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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle (injury) Maintenance

  • CrankyCarrot

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    Joined Travelfish
    24th March, 2010
    Location Thailand
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    Uh, so I stacked it yesterday and now my knee is all skinned and bleeding and stuff. It's about a 4x5cm graze - not too serious I think. I have the blue alcohol solution for cleaning the wound, some burn cream which may not be of use, and I've been buying the large plasters to cover it. Right now I'm airing it out.

    What's the best way to treat this? I hear if a wound has yellow stuff coming out, it's infected - true? How often should I change the plaster and can I still go swimming, with or without a waterproof patch on?

    Also, this is the second wound I've sustained this week. The first is what they call a Thailand Tattoo - one of those nasty burn marks you get from your calf coming into contact with a scorching hot exhaust pipe on a motorbike - because Thai manufacturing regulators are too fn stupid to make the guard attachment mandatory on all bikes.

    I've been cleaning that with the same blue liquid mentioned above, and applying a burn cream called "Dermazin." Also been patching it daily. I want to go swimming in pools and at beaches without getting that infected either, so any tips there?

    Don't?

    The waterproof plasters are relatively expensive - 150 thb for 5. I'm thinking it might be cheaper to just buy electrical tape and affix 7/11 bags to the wounds when I shower or go swimming.

    Advice please.

    #1 Posted: 19/9/2010 - 12:43

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  • busylizzy

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    Ouch, Cranky! :-(
    I can't really offer sound medical advice, but I CAN offer sympathy. This warrants more sympathy than the mancold.

    How did it happen - get distracted by the 'scenery'?

    OK -one piece of advice. Keep it clean. Not sure if it matters whether or not it gets wet - it might help keep it clean/. Just let it dry out a bit before putting a bandage back on.

    The knee is just a bad graze, right? How bad are the burns? I think I would be more worried about that. My sister ended up with a massive burn on her calf when she canned off her bike in Bali and it fell on her leg. Nasty stuff.

    #2 Posted: 19/9/2010 - 13:29

  • CrankyCarrot

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    @Lizzy "

    "How did it happen - get distracted by the 'scenery'?"

    Cops possibly checking for helmets and fining people, "forgot" to wear mine so I pulled over quickly into a nearby diner. A little too quickly. I think the tyres on the bike were a bit to blame - no decent traction.

    It proved an economical decision - avoid a 300 baht fine, spend 200 thb on bandages.

    I appreciate the sympathy. That's 30% of my reason for posting.

    #3 Posted: 19/9/2010 - 13:44

  • somsai

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location United States
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    Go to a clinic or hospital and watch them clean it then do the same until it's healed. Medical care is extremely cheap.

    I've always soaked in warm water until everything loosens up washes off , drops of hydrogen peroxide until all dead stuff is lifted off and bubbles stop, rinse with very clean water, some of that anti biotic cream junk, cover and keep clean, repeat daily.

    Daily cleaning is important, you want to get all the crusty junk gone.

    #4 Posted: 19/9/2010 - 23:48

  • neosho

    Joined Travelfish
    13th August, 2008
    Posts: 386

    Sorry to hear about the accident. Road rash can be unpleasant. :) You can buy betadine here in a little yellow bottle for cleaning. It's what a surgeon will use before he cuts you open. Or they have some pyrad-violet that's a topical anti-septic. One will stain you yellow the other stains purple. LOL There's all sorts of creams too. Like Lizzy, I think I would be more careful about the burn. Somsai, I don't agree with taking the scab off everyday. It's your bodys natural bandage to protect the wound. Usually when something scabs over I quit using a bandage unless it's quite sore. That's just what I do anyway. There is a brand of bandaid here called Neoplast. The tape is stronger than duct tape. Stays on under water and such. But it also likes to take the first layer of skin with it when you remove it. :) I don't recommend it. Watch it for infection and like Somsai says, the clinics are cheap. Good luck Cranky

    #5 Posted: 20/9/2010 - 07:24

  • savorygal

    Joined Travelfish
    16th July, 2010
    Posts: 135

    oh, dear. I too offer sympathy, but as a certified wound care nurse I can offer some advice as well.

    signs & symptoms of infection: firm, bright red skin surrounding the wound. fever. really foul smelling drainage. Go to the hospital immediately if you have any of the above symptoms. (keep in mind some redness & warmth is expected)
    The yellow stuff is cellular debris & while not harmful, will delay closure if you don't keep the wounds clean.
    Both the "road rash" & burn should be cleansed daily. Try not to let a scab form. Wounds heal more quickly in a moderately moist environment. And cells have to work harder when there is a scab.Here's what I would do: clean daily with soap & water. pat dry. Cover with some sort of petrolatum based ointment. Does not have to be anitbiotic. I recommend plain vaseline to my patients. chemicals such as betadine ( the brown stuff) & gentian violet ( the purple stuff) do kill bacteria but also kill the new cells that are working hard to heal you. If you feel you must use an antiseptic cleanser, dilute it with equal parts water & make sure you rinse it off completely before applying the dressing.
    Cover with a clean dry dressing. gauze is just fine. secure with tape.
    Water is ok as long as you are sure it is clean water. public swimming pools are a no-no. ( no one wants to swim with someone who has an open wound)

    As long as you are healthy and you keep the wound clean & protected you should heal just fine.

    good luck and let us know how you do.

    suzanne

    #6 Posted: 20/9/2010 - 08:24

  • savorygal

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 135

    PS you do not need to cover when showering.

    #7 Posted: 20/9/2010 - 08:26

  • caseyprich

    Joined Travelfish
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    had a thrash myself a few years back - as noted above - and the sweet sting of a salt water swim is always a way to let you know that the bacteria is going the way of the dodo. keep the bandage clean but make sure you air it out as well, always bandaged doesn't help if the wound is so big that you keep tearing the thing open whenever you change it.

    #8 Posted: 20/9/2010 - 12:05

  • eastwest

    Joined Travelfish
    17th December, 2009
    Posts: 772

    I don't know if my input helps but would certainly appreciate the opinion of savorygal.

    I live in Cambodia and also had an open wound recently.At the hospital they gave me some deep purple liquid. After you thoroughly had cleaned (and dried) the wound you would apply a thin layer. I think it's both an antiseptic and plaster. The stuff dries after a few hours and then it becomes some sort of plastic. At least water will run of if you don't make it very wet and it remains flexible. Great for showers but not good enough for swimming.
    It will wear off in time. Only downside is that it leaves purple stains when not dried enough on your clothes.

    Perhaps check for this and perhaps savorygal has an opinion on this?

    #9 Posted: 20/9/2010 - 18:23

  • savorygal

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 135

    @ EW
    I am not familiar with that product. The purple stuff is most likely gentian violet. It is a potent antimicrobial, but it is also a possible carcinogen. The wound care community in the US has largely stopped using it because of it's links to cancer. Personally, I would steer clear of the stuff.

    Wound care in a healthy host is a pretty simple busisness. Cleanse with soapy water,(showering is best) rinse, pat dry. Keep moderately moist & protected. Repeat daily.

    #10 Posted: 20/9/2010 - 22:47

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  • neosho

    Joined Travelfish
    13th August, 2008
    Posts: 386

    Savorygal....I learned a lot from your post. Thank you.

    #11 Posted: 21/9/2010 - 08:19

  • CrankyCarrot

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    Hey guys, think I ate a bad sandwich from 7/11 yesterday and caught food poisoning. One of those 10 baht numbers. Ended up sleeping the whole day, licking my wounds etc, but I'm glad to see all the posts above. Thanks heaps.

    @caseyprich - " the sweet sting of a salt water swim is always a way to let you know that the bacteria is going the way of the dodo"

    So this means I should go swimming at the beach, right? Swimming with scabs in a pool is somewhat festy and inconsiderate, sure. The ocean is pretty big and the salt in the water kills germs, yes? Do you know what torture it is to be living on an island, chock-a-block with beautiful beaches, and not be able to go in for a paddle?

    @savorygal - You are awesome. Your detailed response was extremely helpful and I've followed your advice about keeping the wounds clean with warm, soapy water and the alcohol/burn cream at least once daily.

    "Try not to let a scab form. Wounds heal more quickly in a moderately moist environment."

    Really? Oh sh-- Some pretty thick scabs had formed by the time I'd read your post. As we speak there's some liquid (water?) coming out of the burn scab, so that's moisture, right? What now? Pick the scab off? The conventional wisdom is to not pick at scab though... If I can figure out how to put links to pics on photobucket or something, you can all enjoy my gross wound pics :)~ Or you can just friend me if you're on FB. I could use an online nurse in my arsenal. PM me if you're down.

    #12 Posted: 21/9/2010 - 13:27

  • CrankyCarrot

    Click here to learn more about CrankyCarrot
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    @Somsai - "Go to a clinic or hospital and watch them clean it then do the same until it's healed. Medical care is extremely cheap"

    I think it's probably unnecessary at this point. When you say it's cheap, how cheap is it? I'm in Phuket and to be perfectly honest I'm being a total tightwad at the moment. I've got my daily expenditure, for everything, down to 800-1000 baht. If it costs me even 300-500 baht to go to the hospital for something relatively minor, I'd think twice about it. Yes, I'm that cheap. But at least I'm honest. This is how I will be while ever my income = 0.

    "Daily cleaning is important, you want to get all the crusty junk gone."

    I have trouble distinguishing between 'crusty junk' and the scab which I'm pretty sure needs to form to stem the bleeding. There is a little tissue stuck on there from some improvised bandages I made the other day. Is that going to cause big trouble if I don't pick every last bit out?

    #13 Posted: 21/9/2010 - 13:32

  • CrankyCarrot

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    @Eastwest and Savorygal -

    "I live in Cambodia and also had an open wound recently.At the hospital they gave me some deep purple liquid. After you thoroughly had cleaned (and dried) the wound you would apply a thin layer. I think it's both an antiseptic and plaster."

    One pharmacy offered to sell me some kind of bandage spray in a can. Do you think that would work? The lady said it was waterproof and would patch it up. Could this be the same purple poisong EW found in Cambodia? I don't want to swap my scab for cancer.

    #14 Posted: 21/9/2010 - 13:34

  • CrankyCarrot

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    @ Neosho

    "There is a brand of bandaid here called Neoplast. The tape is stronger than duct tape. Stays on under water and such. But it also likes to take the first layer of skin with it when you remove it. :) I don't recommend it."

    You had me until the part about ripping off my raw flesh. Hell, I just wanna go in the water dammit. Why is it so hard to get a waterproof bandage that doesn't fall off in 2 seconds and doesn't kill when you remove it?

    "Road rash can be unpleasant"

    That's for sure. As I hauled my bike off into a parking zone there was an old Thai woman with no English giving me the cheesiest grin ever. I know it's a Thai thing and she was just being friendly but man, when I'm bleeding and you're practically laughing in my face, it takes a lot of will power to overcome the urge to punch you right in the face. Old lady or no old lady.*

    *Yeah, yeah, sabai, sabai, relax... I wouldn't really of nailed the old biddy in the chops. Lollen, lollen. How's my Thai by the way?

    #15 Posted: 21/9/2010 - 13:41

  • savorygal

    Joined Travelfish
    16th July, 2010
    Posts: 135

    Yes swimming in the ocean is a good thing. No need for waterproof dressings or dressings of any kind. Sorry if you missed a day at the beach. When you get out of the water the scab should be a little soft.( scab & "crusty junk" are the same thing & both should be removed) Try to gently remove with a washcloth. Bleeding is ok. If the scab is really well formed it may be difficult to remove without a lot of pain and a blood bath.So, If the salt water doesn't soften it sufficiently you can do this: ( which sounds crazy, but trust me, I am a nurse ;) at bedtime cut a piece of a ziploc or plastic bag big enough to cover the wound, picture frame the edges with tape ( duct tape is great ) so that it is water tight. In the morning the scab should be softer, it may be gooey, there may be yellow gak, ( that is just your body naturally debriding your wound, all ok. ) we are miraculous creatures.... wash. cover with vaseline/burn cream etc. ( no alcohol, please) and some sort of gauze. or telfa ( do they have telfa in Thailand? ) you can also just cover it with plastic wrap. seriously. plain plastic wrap. remember the goal is to prevent the scab from forming.
    Tape: tape removal hurts. no two ways about it. for securing your daily dressing you can try this: use a bandana or some other sort of cloth to wrap around the leg/arm etc. doesn't work so great if the wound is on your chest, back etc.


    The clear drainage you are seeing is plasma. When that dries, it forms a scab.

    I don't believe in "spray bandages" of any variety. They usually have alcohol in them, they are expensive, and god knows what kind of chemical they have that makes them waterproof or "plastic-like"

    hope that helps.


    I arrive in thailand on january 4th to begin my 14 mos adventure.!!!!

    Happy to help with any wound care needs anyone may have.

    #16 Posted: 21/9/2010 - 22:57

  • CrankyCarrot

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    Great! I'm off to the beach first thing tomorrow morning then!

    #17 Posted: 21/9/2010 - 23:27

  • CrankyCarrot

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    Swimming was no problem at all. I think it might have actually helped a little bit. That's the beach. Besides grossing people out, is there any negative health affects it would have on someone if they swam in the same pool as my (healing) scabby knee?

    #18 Posted: 23/9/2010 - 21:37

  • neosho

    Joined Travelfish
    13th August, 2008
    Posts: 386

    Probably not any worse than taking a much needed pee, Cranky.

    #19 Posted: 24/9/2010 - 06:51

  • CrankyCarrot

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    You saw me?

    #20 Posted: 24/9/2010 - 15:12

  • CrankyCarrot

    Click here to learn more about CrankyCarrot
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    PS Almost fully healed now. Got some great cream off a helpful masseuse called Skinfect which, contrary to the name, kept the infection out and sped recovery. Highly recommended.

    #21 Posted: 2/10/2010 - 22:56

  • CrankyCarrot

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    Two and a half months later and the exhaust burn mark is as healed as it's gonna get.

    The knee scab is also all healed up. Both marks look like light bruises, which isn't too bad.

    I'd love to post pics here, but unlike other websites *cough Thaivisa *cough! Travelfish doesn't have the ability to add pic files to posts. Sure would be swell if you guys at TF could add that functionality in - hint, hint

    I'd use Tinypic and put a link here, but almost every guesthouse with shared wifi has had its IP banned from using the file sharing host.

    #22 Posted: 19/12/2010 - 17:21

  • CrankyCarrot

    Click here to learn more about CrankyCarrot
    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Thailand
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    Two and a half months later and the exhaust burn mark is as healed as it's gonna get.

    The knee scab is also all healed up. Both marks look like light bruises, which isn't too bad.

    I'd love to post pics here, but unlike other websites *cough Thaivisa *cough! Travelfish doesn't have the ability to add pic files to posts. Sure would be swell if you guys at TF could add that functionality in - hint, hint

    I'd use Tinypic and put a link here, but almost every guesthouse with shared wifi has had its IP banned from using the file sharing host.

    #23 Posted: 19/12/2010 - 17:21

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