At 4 this morning I was rudely awakened by my cat bounding over to the window to check out the sounds of a cat fight in the neighborhood. Most unfortunately, my face happened to be in the way. I received two small puncture wounds on my lip line from her haste.
Immediately, I went into the bathroom to wash my lips with soap and water. Cat claws are notoriously dirty and full of bacteria and parasites. Unwashed cat scratches can lead to “Cat Scratch Fever,” an infection that is no fun for anyone. For scratches, soap and water usually does the trick for cleaning. But punctures are a little different.
Because puncture wounds go beyond the surface, they really need to be disinfected. With the wounds so near my mouth, I didn’t really want to go the Neosporin route, although that is usually a pretty good anti-bacterial ointment. But you don’t want it to slide into your mouth and accidentally eat it, or lick your lips, etc. So I pulled out the tea tree oil.
Tea tree oil is an essential oil from Australia that has been used as an antiseptic by the Aborigines for a long time before modern science backed up the claims.
I have a friend who swear that it cured her husband’s eczema (used topically), and I’ve seen it do wonders as a spot treatment for acne as well.
Always use it topically (never take it internally), and you can apply it directly to the affected area without dilution.
I went back to bed and when I got up a few hours later, the only remnant of my nocturnal adventures was a little pinprick of blood above my upper lip and a slight tenderness at the sight. I don’t expect there to be any further danger of infection, though I reapplied the tea tree oil again in the morning.