OUTDOOR BASICS

Sugar for Wounds for Healing: Never Worry About Injuries Again!

Sugar
Jerry Mueller
Written by Jerry Mueller

It is common to get wounds and scrapes when you are outdoors. After all, when you are out there, hiking and camping, there is a great chance that you might accidentally end up injuring yourself. Scrapes from bushes, and small cuts from slipping and falling are very common occurrences; they are just a part of spending time out in the wild, and pretty much every camper or hiker accepts that.

You need to take care of the injuries though, and make sure they heal properly. When you are out enjoying nature, it is fitting that you should use natural means to heal yourself. After all, natural is indeed best as it has no harmful effects. Have you ever heard of applying sugar for wounds for healing? Because if you haven’t, you are missing out on a wonderful treatment option. See our tips on hiking safety to learn more basic protection for you and your family.

Scrapes from bushes on hand

Those who go on about sugar always being bad for you are very, very wrong. Sure, sugar is bad for you if you eat too much of it, but when applied to wounds, it is actually very good and can come in handy when you don’t have the other means to take care of a wound.

When you are traveling, it is important to carry less stuff and make sure your goods are lightweight. In this regard, you can’t do better than carrying sugar to heal your wounds and cuts. Chances are, you will be carrying sugar anyway to make tea, coffee or for your other food. So it’s a win-win situation when it comes to looking out for your health.

What kind of Wounds Will Sugar Work on?

There is good news for all hikers, campers and people who spent a lot of time outdoors. Sugar works very well on all kinds of wounds. If you were thinking that you can only heal tiny scrapes and smallcuts through this method, we are here to correct your notion. Sugar works great even on large wounds and injuries. In fact, the method is so effective that doctors use it for post-operative wounds and even for bed sores.

If you get any sort of injury in which your skin breaks and there is a chance of an infection, you should use this method. In worse cases, if the wound is already infected, the sugar-applying method still works wonders.

A medical container of sugar

How does Sugar work?

Wherever there is an unclean wound, there are chances that it will become infected. Bacteria need water to survive. Sugar draws water from a wound. When the wound becomes dry, bacteria cannot survive and hence the wound becomes disinfected and its healing process takes place a lot faster. Sugar also draws macrophages into the wound site, which are specialized cells that fight bacteria and other disease-causing agents.

Applying sugar for wounds for healing

This method is actually backed by research. It has been in practice for several years, particularly in Africa, and is now being tried by doctors all over the world. A study conducted by Moses Murandu, who is a lecturer in Wolverhampton University in Africa showed that granulated sugar can help in the healing of serious wounds like bed sores, and even in cases of amputation wounds.

Other studies have also been conducted in this regard, and although more research is needed before conclusive results are announced, doctors who have prescribed this form of treatment to their patients speak about it very favorably.

What do you Need?

If you are going to apply sugar to heal your wounds, you need to have the following things with you:

  • Sugar (of course!)
  • Soap and clean water
  • If you have pyodine solution, that is even better, but it is not a necessity.
  • A gauze or bandage
  • Tape, to secure the bandage in place

You can use other things too, if you are carrying them. Honey works great along with sugar, and makes a better healing cover for a wound. Glycerin is another item which can be used along with sugar and then applied on wounds.

How to Heal your Wounds with Sugar

Now that you know that sugar works, here are the steps that you need to follow in order to treat your wounds effectively:

Step 1: First of all, you need to clean your wound. Take some clean water and pour it gently over your wound till the dirt and debris has been washed away. Next, take soap and wash your wound with it thoroughly, making sure that it becomes completely clean. It is imperative that no impurity is left within the wound. If any foreign body got inside, remove it carefully.

Step 2: Dry the wound by patting it with a clean, soft cloth. Do not rub at the wound or you might cause further damage. Use gentle dabbing motions to dry your wound. Ensure that no moisture is left before you apply the sugar.

Step 3: Observe the wound to ensure that it is not bleeding. Then, it is time to apply sugar. There are different ways to do this.

  • If the wound is not very deep, or you are not carrying any honey, you can directly pour the sugar granules on it. You need to make sure that the sugar actually gets inside the wound.
  • If the wound is bigger, or deeper, or you feel like the sugar will not stay in place and will fall out, you can mix the sugar with honey to make a paste. You can then apply this paste to the injury site. In this case the sugar will stay within the wound and continue to have its effect for a long time.
  • If you have glycerin at hand, you can also mix two tablespoons of sugar with equal amount of glycerin, and make a thick paste. You can then apply it on the wound.

Step 4: Now that your wound is covered, wrap a bandage around it and secure it with tape. The bandage will help in holding the sugar in the wound and will also prevent your wound from becoming dirty or further damaged. Just take care that the bandage is applied in a loose manner and is not too tight. Very tightly bound wounds can actually have decreased blood flow to the site, which can result in slow healing.

Clean wound on arm

If you only have a small linear wound and it is not gaping open, you do not necessarily need to bandage it. Also, puncture wounds do best if they are left open. For wounds which are not covered, you have to take extra care that they do not become dirty or contaminated.

Step 5: You need to change this bandage daily. To remove it, rip the bandage off with a swift movement rather than pulling it off slowly. When you remove the bandage in one rapid motion, the dead cells around the wound will be removed too, which will help in quicker wound healing.Apply the sugar paste, or granulated sugar again, and then redo the bandage.

Step 6: Keep repeating this process daily until the wound has healed. Complete healing might take some time, depending on the wound size and depth, but you will notice its effects within a few hours. You will see that the pain, swelling and throbbing will greatly decrease soon after applying the sugar.

Injured hand with bandage

Pros and Cons of Using Sugar for Wound Healing

Here are the benefits you can gain from using sugar on your wounds. The experience may differ from person to benefits, but the benefits are real:

  • If you are camping, or hiking, it is highly likely that you will be carrying sugar with you. In this way, you do not have to carry any special material or medicine to heal your wound.
  • It is a lightweight option.
  • Packing sugar is easy. You can carry it in small plastic bags or buy pre-packaged sugar sachets like they have in diners.
  • Sugar is a natural item and hence it is very unlikely that you will have an allergic reaction to it.
  • Sugar actually works very well in healing wounds of all kinds and severity.
  • It also works great on already infected wounds, because it reduces the survival of bacteria.
  • It can work on weeping wounds as well as it draws water away from the wound.
  • You will experience a decrease in pain and swelling soon after applying sugar.
  • Using this method for wound healing is very easy and simple.
  • It is a quick method, so you will save on time.
  • It is also cheap to carry sugar with you, rather than buying special creams and ointments for wound healing.
  • Both sugar and honey help in contracting the wound, thus making it close faster.

Just like pretty much anything on earth, using this method for wound healing has its own set of cons as well, although admittedly, they are quite few, but none of them is a serious drawback. It’s still best to be aware of them:

  • If you carry sugar in Ziploc bags, the granules can get stuck in the closing part and hence the bag can become stuck and difficult to open.
  • You have to be carrying bandage with you to cover the injury otherwise the sugar might fall out of the wound.
  • The bandage can stick to the sugar in the wound, particularly if you use a sugar-honey mixture. This will make it difficult to remove the bandage, and you have to do it in a sharp, ripping movement. This can be a little painful, and people often find the experience uncomfortable. If you want to make this process easier, you should coat the inside of the bandage with Vaseline or petroleum jelly. However, this means that you also need to carry Petroleum jelly with you, which will add to the weight and bulk of your backpack.
  • Sugar can attract flies to the wound site, particularly if you are hiking in tropical season, or humid weather conditions. Therefore, you have to be really careful and make sure that no flies get anywhere near your wound. Everyone knows that flies carry all sorts of germs and you don’t want your injury site to be exposed to them.
  • Sugar might cause itching in some people.
  • If you are using honey along with sugar in your wound, the chances of flies being attracted to it are even higher. Honey can also worsen a yeast infection so you need to be certain that you are not suffering from that before you apply honey.

A Word of Caution

When you are pouring sugar in your wound, always keep in mind that it needs to be in high quantity to have an effect. Concentrated sugar can help in wound healing while low amounts might actually worsen the condition because it will not be able to draw water out of the injury site.

See also: Hiking Safety: Preparedness at its Highest Elevation

Make sure that the would site is completely coated in sugar before you apply the bandage.

Wrap Up

Packing stuff for traveling is not easy, as any hiker will tell you. You need to pack a huge amount of supplies in very limited space, and make sure that the weight of the backpack is not too much. Add in the hassle of packing medicines and ointments and the packing can get even more tedious. At least with this remedy in hand, you can cut down on the things you need to pack!

Backpacking first aid

Sugar, when eaten, is definitely bad for you; everyone knows that. But when applied to wounds and injuries, sugar can be really amazing. When you are out in the wild having a day full of adventure, it is inevitable that you will get some cut, injury or wound.

Only now there is nothing to worry about, because you know exactly what to do to heal yourself and get back in perfect shape! You don’t even have to cut your trip short, as long as the wound is not a serious one. For the best hiking and camping first aid kit, don’t forget to read our article on this topic.

Have you ever applied sugar to your wounds and seen the results for yourself? If not, it is something you must try. And if you have, do let us know how it worked out for you!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jerry Mueller

Jerry Mueller

Jerry ‘Boy Scout’ Mueller spends 99% of his time camping or teaching others how to live in the wild. He became an Eagle Scout which is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting division when he was 17 and after that he still lives the scout life. Jerry always plans neatly every trip, takes leadership very seriously and if you listen to his tips and stories, you can learn tons of useful things.