Avoiding Infection

Sneezy

Sneezy

 

When you're wounded or sick, your body goes into rally mode to heal you. If you get cut through surgery or injury, as much as possible, you want to avoid an infection as this destroys the healthy tissue around your original injury. Infection can also be systemic, or throughout your whole body, as with the 'flu. The suggestions here for cuts, wounds and surgery will also help for full body yuck. 

The Four Stages of Wound Healing a cut or incision

There are four stages to wound healing, and now you'll know what happens when you cut yourself. The best thing is that before you realize you've sliced off the tip of your finger, your body is already in action. 

1. The first is the hemostasis stage, in which the body stops the initial bleeding. The damaged blood vessels constrict, little pieces of blood cells called platelet plugs form and clog the inside of the blood vessels, and finally the blood coagulates and thickens until the flow of blood has stopped.

2. Next is the inflammatory stage, which lasts for a few days. During this time, there can be redness, heat, and swelling around the wound as blood vessels constrict to control bleeding. Specialized white blood cells clean the wound of bacteria to prevent infection.

3. The proliferative stage lasts about three weeks, but it can take longer depending on the severity of the wound and whether or not there is an infection. In this stage a matrix of new skin cells and blood vessels form. Specialized cells called fibroblasts generate collagen to fill the wound, making a framework for the new tissues to build on and form your scar. Capillaries (tiny blood vessels) supply the new cells with nutrients and oxygen and support collagen production. The increased blood supply gives the scar its initial bright-pink color.

4. The remodeling stage can last up to two years—yes, two years to finalize a scar! Collagen continues to form, becoming more organized to increase the robustness of the resultant scar. During this stage the density of the blood vessels diminishes and the scar gradually loses color. The shape of the wound may change as the collagen restructures, and once this stage is complete, the area will have 70 to 80 percent of the strength of the original tissue. Quite amazing!

Signs of infection

  • general feelings of malaise
  • fever
  • pus
  • swelling
  • red streaks radiating from the wound (see the doctor)
  • heat at the incision site
  • pain (continual or increased)

Any deterioration of your whole self when ill or injured means you need to help out your inner natural healer. The following are suggestions that I use regularly and touch wood, no antibiotics or nasty infections for years. In addition to the remedies below, make sure to activate your Lymphatic System. You can do this in a variety of ways either with Love Your Lymph Moves, bouncing on a trampoline (rebounder) and dry skin brushing. 

Colloidal Silver

Colloidal silver is an antibacterial that can keep infections from occurring. Researchers found that colloidal silver significantly reduces the formation and spread of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria [1]. 

I swear by colloidal silver. It doesn't sting and it doesn't taste bad. I have a large bottle which I keep under the sink and use to refill my two smaller spray bottles.

To help reduce the chance of infection on a cut or wound, lightly spray your clean wound three to five times a day, or as often as your bandages are being changed. If you have a mouth injury or threatening tooth abscess, it is safe to spray inside your mouth, directly on the area. If I am battling a 'flu, I will either generously spray in my mouth or take a couple of teaspoons of the liquid. 

Great for any cuts, grazes, bug bites, scratches, sore spots, raw paws, eczema, acne... you get it. Everything. 

Probiotic Supplements

If you have an infection, you need friendly bacteria even more than when your immune system is not being challenged.

With an infection, a doctor will most likely prescribe antibiotics, which kill all bacteria, good and bad. If you're taking friendly, supplemental probiotics, they will be wiped out by the drugs. But you still want to flood your body with the good guys in between the doses of antibiotics. This may seem like a waste of probiotics, but look at it another way. Your general health is already under par if you're fighting an infection. 

Suppose you take your antibiotic at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., and the doses destroy all bacteria in your body. But sometimes the antibiotic doesn’t kill all of the dangerous bugs, as they have become antibiotic resistant (see my post on Probiotics for more info). Because your friendly bacteria have also been destroyed, you’re wide open for the opportunistic baddies to get even stronger. But let’s say that two hours after your antibiotic, you flood your system with the good guys by taking a high-potency probiotic supplement. You now have friendly bacteria taking care of your body for the next ten hours, until you take your next antibiotic. You stand a greater chance of healing faster when you have the good guys in your body.

I recommend that two hours after you take the antibiotic as prescribed by your doctor, take a high-potency probiotic, meaning it has multiple pro-bio strains and lots of them. Then I would take another one midday and another before bed. It would look like this: 

  • 7 a.m. - antibiotic
  • 9 a.m. - probiotic
  • 2 p.m. - probiotic
  • 7 p.m. - antibiotic
  • 9 p.m. - probiotic 

If I am travelling or needing to be on the go, I use a Jarrow formula that is stable at room temperature. I have it in my purse rather than needing to be refrigerated. I take the Jarrow EPS formula as it contains eight beneficial, clinically documented strains—at 25 billion viable bacteria cells per capsule. It's powerful stuff. Here it is in a larger size for better value. 

Make sure to finish the full course of your antibiotics. When you have completed, continue to take the high potency probiotic three times a day for at least the next month. After that you can start to drop it down to twice a day so long as you feel healthy and your digestion is working well. 

Garlic: The Natural Anti-Bacterial

Garlic has been celebrated as a healing agent for centuries. Current research into garlic’s beneficial impact on immunity found that it stimulates certain cell types in the immune system such as macrophages, lymphocytes, natural killer cells, dendritic cells, and eosinophils. Garlic has anti-inflammatory properties and stimulates the beneficial bacteria in the colon, which further assists immunity [2].

Scientists have found that raw garlic juice is effective against many common pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria, even against strains that have become resistant to antibiotics. Garlic also prevents the bad bacteria from producing toxins that can damage health [3].

The beneficial properties of garlic come from the thiosulfinates. When crushing or cutting a clove of garlic, an odorless amino acid called alliin is metabolized by the enzyme allinase. This yields allicin and other thiosulfinates, which give garlic its characteristic smell and its superpowers. When the thiosulfinates are removed from the garlic in processing, as found in garlic pills, the antimicrobial activity of garlic is completely obliterated. In other words, to use it medicinally, you have to take garlic fresh and raw.

Cut, chop, or crush the garlic clove and leave it to the side for about twenty minutes before eating. This allows the enzymes to work and produce the allicin and thiosulfinates. To incorporate raw garlic into a meal, make a dressing for salad or steamed vegetables. Otherwise stir it in to a stir-fry or soup after you've turned off the heat.

If I am under the weather, I'll take garlic like a pill. Slice one clove of garlic into small pieces, wait twenty minutes and swallow with water as you would a vitamin. Have it with a meal or snack to avoid upsetting your stomach.

You can sometimes smell garlic coming out of your skin in the beginning. To reduce it, consume plenty of chlorophyll, found in green vegetables, or chew a sprig of parsley after your meal to freshen your breath. Your body adapts quickly and it will soon pass.

Manuka Honey

One remedy you can try is Manuka honey in your bandages. Manuka honey, which comes from the Leptospermum scoparium bush (also called New Zealand Manuka), eliminates some bacteria and prevents certain other bacteria from creating a biofilm and spreading. A study in a 2014 peer-reviewed journal showed that methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is destroyed by Manuka honey. Even better, the bacteria did not become resistant to the honey, so the honey stayed effective as long as it was applied to the wound. Manuka honey has two principle antibacterial components, methylglyoxal and hydrogen peroxide. In clinical research, when the methylglyoxal was isolated and used on bacteria it was not effective in eradicating it. There is a special synergism in the Manuka honey that makes it effective [4].

The interest in honey as a healing agent is spreading amongst scientists. There are promising clinical trials for the use of honey in wounds and there are companies developing impregnated bandages as well as topical honey ointments and gels for use after surgery. Honey has been used medicinally for eons—and now that we have antibiotic-resistant bacteria, we may need to revisit this ancient wonder.

Homeopathic Remedies for Infection

If you've never used homeopathic remedies before and aren't sure how they work, see my blog post 'Homeopathy - energy medicine'. 

I emphasize two primary remedies for general infection: Hepar sulphuris calcareum (Hepar sulph) and Pyrogenium (Pyrogen). These remedies are not specific to scars per se but rather how an infection “feels” in your body. The site of the infection may be your scar but you will feel its effects throughout your body first, and you will usually sense indications of a threatening infection well before it shows up in your scar.

Hepar sulph: Typically, a person who needs this remedy will feel chilly and irritable, wants to be wrapped in a warm blanket, and may have a sensation as if they had a splinter in their throat. They hate to get cold or feel a cold draft. They may also be sweaty with a chill.

Pyrogen (Pyrogenium): This remedy can be used when the infection has taken a stronger hold and the person has a fever, red streaks, and feels sore or achy and is restless. The person’s body may smell putrid and offensive. Emotionally, they will be more weepy and self-pitying or showing signs of delirium.

Take both remedies in a 30C potency, two pills of each under the tongue every hour, or put them in your water and drink copiously. I like to take both because I do not want to wait around to see if one or the other is more indicated or will work better. You cannot hurt yourself by taking both, and it may save valuable time getting the infection under control. Take them for as long as you have the symptoms of infection, then stop. Homeopathy is very subtle, and my patients usually said something like “I know I still have the problem but I feel better in myself—lighter, stronger and happier.” Your overall vitality and energy will feel better with the appropriate remedies. Continue taking the remedies until the physical signs of infection are gone.

Endnotes

[1] R. Goggin, C. Jardeleza, P. J. Wormald, S. Vreugde, “Colloidal silver: a novel treatment for Staphylococcus aureus biofilms?” International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology 4, no. 3 (March 2014): 171–5, doi: 10.1002/alr.21259.

[2] R. Arreola, S. Quintero-Fabián, R. I. López-Roa, E. O. Flores-Gutiérrez, J. P. Reyes-Grajeda, L. Carrera-Quintanar, D. Ortuño-Sahagún, “Immunomodulation and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Garlic Compounds” Journal of Immunology Research, April 19, 2015, doi: 10.1155/2015/401630.

[3] G. P. Sivam, “Protection against Helicobacter pylori and other bacterial infections by garlic,” Journal of Nutrition 131, no. 3s (March 2001): 1106S–8S.

[4] Jing Lu, Lynne Turnbull, Catherine M. Burke, Michael Liu, Dee A. Carter, Ralf C. Schlothauer, Cynthia B. Whitchurch, Elizabeth J. Harry, “Manuka-type honeys can eradicate biofilms produced by Staphylococcus aureus strains with different biofilm-forming abilities,” PeerJ March 25, 2014, PubMed 24711974.