Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hey Docs,

I have a cut I got on my hand and it was on a fishing trip and I have been treating it with hydrogen peroxide for ten days now but it still seems red and won't close over. Is it infected? What should I do? I do not have any other medical problems.


Hello and thanks for your question. Doc1 here. Wound care. Simple. Really, it is, but with the MRSA ("flesh eating bacteria") and the Listeria outbreaks everyone is all about antiseptics and hand washing and wound cleansing and in this particular case you are a victim of some overzealous wound care. 

First of all, take a look at this link HERE, as you can see, after that initial use of Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) you are actually preventing healing of the wound because it is toxic to the new skin cells forming to heal the wound. It kills the bacteria, it kills the good cells. Use it once on initial injury then put it aside. 

Second of all, if your tetanus booster is not up to date (within ten years) then you need to get one. 

Third of all, and this is for other readers more than you... Notice what else is mentioned in the link..... The recommendation of wound cleansing with tap water. This is what we do in the ER too for all but the most contaminated and complex wounds.... Yes, I'm talking about wounds that we are going to suture (sew).... The key is irrigation under pressure and the method is to use a large syringe with an 18 gauge splash guard or similar and to really blast out the laceration. 

This is the key to decontaminating superficial wounds, NOT soaking in betadine, NOT scrubbing, and not Hydrogen Peroxide (though mixed with water it IS great to dissolve blood clots out of matted hair). 

Hope this helps! Stop the H2O2 and this should heal right up. 



DOC2 said...

Doc2 here. Doc1 is spot-on with that analysis and recommendation.

As the healing process continues, please pay particular attention to any spread of the redness (erythema) away from the local site of the wound and the presence of any red lines up the wrist and arm. if you have this, go see your doctor and kill that cellulitis.

DOC 3 said...

Only one thing to add. Regarding triple antibiotics, many people are sensitive and develop a local reaction to neomycin (Neo in neosporin).
Use polysporin or an ointment without neomycin if you start to see redness in case this is a reaction.