Thu | Aug 13, 2020

Dear Doc | Glue that can be safely used on skin

Published:Sunday | October 20, 2019 | 12:00 AM











Q Dear Doc, I would like to know what exactly is alternative medicine?

My friend told me I must try that to treat my heavy period, but I don’t trust all them bush things that can give me cancer. Do you think it is safe?


A Very interesting question. Alternative medicine is any treatment that is supposed to help with health but is not part of mainstream medicine, which typically involves doctors and prescription medication.

Examples of alternative medicine include:


- Acupuncture – People having acupuncture have thin needles inserted into their skin in different places. The needles do not hurt, or they hurt very little. This might not help your heavy periods but has shown to help with painful periods.


- Herbal remedies – Herbal remedies are usually pills or liquids that contain substances found in plants, or the actual plant itself, what he typically call ‘bush medicine’. Even though herbal remedies are ‘natural’, they may not always be safe, because plants sometimes have chemicals that can hurt the body. However, there are some plants that have been widely studied to provide benefit to various conditions and those would be safe to take.


- Mind-body techniques – Examples of mind-body techniques include hypnosis and guided imagery. These techniques are supposed to calm you and help you change the way you think about your symptoms.


- Massage therapy – This is often used to help with pain symptoms and provide relaxation.


- Special diets – People with cancer and other health problems sometimes hear that their condition could improve if they ate a special diet. These diets might contain no meat, or require people to take special supplements.

Many forms of alternative medicine are safe, and can be helpful when used along with traditional medicine. If you use, or are thinking about using, alternative medicine, be sure to talk with your doctor so they can tell you if there are any risks involved with the alternative medicine you have in mind.

It is important to talk with your doctor, because some herbal medicines can interact with prescription medicines and cause you harm or keep them from working. Also, some herbal medicines are toxic and dangerous, and can damage the liver.

Special diets can cause persons to lose weight very quickly, and cause additional health problems.

Speak with your doctor about whatever alternative medicine your friend suggested to you before starting it.


Dear Doc, my child cut herself playing and I thought the cut looked rather serious. So I took her to the doctor, thinking she was going to need stitches, but the cut was instead glued together.

Is it safe to be using glue on cuts like that?


A Nothing to worry about. What was used is what we call a tissue adhesive.

Tissue adhesives are a type of glue that can be safely used on skin and other body tissues. Doctors will use tissue adhesives to close certain types of cuts and hold a wound closed until it has a chance to heal. In some cases, tissue adhesives are a good alternative to stitches as they are less painful, and quicker and easier to apply than stitches. Cuts closed with adhesives heal just about as well as cuts closed with stitches.

Be careful, however. Many persons buy some of these products without a prescription to use them on their own, without any input from a doctor; this is strongly ill-advised. If used incorrectly, tissue adhesives can cause problems.

Tissue adhesives are used for cuts that are clean, straight and short (less than two inches, or five centimetres, long) and that close up neatly without causing the skin to be tight.

Here is some other benefits of tissue adhesives:

- There is no bandage with a wound treated with an adhesive. The adhesive works like a bandage.

- No need to use antibiotic ointment, as it can break down the adhesive.

- You can shower while the adhesive is on your skin. You still cannot take a bath, or soak or scrub the area for seven to 10 days, however.

- You will also not need to see the doctor again unless the wound doesn’t heal well or you have signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or pus.

The adhesive will peel off on its own, usually by five to 10 days. If after 10 days you still have adhesive on you, you can use antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly to get it off.