im not sure but I think Cayanne(sp) pepper also.

    tomahawk
     
  6. Ripmyfly

    Ripmyfly Guide

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    Come on guys Rambo up & pour gunpowder in it & light,,, then stitch it up! Yea like I am going to do that. I do think I could stitch myself. I used to have hog & bear dogs & had to stitch them up all the time.

    I have heard that it is very good to pack the wound w/ cayenne pepper as well.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2008
  7. Tomahawk

    Tomahawk Guide

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    Cayenne

    I cant remember the guys name but in the book about the incident at Ruby ridge in Idaho the gentleman was shot in the shoulder/neck area and put Cayenne pepper on it to stop the bleeding. according to the story the other individual who was shot used something from the 1st aid kit and his wound became infected.

    Cayenne is the Bomb

    hmmm,

    tomahawk
     
  8. rik_uk3

    rik_uk3 Guest

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    I have some Hospital 'super glue' I carry, but to be honest, in the UK you are often not that far from a Hospital so I would tend to control blood loss and first try butterfly sutures, and if needed seek professional help
     
  9. suburbanbushwacker

    suburbanbushwacker Tracker

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    Another really good use is if you put a bad crack or cut into a fingernail. yes the glue is a bit brittle, but you just keep applying it until the break/cut grows out. If you really smash your finger up like i did a couple of years ago, super glue it until you get to a nail bar - once you get past the funny looks they'll do you a repair that'll last until its grown out for $3.00. i was felling trees, building fires and all sorts - it never got infected and stayed stuck in place for a couple of months.
    Best advice is still Be Careful out There
    SBW
     
  10. J-P

    J-P Tracker

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    Electrical tape and a field dressing is all you need cuts you can tape up this seals the cut and covers it, if you are bleeding like a stuck pig get the field dressing out and cry for ya mama! lol ;)
     
  11. adrenjunky

    adrenjunky Guest

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    Spruce sap works well to close a wound.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  12. walkabout

    walkabout Guide

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    Thats a very dangerous way of exposing your body to direct and highly toxic shot of lead, im an electrician and have done just that for years on wounds, i was informed by an OSHA safety represenative how bad that was, now i use duct tape.:p
     
  13. sticks65

    sticks65 Guest

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    Ive used super glue to seal wounds and can tell you it stings like hell LOL.:eek::D

    I carry liquid plaster in my first aid kit which is good but sting just as much as SG.
     
  14. Trekon86

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    I have this stuff called liquid skin or second skin or some such...works well but tends to wash out of the wound too easily.
    I often use a two layered approach: wash wound, fill wound with tincture of iodine, dab off with clean cloth, and then "stitch" the cut in the center *only* with some superglue and then I put a butterfly bandage or some such on it. Works fairly well so far, no terrible, limb-rotting infections despite me working in the (germy) basement with cut-up hands:p
    PMZ
     
  15. 45jack

    45jack Supporter Supporter

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    I've used super glue as well, and agree with Stick65. It stings.
    I'm not talking gaping wounds, mostly knife nicks to the fingers.
    Stops the bleeding.
     
  16. sticks65

    sticks65 Guest

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    Thats what its called ''liquid skin''.;)not liquid plaster.duhhh:rolleyes:
     
  17. tennecedar

    tennecedar Bushmaster Bushclass I

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    I've never needed anything for small cuts. I don't really bleed. Or bruise for that matter. A small clean knife nick seals up in few seconds. When my Dr checks my blood sugar she has to set the little needle to it's deepest depth then squeeze hard to get a drop of blood to test. For me, anything that bleeds will need sutures to close up the wound. Basically I use a bandaid to keep it clean and let nature take it's course.
     
  18. LongRider

    LongRider Guest

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    I've have had to stitch myself up on some fairly deep wounds but as a rule I will clean and tape wounds closed until I can get to an ER. My brother an ER Doc is highly opposed to stitching yourself up or the use of super glue. The biggest issue is infection. He says that if you have not completely sterilized the wound you run the risk creating a life threatening infection. So a good scrub some blood clotting agent for bleeders and compression is the ideal way to go. BTW if you are not screaming you are not cleaning it out well enough. After you are done let it bleed a bit (assuming you are not going into shock from blood loss) that is the bodys way of cleaning itself out than use blood clot and compression.
     
  19. kevinkinney

    kevinkinney Current on Tetanus. Vendor Supporter

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    Howdy,

    I spent my youth climbing, so I had a three part solution for sliced fingers and flappers. I carried a tube of Krazy Glue, folded duct tape and several sugar packets in my chalk bag. I would clean the cut as best as possible. Then I poured sugar directly in. I would glue around the edges of the wound,tamp the empty packet in place, and trim the excess. Two or three wraps with the tape would protect the area, and I could continue.

    Now that I'm older with soft fingers, I whine to my wife and search out Bandaids.

    Kevin
     
  20. Happy Joe

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    I was advised by a doctor against using commercial super glue.
    For small cuts, leakers or less, I do nothing; if the blood gets annoying I apply a fabric band-aid from my wallet.
    For drippers I apply a fabric band-aid from my wallet.
    For larger slices I use duct tape or whatever is available.

    For a while I was a metalworker and unless the cut's a squirter its, usually, just an annoyance (because it forces you to clean the blood off of your work before proceeding to the next item).

    Enjoy!
     
  21. night wolf

    night wolf Scout

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    i use SX glue i get from work
     
  22. jus_like_that

    jus_like_that Scout

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  23. Rubarb

    Rubarb Contributor

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    Umm, might have to invest in a bottle or two of that, looks useful, see they do Mora's as well, that could be handy as i need to place an order for a dozen or so fairly soon.
     
  24. stoneage bushcraft

    stoneage bushcraft Tracker

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    I carry superglue and use it alot on little nics and cuts, have done since being a medic in the forces, we had dermabond as well but superglue is smaller and lighter. I didnt know a soldier that didnt carry superglue, duct tape and tampons in Iraq or Afghanistan whilst serving under me. It was part of our required kit list in RECCE section.

    Its not whats in it that will harm you guys its how you use it, it goes on that outside of the wound and you roll the skin together to create the seal, then bound with duct tape/electrical tape, to stop it coming apart.

    Off the subject the bloke at workshop heaven is great very helpful, i get most of my tools and moras from him, plus he has the new 2010 mora!!
     
  25. SigNY

    SigNY Scout

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    My roommate who is a Vietnam vet swears by super glue. He won't use band aids for some reason. Coming from a guy though who has been doing stone/mason work for the better part of 40 years though he knows a few things about cut up hands.
     
  26. vulcan

    vulcan Tracker

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    If you're really in a bind and a ways from the truck with a bleeder that keeps opening up...
    If you don't have cayenne with you grind up some dry oak leaves and use the leaf powder to pack with like cayenne. The tannins in the oak will chemically cauterize the bleeders and the powder will help the blood clotting agents work.
    I have done this and it works. Grind it up as fine as you can.
     
  27. rik_uk3

    rik_uk3 Guest

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    Strange, we have had good solid advice from our resident qualified practising surgeon as to why we should NOT use super glue and yet it seems to be ignored by some?

    If your doctor says you need an operation would you say "nay, its alright me mate said its fine" lol I'll listen to the doctor or rely on my nurse training rather than listen to pongo's or masons (no offence to either).

    This is getting good reports, quickclot first response
    http://www.z-medica.com/quikclot/index.asp

    better for the untrained as you don't get the potential for 3rd degree burns from this as can happen with original quickclot, plus its easier for medical teams to remove the stuff from the wound.

    I still have a small stock of Dermabond from before I retired but I'll be looking at getting some of this new quickclot.
     
  28. mahaney

    mahaney Guide

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    I've seen quick clot and it works.....but it will burn and its hard to come by. I've been using superglue for a long time and never had any issues. But then I'm not a smart man by any means.....

    J
     
  29. Flotsam

    Flotsam Tracker

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    Just as with the previously mentioned post regarding sewing yourself up - the anecdotal use of glue on wounds is more a testament of the body's ability to heal despite what we do to it.

    I've closed myself w/ sutures, but in a controlled environment, w/ access to sterile instruments, lidocaine, proper sutures, and years of professional wound closure experience.

    My first aid kit for the boonies does not contain glue or sutures for wound closure. I do carry benzoin & steri-strips, and antibacterial ointment & regular dressing supplies.

    In my professional life, I've seen patients present w/ life-threatening infections from simple scratches (literally a scratch on the back of the hand leading to necrotizing fasciitis). I've become a lot less cavalier about wound management than I was as a medic.
     
  30. mmc

    mmc Guest

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    My Doctor told me years ago that he used super glue on his cuts. My neighbor who is a supervisor RN in a large ER said she uses it all the time on her two kids. I use it most of the time instead of bandages. YMMV
     
  31. Jason

    Jason Founder Staff Member Administrator Bushclass I

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    I don't care what you do one way or the other but for those of you who care to listen, grinding up dead dirty leaves and packing them inside your body is not sound advice. I let a lot of things slide on here but not this one. No offense intended Vulcan I'm sure it works great for you but someone is going to get a nasty infection from this who would have otherwise been just fine without any treatment.

    Flotsam isn't making this stuff up, he has obviously been around the block and just because you're lucky a few times doesn't mean you won't eventually kill yourself or lose a limb.
     
  32. Tom Krein

    Tom Krein Scout

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    I have used superglue for minor cuts for years without any problem. I often use it when I grind away some skin and need a "second skin". Make sure the edges of any small cut are well approximated (held together) as you don't want this down inside the cut.

    For bigger lacerations I usually use duct tape. Its amazing what you can do with this stuff....

    I don't really advise putting anything other than neosporine in a cut. Every first aid kit should have a small tube of this stuff in it. It really does work well.

    Prior to bandaging your cut, wound cleaning well with plain old water is a must. You want to really try and avoid an infection. If its really dirty I will use a solution of 50/50 hydrogen peroxide and water, this helps "bubble" some of the dirt out. I only use this if its really dirty though as it can cause some localized tissue death...

    YMMV...

    Tom
     
  33. grey wolf

    grey wolf Scout

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    I have found that though this is sound advise if you have tea tree oil it is a pain reliever and antibacterial and helps the wound heal I have a bottle in my first aid kit.
     
  34. vulcan

    vulcan Tracker

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    No offense taken or intended but as long as they are washed it is no different than eating the stuff we eat from the ground or wrapping a cut with plaintain.
    I do agree with you about not sealing up infection with superglue.
    If it is the difference between bleeding to death or making it to help...
    I meant more of a topical nature, something to be used with direct pressure.

    Direct pressure is the best thing anyway. Sometimes we do get a little cockeyed on using what we can get instead of what is best. Thanks for the heads up.
     
  35. Flotsam

    Flotsam Tracker

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    Again, you can get away with it. Little paper cuts & scrapes, where you have not gone beyond dermis, are going to be fine. Once you have innoculated the subcutaneous layer, it's really hard to get it perfectly clean.

    As to using superglue on kids - kids heal incredibly well, you could more than likely close any wound on a kid w/ a steri-strip, and it would heal just fine. Dermabond is popular for kids because it's less traumatic to the kid (no needles, no lidocaine, etc...), and it can to a good job (I think properly placed sutures provide a better cosmetic result, personally, but try holding down a kid to place them - you almost have to give them general anesthesia).

    Pretty much ANY cut will heal just fine w/o glue or sutures - you'll get a bigger scar, sure. Allowing a wound heal by secondary intention (fill in from the bottom up) is generally very safe - we often leave contaminated wounds open to heal this way, and I'm talking about 8-10" of open wound about 1/2-1" deep.

    Koa and I are just trying to show you the opposite side of the coin - yeah, a little superglue on many cuts may give a good result, but it also may lead to sytemic infection, sepsis, and in the boonies, death.

    BTW - the gentleman who came in w/ the necrotizing fasciitis acquired his wound from working in his garden - he thought he scratched his hand on a rose bush - within 12 hours, he had is forearm flayed open, 24 hours later we flayed open his upper arm & chest wall before we were able to get ahead of the infection. So his little scratch lead to 2 trips to the OR, several days in the ICU, many days of IV antibiotics, and a skin graft to his lower arm. We left the upper arm wounds open - they healed just fine (we didn't have to take much skin there).
     
  36. vulcan

    vulcan Tracker

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    Regarding the rose bush cut.

    Part of my internship included culturing rose thorns to see if they propagated pus inducing bacteria. The results were inconclusive. We found a pretty equal amount of all bacteria that you would find on any surface. Your post reminded me of it.

    I would think it probably came from the dirt after the scrape on the rose. Bad deal all the way around.

    Did he do anything to take care of it at home, did he even wash it or put alcohol on it? Or did he let it fester until he had to go to the hospital?
     
  37. mmc

    mmc Guest

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    A lot of the sporting goods stores have Quik clot now. I get mine from Dicks Sporting Goods. Target, Cabellas and Bass Pro also carry it.
     
  38. rik_uk3

    rik_uk3 Guest

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    Flotsam, Koa, remember the old saying
    "You can take a camel to water but you can't make it drink" Boy, I'm glad to have retired from Nursing.
     
  39. mmc

    mmc Guest

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    Your against closing a wound by lay people with any type of adhesive including Dermabond correct?
    I mean if I can seal in germs with super glue the same can be done with Dermabond.
     
  40. Jason

    Jason Founder Staff Member Administrator Bushclass I

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    Did you do fungal cultures?

    Sporothrix schenckii

    Sporotrichosis
     
  41. Jason

    Jason Founder Staff Member Administrator Bushclass I

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    That is correct yes.
     
  42. mmc

    mmc Guest

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    Thats what I thought you were saying. Not so much that super glue was toxic but that the sealing in of germs was your concern.
    Having said that I would still have to respectfully disagree. I think that the jury is still out on this. There are many doctors who are advising to use it and just as many who say don't. I think if you take proper precautions and clean the wound the chance of infection would be low. JMHO
     
  43. Jason

    Jason Founder Staff Member Administrator Bushclass I

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    I can't say I've met any doctors who advise closing wounds bigger than a paper cut in the field with super glue, and I do know many of them. But I respect your decision to practice medicine on yourself the way you see fit. I'm just here to offer some advice from my experience so that at least some may benefit.
     
  44. Trekon86

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    What I do (to allow it to drain) is I don't seal the entire cut. I seal it in the middle and put a butterfly bandage over it (if I don't have one I make one out of tape or a bandaid).
    This allows the damn thing to drain and not get all puss-y.
    PMZ
     
  45. Flotsam

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    The advice from the Wilderness Medicine folks (yep - there is a whole subset of medical folks who are interested in this area) is to clean the wound & pack it - closure is not advised.

    There are a lot of doctors (and nurses, PAs, EMTs, etc...) who don't know any better - If the doctor takes of wounds all the time - I'd give their advice more weight.

    Sealing a wound in the boonies is a bad idea. A loose approximation with steristrips/butterfly bandages may keep the wound closed, but it would allow drainage, and they are easily removed - this is as far as I would go in the woods. At home, I have everything needed to properly treat a wound, and yet I still tend to use just a bandaid. I don't routinely carry acetone in my FAK, so removal of glue is a pain.

    edit to add: The gentleman w/ the rose thorn injury had cleaned it, and did put neosporin on it - the problem was that the bacteria (cultured streptococcus), had been essentially injected into the subcutaneous fat - from there, it got into the prefascial area, and went crazy - you could almost see the cellulitis spreading - it spread about 10" up the arm in about 4 hours.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2010
  46. mmc

    mmc Guest

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    In fact many doctors do advise just that. I did some resarch not long ago on this very subject.This guy being one of many sources that I found.

    http://www.mirage-mfg.com/html/superglue.html

    Dermabond has been used for at least 10 years in sports to close wounds in conditions similar to what we would encounter. Teams from high schools to the pros use it and the rate of infection is fairly low.

    http://www.aafp.org/afp/20001115/tips/1.html

    I guess for me it comes down to odds. What are the odds that I will have a serious infection because I used super glue? I would say that by looking at the data that is out there very low.
    You know we get in our cars and drive every day without a second thought and that is one of the most dangerous things that you can do yet we do it all the time.
     
  47. Flotsam

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    If you read the instructions in the first link, he basically states that superglue is risky in a potentially contaminated wound, and also states that it should be used when a simple butterfly or steristrip cannot be used. In these cases, the wound was properly cleaned (and in the case of the sports injuries, was anesthetized - so trained personnel were doing the closures). big wounds, complicated wounds, POTENTIALLY INFECTED OR CONTAMINATED WOUNDS were excluded. Which is what we have stated. Yes it can be used, yes dermabond has been around for years. Is it ideal? No.

    There is a big difference in gluing a cut from your clean kitchen knife, versus a knife carried in the outdoors, in a leather sheath, etc... which is used to clean animals, trim dirty wood, etc... Traumatic wounds have about a 50% chance of infection if not treated properly.

    Now a lot of the cuts people are closing are relatively minor, and probably would not warrant sutures in the first place. The wounds that really respond well to glues (esp. dermabond), tend to be clean-edged, relatively straight and under little tension. These wounds also respond well to steristrips and DOING NOTHING.

    I spend a lot of time w/ physicians-in-training. The one thing that the attending physician always stresses is doing the SAFE thing - the, first, do no harm - thing. And to "do no harm" you have to "know harm".

    I am just trying to give you the safest way to manage a wound. You can get away with a lot, until you can't. If I have the ability to clean a wound, I can keep it healing. If I get a systemic infection from a pussed out glue job, I'll probably die without IV antibiotics (and in the case of necrotizing fasciitis, bright lights & cold steel - you have to cut out the infection). The safe way, and what the Wilderness Medicine EXPERTS suggest, is cleaning & packing open.
     
  48. mmc

    mmc Guest

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    Actually he recommends super glue for wounds that cannot be closed with a butterfly bandage or Steri-Strip and when there is no access to sutures.To me this means a fairly large cut.
    My point is that there are doctors who recommends super glue. Also while the study on sports injuies was carried out by professionals they still just cleaned the wound with saline and sealed. You can find many more articles on dermabond being used by non medical professionals in football soccer ect..
    in other words dirty sweaty enviroments.
     
  49. Jason

    Jason Founder Staff Member Administrator Bushclass I

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    I always obtain my medical advice from pediatricians writing for boat manufacturing websites. And a clean sports injury is different than a dirty wound in the field. We all take risks and if some choose to put more on the line for little benefit then there's nothing I can say. As far as articles by non medical professionals I have no interest in hearing that. Sweat is not inherently dirty but dirt is. Especially the kind of dirt found in the bush after a week with no shower.
     
  50. mmc

    mmc Guest

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    Actually that was taken from a larger pamplet that he had written on first aid on the water. And yes he is a pediatrician who graduated from Duke University. I assume you did a search on him to know that he was a pediatrician.
    I haven't posted any link from non-medical professionals. But I can supply more references by doctors if you would like to see them, as well as some studies on using ethyl-2-cyanoacrylate in childern and heart surgery. I think I book marked close to 200 links when I was looking into this.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2010

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