How to care for an infected wound

This guest post is by  Denise H and entry in our non-fiction writing contest .

As citizens of TWAWKI, some of the hardest lessons we can learn is those to which we have limited exposure. To keep our families healthy and safe we have to be sure we can handle any crisis without the luxury of the “supports” we have at this present time. Our family has been displaced from our primary location and our primary medical provider for several months. It is necessary for us to call someone to stay, while we go receive regularly scheduled care. As a result, we have chosen to address much of our medical care by natural or homeopathic methods.

Our family has recently had several health challenges.

First, I had a sinus infection with associated ear aches. For the sinus infection, I used three toes of garlic crushed and consumed in 4 oz. of orange juice, 2 x a day for two days. For the ear ache, which came back two or three times… I did two things and both helped. I hummed for 60 min morning and night,( I learned this from a current show hosted by an M.D.) and second, I took a medium-sized toe of garlic peeled it, and cut off the root end. Placed it in my ear canal.(it felt cool) and l left it for an hour to an hour and a half.

Then, due to my having had a major gastric surgery, years ago, I am blessed with multiple gastric intolerances caused from enzyme imbalances. My symptoms range from gastric discomfort to intestinal twisting.(That requires a hospital!)..and to every thing in between. I will eat a food and it causes no problem, and the next time I partake, it leaves me deathly ill. At least, that’s how I was until I discovered the effects of a herb , everlasting, which causes my wild intestines to calm to a near normal routine. One ounce of the tea, every other day, made from the herb has stopped the effects of not having digestive enzymes in sufficient quantity for normal digestion.

Herbals are medicines and should be treated with due respect. Each person who uses them , should be able to know what they are using and what kind of desired effect they will produce. So, if you have gastric distresses, intolerances, enzyme imbalances, this might be one that you would desire to research.

Our family’s most recent challenge was a badly infected wound on my dh’s right foot– an injury he dismissed as nothing until, it swelled up several days later. Upon reflection, he remembered pulling out some dried sticks that had gotten caught in his sandals a little over a week earlier. He’d had little bleeding and did not realize he needed to be concerned.

I have chosen to make this as descriptive as possible with the goal of assisting anyone required to give wound care to gain a perspective on the difference in an infected wound and an inflamed one. Wounds heal in stages and one must be able to tell when the wound has progressed to the next level, requiring a change in care.

What we did worked, for we had the privilege of going to dh’s attending physician on day 11 of the treatment. He declared it infection free, and had us continue antibiotic cream for three more days. Then, just keep the wound clean and dry. Post TEOTWAWKI, I don’t believe we will have that luxury.

Late one evening, my dh comes up and says, ” ‘Tater, check my foot!” So I have him put it up, and I start the evaluation.

On his left foot I find, an oval blister, on the inner aspect of his second toe that is still closed. This intact blister is even and uniform in color, it has no hardness under the toe. I can’t see any foreign material in it and the redness, approx circumference of an inch, is confined to the 2nd. toe.

BUT, On his right foot I find a very angry-looking 2nd and 3rd toe. They are swelled, so much he can’t bend them. There is redness on top of the foot, extending almost an inch from the base of the two toes. There is a hard lump at the base of the third toe. and there is a huge oval blister, approx 3/4’ tall, and extends the entire swelled depth of the toe…and about 3/4″ long. It is ringed with multiple colors including purple, yellow.

I cleaned it, it appeared to have some foreign material in it. Dh said “open it!”. So I got out a sculpture needle, sterilized it, and proceeded. There was about 1/2 tsp.of foreign material, some debri and thin,blood tinged exudate, removed with the opening. To further clean the wound, I prepared a hot soak with 3 gallons water, as warm as he could tolerate, 1/2 cup epsom salt and 2-Tablespoons,(30cc)6% bleach. We soaked it for 30 min., then dried his feet.

Upon checking the condition of the wound I determined that it was still dirty. There was still some dead material and old blood in the wound. I could not see pink tissue in the bottom of the wound and it was angry and inflamed. So I determined the wound needed debridement (removal of dead material) and I prepared a debriedment paste with… 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, one tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of betadyne.. I packed the wound with this and secured a sterile 2×2.

The other wound (on his Left foot) I protected with a 2×2 and antibiotic ointment. The next morning and evening we soaked both feet,using a fresh solution of epsom salt and bleach.. each time,noticing an improvement with reduction of redness and associated swelling.Then, reapplied the debridement paste.

On day 3, after the long soak, the wound was pink inside. The debriedment was complete. The swelling was down to a level that allowed him to move his toes. The redness was reduced to the toes only and no longer to the top of the foot The wound was still angry and there was a persistent red, hard area at the base of that third toe.

So, I made a trip to my local big box pharmacy, to the wound care isle. I found a substance called PRID, a homeopathic drawing salve. I applied it to the wound with a sterile 2×2 .

We continued to soak the feet 30 min, twice daily, days 3-8 and apply the drawing salve to both wounds. Each day we could see the wounds with less redness and edema.

Day 9-10, we applied just 2×2 and antibiotic salve after cleaning.

On Day 11 , the PCP declared the wound clear of infection . At Day 18 , the deepest wound now has new skin, surrounded by a ring of the old blister that is slowly wearing away. Both feet are fully healed now, with no permanent injury.

Lessons learned and re-enforced:

This guest post is by Denise H and entry in our non-fiction writing contest .

One, check your loved ones feet! Don’t depend on them to realize they are hurt, especially if they have any sensory compromise as is seen commonly with those who have nerve disorders and diabetes.(Both of these blisters formed near a surgery site of a neuroma removal.)

Two,home remedy’s work they can be labour intensive but often without the side effect of prescription medications.

Third, I would recommend having some type of drawing salve on hand, and Epsom salt.. these items definitely saved us a medical bill, minimum…and a hospital bill and possible loss of toes… at the top end of possible costs.

(Note : If you have a medical concern, it is vital that you speak with your medical practitioner regarding that issue. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. )

This contest will end on June 5 2012 – prizes include:

First Prize) Winner will receive a Wise Essentials Kit courtesy of LPC Survival and an EcoZoom’s Versa Stove courtesy of EcoZoom stoves.. A value of over $300.

Second Prize) Winner will receive a $150 gift certificate for Wolf Ammo courtesy of   A total prize value of over $150.

Third Prize) Winner will receive copies of both of my books “31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness” and “Dirt-Cheap Survival Retreat: One Man’s Solution”  and a Katadyn Siphon Water Filter courtesy of Mayflower Trading Company.  A total prize value of $107.

Contest ends on June 5 2012.

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. SurvivorDan says:

    As an old grunt who meandered in jungles, no one has to tell me about the danger of infections. Especially from injuries to or prolonged excessively wet feet. Though I do appreciate Denise’s reminder.
    We take our medical care with our current access to super anti-biotics etc. for granted. In the event of TEOTWAWKI, one little splinter, followed by infection can bring down the mightiest survivalist in short order.

  2. JP in MT says:

    This article is an example of what I was talking about in my response to the “Get medical training now or die later!” article.

    None of the items mentioned above are very expensive, none of the procedures overly complicated. A lot of it is common sense.

    Yet thousands run to the emergency room or urgent care clinic for some of the most minor things or wait, do nothing, until is it a major issue. Our medical issues would be best taken care of when they are small, instead of waiting for them to flare up and become major, or run to the doctor with every sniffle.

    • Excellently stated. An extremely high percentage of health issues can be averted by taking some basic steps. That and being in overall good health to begin with.

  3. Lawrence Roberge says:

    Interesting, OK, but NAME the herb for the intestinal problems. You use a general term, but do not name specifics. We need DETAILS here-that is the information exchange that draws people here!

    Please supply the name of the herb and the means to use and dosage.

    thank you.


    • sw't tater says:

      Lawrence, I DID name the herb…everlasting…ie Rabbit tobacco. to make a tea … This is the recipe…I use one ounce of whole herb and 16 ounces of water. steep in very hot water for 15 min, may re-heat on stove top again if you want to get all the goodies out of it…and steep an additional 10 min. USE ONLY one ounce or the brew per day.Do not use the microwave to heat or reheat It can be used hot or cold…this herb has lots of enzymes…by putting in the name rabbit tobacco you can pull up a southern herbalist site with more info on use and historical uses. It works very good as a smoke when rolled like regular tobacco my dh says it works as fast as his albuterol inhailer for asthma attack…

  4. Desert Fox says:

    I have used the lowly plantain weed to make a poultice (either pound it or chew it!) and place in on a wound to draw an infection. It works well on bee stings or an absess tooth too! (Sorry, don’t know how to put a picture here!) 😉

    Check your surroundings and become familiar with the weeds that grow there. Even in the cities, you can find medicinal weeds. I was able to get some good information on medicinal plants launched from the Johnny’s Seeds site.

  5. tommy2rs says:

    Might look at plantain herb also. It grows all over the US and has natural antiseptic, anti-inflammatory properties. When I have a bug bite I pick a leaf out of my yard and rub it on the spot and it relieves the itch. It makes a good drawing poultice too. Just chew a wad up and pack it on the spot where it’s needed. Of course you can make always a salve and put it in a lip balm container and have it handy year round. Better info and recipes at the following location:

    There’s also medical honey for treating infected wounds. No you can’t use the junk on the shelf at Walmart. Most of that has been so filtered it’s not honey, just sweet goo. Read about medical honey here:

  6. Okay, my husbands family would bruise cabbage leaves to put on boils. They also used bread dipped in milk as a drawing poltice. The cabbage is less messy.

    • farmmomwannabe says:

      Ellen, My grandmother, mother, and now I, have treated infections that did not respond to OTC meds with a bit of boiled milk that we dip a small piece of bread in. Just place the slightly cooled milk-soaked bread on the infected area and bandage it in place. I often will squeeze most of the milk out, then hold in place with criss-crossed bandaids and leave overnight. Wash off in the morning, repeat if needed.

      • farmmomwannabe says:

        I never heard of cabbage leaves, we’ll have to try that, thank you for the idea!

        • farmmomwannabe says:

          Oops, sorry, I never heard of USING cabbage leaves in this way. I should read before hitting “submit”.

  7. There was a show on ancient medicine and the Egyptians used raw honey to keep a wound from getting infected , they went so far as to make a teat with modern people . It did work but by all accounts of the test subjects was miserable to have against their skin as it itched constantly . It took a long time and the wound actually got uglier before it got better ……but it did . There is also a recipe for making your own penicillin .

  8. Lee Tx. says:

    Denis H, I understood all your points except using sugar, since bacteria loves sugar, how does using it in an infection help rid the infection?

  9. sw"t tater says:

    I worked in as a nurse in a nursing home a long time ago. When we got a patient in that had decubitus/ pressure sores because of poor care or nutrition, The protocol that ” our Doctors “used was Betadyne, sugar and triple antibiotic ointment. It usually worked fairly well… The sugar was supposed to help the with the actual debridement…(removal of the old, dead tissue) in the wound… that’s where I got the sugar from, ..and I used natural raw honey(not the store bought goo), for the antibiotic effect. I don’t buy anything but natural, local, honey . Hope this helps clarify… Denuise H

  10. sw"t tater says:

    I worked in as a nurse in a nursing home a long time ago. When we got a patient in that had decubitus/ pressure sores because of poor care or nutrition, The protocol that ” our Doctors “used was Betadyne, sugar and triple antibiotic ointment. It usually worked fairly well… The sugar was supposed to help the with the actual debridement…(removal of the old, dead tissue) in the wound… that’s where I got the sugar from, ..and I used natural raw honey(not the store bought goo), for the antibiotic effect. I don’t buy anything but natural, local, honey . Hope this helps clarify… Denise H

  11. Oil of melaleuca (tea tree oil) is highly antiseptic and has been used to treat diabetic gangrene prior to the discovery of penicillin. For disinfecting wounds and caring for hospital facilities use Detol solutions. Detol also helps remove the smell, when you are washing areas that dead bodies occupied.

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