P. Edronkin

Sugar As A Natural Bactericide

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The weight that you carry in your backpack, in your bush plane or even in the back of your horse will always be limited. Having carried up to 80kg in my back a couple of times, I know what it means to be overloaded: in those occasions I carried cement and other materials used for the construction of the foundations of a mountain cabin: it was snowing, the path was slippery, and I even did it during the night. Those exercises convinced me that I needed to learn to fly an airplane in order to continue carrying things uphill: I did, and I finally got a Piper PA-11 Cub Special to do the job.

However, as it happened before, my clothes for over a month in total isolation, as well as anything for entertainment purposes, was reduced to only a midsize pocket in my pack. The rest is always food, and yet more materials, research instruments and so on: my really personal things never exceed just three or four kg, and yet, even with the airplane I have to make good calculations regarding weight. So, one of the best things I can do is to carry things that can serve more than just one purpose: my piolet is good for ice climbing, but also for digging, cutting wood and preparing a place to immobilise the almighty PA-11 once landed; carabiners are useful for climbing, but also to tie up the plane quickly.

Food is another department that always needs attention while you are planning any outdoor adventure: honey can serve you both as a spread for your bread or biscuits, and as a sweetener that is more efficient than sugar. But that doesn't mean that sugar shouldn't go with you to the great outdoors, for you can find many different uses for it: aside from being a good component of a variety of improvised explosives and an exceedingly good ingredient used to sabotage internal combustion engines - topics in which I shall not go deeper now (sorry!) - sugar can be used to produce marmalades, sweeten your tea, coffee or mate, to seal things (boil it until it becomes a syrup, and then pour it), and also help you as a first aid and medical factor: indeed, it can be used to kill bacteria in open, infected wounds almost as effectively as the best of antibiotics.

Sugar is being used for example at zoos, where animals sometimes fight and hurt themselves rather seriously. And if zoo animals can use it, so can you: you just need to spread it carefully over the wound, placing a band aid or duct tape over it, and that will be all for a couple of hours. Of course, and particularly in tropical regions, pay attention to the insects and arthropods that may just want to feast on it and your festered wounds, take care to wash the wound every four hours or so, and to replace the sugar. Nothing else is needed.

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