Letter Re: Rethinking Wound Care

HJL,

What the writer says is spot on for infection occurring more often in warm and moist conditions. One note here, however. Flies in a wound are going to lay eggs and you are going to get maggots. As disgusting as that sounds, it might not be a bad thing. Maggots have been used for centuries to debride wounds. (Debride means to remove non-viable tissue.) Maggots only eat the dead tissue, which is where the infection is at its worst. The less infection present the easier it is for the bodies defensive mechanisms to fix the problem. I first became aware of this while working at Tripler Army Hospital back in the 70’s. When we went to check a wound under a cast that had a “window” cut into it for wound care, we noted the maggots. The colonel in charge said leave them in and explained the above to the staff medics and nurses. This is probably going to be frowned on in current medical circles, so showing up at your doctors office with a wound full of maggots will probably not be seen as a good thing. It might actually get you charged with abuse, if you are the caretaker. On the other hand, in a collapsed economy with no antibiotics and a badly infected wound, maggots could mean the difference between life and death. I wonder what SurvivalBlog’s medical editor would say on this? – N.W.

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