Healing a wound with vinegar at home
Wounds can be difficult to heal. In fact they can sometimes be downright stubborn. If the wound becomes infected with a resistant organism, it may take weeks or months for complete healing. One of the more resistant germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Over time this bacteria has become resistance to many antibiotics and disinfectants. This is most likely due to antibiotic overuse. This is becoming a dangerous trend.
I worked in home health care for many years and specialized in wound care. I found it to be very rewarding to watch a wound heal. What I found fascinating is that what could be termed as folk medicine healing was very effective. The most effective methods for wound healing was using household items such sugar, honey, Clorox or vinegar. A solution using Clorox and water could be made for pennies in comparison to the expensive Dakins solution and Vinegar with distilled water could be used instead of Acetic Acid. Vinegar contains 8% acetic acid which is its main component. I started to research this and in time was able to get physicians to get on board with me allow for alternative healing mechanisms. This was especially useful for a noncompliant population that could not afford the more expensive solutions. Studies now show that not only does vinegar solution work, it is sometimes more effective that traditional antibiotics.
What is a Pseudomonas infection?
This infection is caused by a strain of bacteria that is found commonly. The bacterium is called Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Healthy individuals can often fight off these types of infections rather easily. If you have a weakened immune system, the infection can become rather serious. It is spread by improper hand washing techniques and sometimes contaminated equipment. It is treated generally with antibiotics. Unfortunately, this bacterium, just like many others, is becoming more difficult to treat because of increasing antibiotic resistance. If wounds infected with this type of bacteria can be treated with something as simple as a vinegar solution, it will help quell additional resistance.
Numerous studies have been done in the lab showing that acetic acid was helpful in eradicating infection. Human studies however always show the most promise. During one study, seven hospitalized patients with wound infections were selected. These patients were not responding to traditional therapy for at least one week. A culture of the wound drainage was conducted and they all had Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections that were resistant to four or more antibiotics. A topical solution of 3%-5% acetic acid was applied to the wounds for 2 to 12 times with 100% success in eliminating the organism. No other antibiotics were used during the study. The most amazing outcome during that study was of a wound that was not responding to traditional antibiotic treatment for a month using a total of 15 different antibiotics. However after using 5% acetic acid irrigations and wound washes it healed. These wounds were not insignificant either. They included abscesses, post operative wounds and foot ulcers. Every single one of them responded with complete elimination of the bacteria. It was concluded that “3% acetic acid is nontoxic, inexpensive and efficient topical agent for effective elimination of P. aeruginosa from superficial infection site. It is the best alternative when infection is caused by multiple antibiotic resistant strains and where there is shortage of therapeutic options.” It is good to know that there is scientific proof to back up what I learned decades ago.
Wound healing at home
So what if you have a wound at home and you don’t have a clue if it is infected, or if it is what it is infected with? No problem. Vinegar is one of those classic “does no harm” treatments. More and more doctors and specifically dermatologists and surgeons are relying on the miracle of vinegar.
Here is a classic wound care treatment plan.
• Cleanse the site with one tablespoon of white vinegar in one pint of distilled water. Allow the solution to remain on the site as a “soak” for 10-15 minutes.
• Dry the area and apply a small amount Vaseline or wound ointment.
• Place a dressing or band-aid over the wound.
• Repeat this process daily.
Simple enough right? Sometimes simple truly is better.
Take away message
Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional if you have a non healing wound. Remember wound healing, as in everything, is a very individual process. Several factors can interfere with healing such as age, stress, medications, nutrition and smoking. Educating yourself on the influence of these factors may improve your wound’s healing