Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Doc Superglue

I've heard that if you lose a limb or something then boiling pitch (tar) does a good job of sealing it up - otherwise many people seem to now use superglue for repairing and sealing cuts. I thought I'd look into it a little.. so as to be prepared - especially when running barefoot.

Found the following on a medical forum:
To quote, "(Quinn & Kissick, 1994) Current use: Although not labeled as such, over-the-counter Super Glue products contain methyl alcohol, because it is inexpensive to produce. Cyanoacrylates cure by a chemical reaction called polymerization, which produces heat. Methyl alcohol has a pronounced heating action when it contacts tissue and may even produce burns if the glue contacts a large enough area of tissue. Rapid curing may also lead to tissue necrosis. Midwives have not noted such reactions because minimal amounts are being used for perineal repair. Nevertheless, with a greater toxic potential, over-the-counter products are inappropriate for use in wound closure. (Quinn & Kissick, 1994)
Medical grade products currently available contain either butyl, isobutyl or octyl esters. They are bacteriostatic and painless to apply when used as directed, produce minimal thermal reaction when applied to dry skin and break down harmlessly in tissue. They are essentially inert once dry. Butyl products are rigid when dry, but provide a strong bond. Available octyl products are more flexible when dry, but produce a weaker bond. "

I think the point is that you only risk using industrial superglue on small cuts! Apparently the cyanide component is not dangerous because cyanide is only toxic when ingested due to reactions with the stomach acid. The danger seems to be from the heat produced if you use a lot of it - a bit similar to the boiling pitch option perhaps.

Perhaps a medical grade product like "Liquid Skin" would be better for bigger cuts and skin loss.

I might leave my pitch boiling kit behind in future which is a shame because I really wanted to find someone to try it out on.

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