There are various things to be paid attention to regarding wound healing. Yet there are some FDA approved wound care treatment using maggots, one of the most important thing is regular treatment and compromised hygiene. This will not only promote faster healing, but also keep the wound from infection. One of the most common disturbance occurring in an inappropriately-treated wound is maggot infestation. This does sound and seem disgusting and can be dangerous when untreated properly. Maggot infestation can possibly happen to both animals and humans, and are harmful for both if failed to take care of.
How maggots infest a wound
Maggots are basically fly eggs, and flies are attracted to garbage, carcasses, and even open wound and its drainage. These are the mediums flies choose to penetrate their eggs. Open wounds which are not treated well can attract these flies to come and lay eggs on it. These laid eggs soon turn into fly larvae or maggots, which starts the form in the size of rice grains. These maggots feed on wound tissues and its surrounding tissues, making them grow fat up to an inch long. Hatched maggots turn into flies, which are going to continuously lay down some eggs, causing another maggot infestation. When a wound with maggots is not properly treated, the infestation can be life-threatening, since the patient may suffer from severe infection.
Cleaning maggots from a wound
An open wound is prone to maggot infestation. However, as long as this infestation is initially spotted and properly treated, the wound can still heal without infection. If you spot some infesting maggots in a wound—of either pets or humans, there are some preliminary treatments that can be performed before you rush to the ER and talk to the doctor.
- Carefully remove the bandage and inner gauze pads from the wound site.
- Rinse the wound with tap water and gentle soap. Clean the wound thoroughly and get rid of any debris you see.
- If you see a very small number of maggots in the wound, sterilized tweezers can be used to pick them. Do this carefully and use medical blunt-edge tweezers to avoid tearing the wound tissues. Clean the wound with peroxide afterwards and change the bandage.
- If there is a larger maggot infestation, refer to these steps of removal:
- Pour a cap of hydrogen peroxide into the wound site. Some doctors recommend saline solution, as this is considered less harsh than peroxide.
- Leave it to bubble for 10 to 20 seconds. This will kill maggots which reside on the surface of the wound.
- Apply a dusting of cornstarch to inspect any left maggots in the wound. This will draw out maggots which have burrowed deeper in the wound.
- Take a cotton gauze or gauze pad and soak it into medical turpentine oil.
- Soak the wound, which has been treated with saline solution or peroxide in turpentine-oil soaked gauze. Keep the wound soaked for a half to an hour and carefully inspect it overtime.
- After an hour, wipe away dead maggots you see on the surface of the wound. If there are some maggots left on the wound, use a pair of sterilized tweezers to get rid of it from the wound.
- Put on clean gauze pad and bandage the wound after applying an antibiotic ointment, inspecting it from time to time to make sure maggot infestation does not continue.
Preventing maggot infestation in a wound
In order to prevent the wound from maggot infestation, a proper wound care has to be performed. This includes some important steps which everyone can basically perform at home, such as:
- Prevent flies from wandering around the wound site and landing on it.
- Change wound dressing regularly, especially when the wound still produces excessive drainage. This will help preventing flies from being attracted to the drainage smell.
- Avoid touching wound, since your hands can be the media of some bacteria, which may create dirty environment around the wound.
- Apply a dab of Vaseline or petroleum jelly to the surface of the wound to provide barrier from flying flies. You can do this before bandaging the wound, because petroleum jelly is harmless for the wound.