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My Experience With Burns (and how to tend them naturally)

Updated: Feb 14

Painfully, I peeled my nylon sock away from my leg. Adhering to the sock were several layers of melted skin, exposing a repulsive, raw wound on my calf. “Not again!” I thought. This was the second time I have been burned to this degree. “Full thickness” is what they called it, “It stopped right at the bone.” For me, this meant a year of treatment would be needed to completely heal this burn.

 

It’s important to mention that a tragic car accident has left me paralyzed. Though I am fortunate to be able to feel certain things in my legs, the sensation of temperature is not one of them, especially with a nylon sock as a barrier. Nylon is a material that uniquely traps heat while not burning. People will often wear nylon socks as extra insulation and protection when out in the elements for extended periods of time. I wore them as “compression socks” to improve my blood pressure and circulation.

 

My first "full thickness" burn occurred a couple years prior to this new one, when I rested my leg on a hot power box located on the MacBook charging cable. Evidently, my cord had malfunctioned as its temperature reached a degree that baked the part of my leg that touched nearby. After revealing a blister that had already emerged, popped and continued to cook further, I spent the rest of the evening in the ER. From there, I was off to The University of Michigan’s burn center where I would have to be treated several times a week.

 

“Never forget a burn must heal from the inside out” the specialist advised. “Your body will likely create a healthy layer of skin, concealing rotten flesh underneath.” The danger of this is that superficially, your burn looks healed. Underneath however, is the dead flesh breeding infection. To prevent this, medical experts use a technique called, “cauterization” to remove harmful tissue. This process often involves 3 types of methods:

 

1. Electrocauterization - “Before electrocauterization, a medical professional will place a grounding pad on your body, typically on your thigh. The pad will protect you from the effects of the electricity. During the procedure, a healthcare professional will use a pencil-like instrument called a probe. An electric current travels through the probe. When they apply the instrument to your tissue, the electricity heats and burns the skin.” (healthline.com)

2. Chemical cauterization - “During the process, a medical professional will dip a small, pointed wooden stick into one of these chemicals. Next, they’ll transfer a small amount onto your wound. This will destroy the skin on contact. Since excess chemicals might drip onto healthy skin, it’s important to have this procedure done by a trained professional.” (healthline.com)

3. Simply to cut off the dead with manual medical tools.

 

Yes, even considering the paralysis, the cauterization of a wound is still excruciating. Sometimes there’s no escaping the pain - especially in a survival situation. With my first burn, my doctor used the chemical cauterization technique. For over a year, I frequented the burn unit  to have my wound cauterized and healed from the inside out. Unfortunately for me, this was only the first time I’d sustain a burn to this magnitude.

 

Two years later: “I NEED to stretch my legs!” The long car trip I was on prompted me to repeat that phrase for nearly an hour. My husband assured me that we were stopping off to rest and eat our lunches shortly.  With several feet of snow outside I opted to eat my lunch in my passenger’s seat while I “stretched out” by lifting my legs in the dashboard.

 

The problem with my legs in the dashboard is that we’ve had the defrost on in the car for hours. The nylon socks transferred heat, but the material itself was not burning, so I was not exposed to any physical signs of burning. As a result, 15 minutes of full blast hot air left my leg completely air-fried. Painfully, I peeled my nylon sock away from my leg. Adhering to the sock were several layers of melted skin, exposing a repulsive, raw wound on my calf. “Not again!” I thought. 

 

If ever you get a burn, the first thing you should always do is put it under cold water. This is because even if you remove the heat from your body, your body still continues to burn. Immediately upon noticing the blister, I applied cold water.

 

For this burn, I chose to treat it in a slightly different manner. I met with a specialist that was local to my new home located in a more remote location. This doctor took a more alternative approach to healing my wound. Surprisingly, the method he used healed my burn in nearly half the time it took my first one (of the same degree).

 

First, saline solution was applied to clean the damaged area. This exposed all of the dead skin that needed to be cauterized. He asked me the method of cauterization I wanted to use. This office only had two options:

 

1.        Chemical cauterization

2.        Manual cutting

 

“I can’t feel soft touch very well. If a chemical were to drip on my skin, I might not feel the drop. This risks chemically burning my good skin (a problem that I encountered when treating the first burn). I don’t want to deal two burns. Let’s just cut it out”

 

A few excruciating minutes later, I was expecting the standard silvadene cream that is often given with burns. Instead, a familiar, smooth, sticky substance began to soothe the pain. “What is that?” I asked. “Honey. Well, it’s ‘medihoney’ but there’s no difference than the honey here and the honey from the hive.” He continued, “in comparison to other methods of healing, honey is an easily accessible, cheaper and just as effective of a healing agent when used properly. Make sure you eat lots of protein and keep good circulation going to the wound”

 

According to PubMed Central, “Honey has anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can be used as a wound dressing to promote rapid and improved healing. These effects are due to honey's anti-bacterial action, secondary to its high acidity, osmotic effect, anti-oxidant content and hydrogen peroxide content.”

 

Eight months later, as opposed to the year it took my first burn to heal, my second burn was healed. Honey also helps with scarring so my scar isn’t bad considering the damage that was done. This experience, along with the other powerful uses of honey, has inspired me to try beekeeping on our homestead. Along with countless health benefits when ingested, honey is a wonderful salve for soothing and healing wounds. To me, an endless supply of honey is liquid gold.

**Warning** some viewers may find the following images graphic:




Sources: PubMedCentral



 

About Me:

Hello, my name is Shannon. I joined FireKeepers International as a volunteer in 2023. In

2014, I began the Master Herbalist program at Trinity School of Natural Health and

completed the program in September of 2017. Since then, my main studies have been

Biblical truths, astronomy and the Hebrew language. I am a born and raised

“Michigander,” currently living in one of Northern Michigan’s beautiful national forests.

When I’m not keeping busy with the homestead, you can find me out in nature or

hibernating in my cabin.



 


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Thank you! Do you have any experience with keloids?

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