SuperGlue and Infections
Ed Thompson (thompson@VAX2.WINONA.MSUS.EDU)
Thu, 10 Sep 1998 10:25:16 -0600
Re: Using superglue as an "emergency" bandage
Jim Moss made an interesting observation, that superglue may stop pain by
cutting off oxygen from the wound. This is true - superglue will cut off
air to the wound, and this is NOT a good thing.
I'm sure I don't need to remind anyone on this list of the risk of tetanus
from even seemingly minor wounds. Please keep in mind that the bacterium
which produces tetanus (Clostridium tetani) is anaerobic: it can not grow in
the presence of oxygen, but does so rapidly in damaged tissue from which
oxygen has been excluded. Another member of this anaerobic genus
(Clostridium perfringens) causes gas gangrene. Both of these bacteria are
almost universally present in soil, and will thus contaminate almost any
wound, and both will rapidly reproduce in a wound once the oxygen is cut
off. Unless the individual has been vaccinated against them, fatal
infections can develop from even small wounds within a few days.
The take-home message? Be very careful using superglue on wounds since
cutting off the oxygen supply significantly "improves" the conditions in
which Clostridia thrive. Use it only for major wounds which can not be
controlled any other way, and be certain that the Scout sees a physician as
soon as possible. Please don't use it for minor wounds, particularly when
you don't plan to seek medical attention right away - it would be foolish to
assume that a Scout has been immunized recently enough to prevent infection.
Ed W. Thompson Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
Director of Cytotechnology
Winona State University
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City