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Super glue to close wounds

Super glue to close wounds? Yes but…

One of the arguments that are sometimes heard when it comes to first aid in remote conditions, is to use the stick (one of the many products based on cyanoacrylate) to close the wounds. This method of luck is certainly not an optimal way, nor to be taken lightly, especially in a situation of real need. So here is a guide on the subject.

The due precautions and premises

It should be noted that the use of alternative methods must always be taken with a grain of salt and for no reason should one move towards these fallback methods when there are better alternatives available.
At least less wise it is to start with the idea of ​​turning to these systems for lack of better methods or (worse) of the necessary competence: in all these cases it is the duty of a prepper to learn what is necessary and equip himself with the required qualifications and move towards the methods. correct and leave the fallback method only as a last resort when circumstances do not allow for anything better.
In addition to this, it should be remembered that the operation of closing a wound is only one of the steps to be carried out, and must be preceded by cleaning and disinfection and of the same, as well as all other necessary considerations regarding the type of wound, the seriousness of the situation, the context and the consequences of the operation.

The alternatives

Surely, the most suitable methods of closing a wound are the canonical ones: sutures, sterile strips and plasters.
Particular attention should be used to the suture issue: they should not be done without the necessary professional experience and the necessary medical qualifications, as this is an operation that is not risk-free. The television and cinematographic indications according to which the wounds could be closed with a needle and sewing thread should absolutely not be followed!
It is possible to find on the market both the material necessary to make a suture, and also the kit necessary to do the necessary practice.

Much simpler, and with acceptable results, to use the sterile strips that allow you to close the edges of the simplest wounds: linear ones, not too deep or extended.


This material was born with other military purposes, but its characteristic of being “too sticky” means that it fails in its original intent. However, on the battlefield, it is necessary to strive, and it, therefore, happened, almost by chance, that it was used in an emergency to close wounds.
Since then, the use of adhesive materials has been very thorough in the medical environment, and there are several products that have sprung from that initial attempt.
However, the materials used today for this purpose are very different from the cyanoacrylate which makes up many of the superglues on the market. In particular, this type of glue has major disadvantages:

  • when cyanoacrylate dries, it releases heat which could damage fabrics.
  • while dry, it releases cyanoacetate and formaldehyde which irritates the throat, eyes and lungs.
  • they can cause intense burning
  • once dried and tend to harden, stiffening the surrounding skin

Among the medical devices suitable for this type of operation we find many different formulations such as SurgiSeal, Dermabond, GluShield and many others. However, these products are not for sale to the public

When to never use glue

Never use glue on the most sensitive skin: face, neck, or near the eyes. Never on deep cuts or ones that are continuing to bleed. Never use it on infected wounds or those that have not been properly cleaned and disinfected, especially if it is insect bites or animal bites in general.

When can we think about it?

The right answer is “never . However, we assume that we do not immediately have better methods available and that we have an urgent need to have to fall back on this way.
There are not many situations in which superglue can help us, but fortunately, these are also the most common. These are the cases in which:
the wound is shallow (a few millimetres)
the cut is clean linear


  • perfectly disinfect the wound
  • check that you are not in one of the aforementioned cases in which glue should not be used
  • better if there are two to do it
  • wait for the wound to stop bleeding
  • bring the edges of the wound closer
  • apply the glue “in small points” starting from the middle of the wound and then gradually proceed on the following halves
  • do not apply an extended layer of glue (“by brush”)
  • never rub your eyes after or during the operation

At this point it is obviously still necessary to go to the emergency room as soon as possible: it will in fact be necessary to have qualified medical personnel check the state of the wound and the type of treatment required.



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