A Sticky Situation – (Using Super Glue as Sutures in a Survival Situation)

Okay - I'll admit, I have a hard time watching someone "sewing" up another person after being injured.  It doesn't matter if it’s on TV, on a movie or documentary or upfront and personal.  It creeps me out big time.

I decided to look further into "alternatives" that could be used should the need arise in a PHTF scenario to "sew" someone up if injured.  You know - where it’s only you and your lowly medical kit to do the repairing? 

In my journey I learned that there are many different ways to secure tissue (your skin) together.  Here are some of them: tape, glue, staples, suture and sea vegetables.

What some of you don't know is our bodies actually heal from the inside out.  Many people think the opposite since we put antibiotic ointment and a Band-Aid on top of the laceration – it heals from the top. 

Skin tape (Steri-Strips) is a thin adhesive strip that you would use to close small wounds. You just apply it across the injury (making sure the edges are aligned) and pull the skin on either side of the wound together to line up with one another.

Glue can also be used.  Super Glue and medical cyanoacrylate glue used in hospitals and doctors' offices apparently have an identical in composition.  I've seen super glue work tons of times by my father who worked with sheet metal.  And, in fact, I’ve used it myself.  You just clean the wound really well with warm water and soap (for me it was a kitchen knife wound), dry the laceration and place small beads (droplets) of the glue at the ends and a few in the center.  No need to apply a heavy line (and in fact it usually will not hold as well).  The glue will hold and begin to sloth off around 3 to 7 days - more than enough time for healing.  And, it doesn't scar as bad a sutures would (sometimes not at all!)

Staples?  Hmmmmmm.  Just something about a staple gun and shooting it into someone that gives me the willies.  But this too is a great way to pull wounds together.  And we are talking about life or death situations where no other medical care is available.

Sutures?  This is another one of those hmmmmms.  It is good to have a suture kit in your medical kit.  But unlike glue, tape and staples this one requires some skill.

It is said that if you have the basic skills to hem a seam you can suture a wound (thank you home economic class!).  Just like with sewing you must determine what size medical needle and thread to use and what type stitch.

With this decision you also have to consider the type of laceration, and the depth and length of the wound. 

As with any "medical closure method" you must thoroughly cleaning the wound with an antiseptic antibacterial solution prior to attempting to close it.

In some cases this may mean cutting any dirty and/or dead skin always from the laceration.

If you are going to consider this method (sutures) - I would highly suggest you take some medical courses and/or doing more research into the types of lacerations, what sutures to use and how to treat wounds on or near joint areas.

Lastly, I found that you can use seaweed patches as an alternative to sutures.  Place a patch twice the length and the width of the laceration; bringing the edges of the skin tissue together to align them, then cover the entire length of the laceration with a second patch of moistened seaweed.  You can find packages of seaweed at your health food store.  Again just add it to your medical kit.

There you have it. 

Please consider these suggestions wisely. 

Why?  Because the laceration you’re repairing may be your own.

- Survivor Jane

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