All inflammation of wounds, suppuration, abscesses, erysipelas, "blood-poisoning," gangrene, and lockjaw, are due to living germs and nothing else. These germs are not born in the wound, but enter from the outside. We may as well say they are present everywhere, except in the air (pus germs do not float in air). To prevent their entrance is much easier than to kill them once they have gained foothold.

The only guarantee of a wound healing nicely is to make and keep it surgically clean. Sterilize everything that is to be used about a wound: hands, instruments, and the dressing. Do not trust anything to be germ-free merely because it looks clean. The micro-organisms that cause inflammation of a wound, fever, putrefaction, may In rk anywhere even in spotless linen fresh from the laundry, unless killed by antiseptics.

Do not swab out a fresh wound, nor even wash it; that would only drive germs deeper in. Simply cover it with a sterilized dressing for the time being, and cleanse it later with an antiseptic wash, if need be. Plain water is likely to contain germs. If it is necessary first to pick out hard foreign matter that has been driven into the wound, do so with an instrument sterilized by heat or by antiseptics, or made from a freshly cut green stick.

Whenever practicable, shave oft the hair for some distance around the wound. Hairs, no matter how small, are grease-coated and favor the lodgment and growth of germs. Shaving also scrapes oft the surface dirt and dead scales of skin.