By Emily Greenstein, APRN, CNP, CWON
It's that time of year again. For the leaves to change, all the ghouls and goblins to come alive, and for a sudden influx of sugar! After the success of last year's blog post "How Being a Wound Specialist Can Help You Survive a Zombie Apocalypse," I knew I had to do another Halloween-themed post. In my practice I have seen an influx of animals bites this summer, which got me to thinking, what if you were bitten by a werewolf or vampire?
We all know how difficult animal bites are to treat. Because of the design of the fangs, the bacteria are often driven deep down into the tissue. Imagine that... only 10 million times worse! How would you treat one of these bites? How would you survive?
To survive being attacked by either of these creatures, let's look at a few details. Ironically, being a wound specialist could put you at an advantage against these creatures, just like zombies!
How Being a Wound Specialist Could Save You During a Zombie Apocalypse
First, a few facts about werewolves1:
- Lycanthropy is the disease or affliction of a human transforming into a werewolf. This term dates back as far as 1594.
- The cost of silver for a single 9-mm bullet would be about $5.00. Good thing that as wound care specialists we have access to all sorts of silver products.
- Hypertrichosis, also known as werewolf syndrome, is a condition that causes excessive amounts of hair growth. Just imagine trying to get a bandage to stick to that!
- For years it was believed that there was no cure for lycanthropy. However, in 1930 it was found that "plasma therapy" could cure up to 88%. This is great news because we already have platelet-rich plasma for wound care!
Next let's look at vampires, and we are not talking about the Cullens (who are "vegetarian" vampires, for those of you who are not familiar with Twilight)2,3:
- Vampires originated in the 17th and 18th centuries in Germany and England.
- Just because you have been bitten by a vampire doesn't mean you are guaranteed to turn into a vampire.
- Treatment for vampire bites is more complicated than treating a non-compliant patient with a diabetic foot ulcer who has a hemoglobin A1c of 12. Treatment includes:
- Wrapping something 2-4 inches above the bite to stop the spread of the poison, but not too tight so the blood flow is cut off (physiologically I don't think this is possible, but then again, I have never been bitten by a vampire).
- Place a suction device over the bite in an attempt to draw out the poison. Good thing we have negative pressure wound therapy devices!
- Wash the bite with soap and water to ward off infection. I would definitely recommend some type of surgical scrub here.
- Immobilize the bite and keep it lower than the heart. How do you keep your neck below your heart?
- Cover the area with a cool compress or rag soaked in garlic extract to minimize swelling and vampirism. I think Mesalt gauze would work just as well and smell better in this case!4
- Monitor vital signs for a decreased heartbeat. This seems reasonable considering vampires don't have heartbeats because they are the "undead."
Now that we know how to better our chances of surviving an attack by a werewolf or vampire, remember whatever creature you may be trying to avoid this Halloween season, have fun and be safe.
Finally, I would like to end this post with a very serious message:
"Why are vampires like false teeth? They all come out at night." – Anonymous
1. Supernatural Wiki. Werewolf cure. 2019. http://www.supernaturalwiki.com/Werewolf_Cure. Accessed September 23, 2019.
2. Vampire Underworld: Myth, Lore and Vampire Fiction. How to treat a vampire bite. 2019. https://vampireunderworld.com/blood-info/treat-vampire-bite/. Accessed September 23, 2019.
3. Meyer S. Twilight. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company; 2005.
4. Molnlycke Health Care. Mesalt: sodium chloride dressing to stimulate the cleansing of discharging wounds. https://www.molnlycke.us/products-solutions/mesalt/. Accessed September 23, 2019.
About the Author
Emily Greenstein, APRN, CNP, CWON is a Certified Nurse Practitioner at Sanford Health in Fargo, ND. She received her BSN from Jamestown College and her MSN from Maryville University. She is certified as an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. She has been certified in wound and ostomy care through the WOCNCB for the past 8 years. At Sanford she oversees the outpatient wound care program, serves as chair for the SVAT committee and is involved in many different research projects. She is an active member of the AAWC and currently serves as co-chair for the Research Task Force and Membership Committee. She is also a working member of the AAWC International Consolidated Diabetic Ulcer Guidelines Task Force. She has been involved with other wound organizations and currently serves as the Professional Practice Chair for the North Central Region Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Society. Emily has served as an expert reviewer for the WOCN Society and the Journal for WOCN. Her main career focus is on the advancement of wound care through evidence-based research.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, Kestrel Health Information, Inc., its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.