How to Heal an Infection Without Antibiotics
It Can Be Done!
Sometimes an accident seems to occur in slow-motion..."did that really just happen?" you may ask yourself. When my parents' puppy ran in a quick circle around me, causing her rope to take all the top layers of skin off my ankle, it felt like that. All that happened initially was the tan skin on the back of my leg was gone, leaving a stripe whiter than my teeth...ok, major red flag! Surely I'd never seen such a thing. Well, just because there is no blood, doesn't mean a wound can't get infected! Here is the story of how I healed myself without antibiotics or 'conventional medicine'.
Like myself, you may be reading this because you did not avoid the infection, and would like to treat it without antibiotics. If you haven't heard about the downfalls of antibiotics, please see the links below for some educating information. In short, their use can lead to painful yeast overgrowth (been there!), resistant bacteria that strike worse the next time around, and usually less than effective results according to many sources sited by articles and journal entries I have read.
What Not to Do
Before I share my success, let me be clear on my evident mistakes. Aside from letting this happen, my first mistake was choosing not to cover up the site. Since I had not bled, and since I didn't have a bandage big enough, I chose to clean the cut but leave it open to get air and quickly heal. Looking back now, I would definitely advise to cover the cut, at least most of the day, until a hard scab has formed. This, along with some of the herbal treatment I advise below, may have prevented the infection in the first place!
Identifying the Infection
After several days of swabbing the area with a few drops of tea tree and coconut oils, I started to see redness and swelling in my ankle and foot below the cut. After the first day of this, the area was also hot to the touch. Putting weight on my foot was becoming nearly impossible due to the pain, and after I lie down and tried to stand up, the pain of blood rushing to the area was unbearable! I was literally hopping around and started to worry. If you see skin that is red, puffy and sore, it's probably an infection. Infection-causing bacteria like staph can cause a condition referred to as 'cellulitis' (which means skin infection; See http://www.medicinenet.com/cellulitis/article.htm#1whatis for a description) which makes skin look puffy, red and slightly shiny. I knew then I needed to take action quickly.
The next day, I spoke to a friend for advice, and went to an herb store near me (http://www.theapothecarygarden.com/) and found some very helpful items.
- First was an herbal wash called a linament. It contains alcohol, so it's best diluted with a little water before swabbing on with a cotton ball. The other ingredients include apple cider vinegar, goldenseal and other cleansing herbs.
- Next an herbal salve made of echinacea, goldenseal, honey, olive oil, beeswax and one or two other things (but not much!). This was easy to apply directly to the wound area.
In addition to these things, I found the following necessary:
- Soak with warm water and apple cider vinegar, and salt. I just dashed a liberal amount of each in my water. Using epsom salts is the way to go with this, although at first I used regular sea salt; in my opinion it's better to get started right away if another trip to the store will delay things.
- Applying the herbal treatment above to the swollen area, as well as the wound. A friend of mine who is a nurse reminded me that in order to halt infection, the whole swollen area needs to be treated as an infection, not just where the skin is broken.
- Massaging the area. In my case, I needed to massage in the direction of my knee, where I am told the nearest lymph node is located. The lymph system needs to be healthy and stimulated to assure full circulation. In a healthy system, infection has much less chance of festering and thriving.
- Elevating the foot! This allows less blood to flow to the infected area, relieving the pain and helps circulation do it's magic.
- Icing the infected area, also brought to light from my nurse friend, provides less of a breeding environment for bacteria; they like warmth! The best method is to use a bag full of ice cubes that can mold around the shape of your body. Use a paper towel or thin cloth between your skin and the ice bag to avoid pain from the cold. This worked great for me, and I left the ice on till it melted.
With the exception of one or two times, I performed this routine 2 times each day. After applying salve and massaging, I wrapped the cut itself in a loose, ventilated gauze bandage which I secured around my leg. One night, I crushed a clove of garlic and blended it with the salve to rub all over the parts of my foot that were red and swollen (I kept it up so as not to disturb the chunky spread!).
While there are many possible supplements, herbs and foods that could assist in recovery, here is what worked for me.
- Echinacea and Goldenseal tincture taken several times per day
- Garlic extract capsules
- Acidophilus supplements
- Limited proteins (not much animal proteins other than raw milk, cheese and eggs)
Success Feels Good
While it felt really bad to have that infection, and I will be more wise to avoid one in the future, I am nonetheless glad that I could successfully treat myself with natural means that do not include antibiotics. I was amazed at what volume and level of friends and associates immediately assumed I would need antibiotics to treat myself! Even people who I deemed 'more aware' of natural remedies and such were at times, appalled that I would consider not getting 'treated' by a conventional Doctor with the old standby. Antibiotics are becoming more and more undesirable and ineffective, and I'm living proof that there are alternatives in some cases. As someone who is aware of my physical self and my limitations, I felt confident that I would be able to assess if things did get to the point where I must seek intervention besides my own. The time is here when people must consider antibiotic and many other conventional treatments as a last resort, and raise the bar on where that boundary lies.