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Ask Buck

Sugar for Open Wounds?

I once heard that pouring granulated sugar into a deep, bloody wound would aid in clotting–but I've always heard that putting anything into an open would is bad.

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Question:

I once heard that pouring granulated sugar into a deep, bloody wound would aid in clotting–but I’ve always heard that putting anything into an open would is bad. Set me straight, Buck!

Submitted by – “Curious,” Chattanooga, TN

Answer:

It is unlikely pouring sugar in a wound will do much for clotting. You’ll be better off applying direct pressure. But for centuries, sugar (and honey) has been poured into wounds to fight infection. Bacteria cannot grow on sugar. That’s why you can put a cup of sugar on a shelf for years and it never goes bad. Bacteria in a wound will be deactivated by the sweet stuff.

Although the technique is still used in a few remote places, I recommend giving the wound a good cleaning, covering it with a sterile dressing, and finding a doc for final closure.