Can I Use Salt Water To Treat My Cuts
We all love to wash our cuts in the ocean “bit of salt water be good for em”, “saline solution is just salt water anyway”.
This is semi true for example salt water (saline) has long been used in wound management — unfortunately the salt water in the ocean is not sterile...
I’m not saying that some ocean water isn’t good and that you shouldn’t take cuts into the water but just consider a few things first before you decide to head into the ocean with an open cut or wound.
1. The state of your immune system
The ocean is not a sterile environment, if your immune system isn't functioning properly, you should avoid it altogether if you have open sores and they aren’t healing.
2. The state of your wound
Even those of us with robust immune systems need to properly clean and dress any wounds exposed to sea water, especially if the sore was already red, inflamed or full of pus before contact with the sea water.
3. The state of the ocean in which you are swimming
Some parts of the ocean have more bacteria present, for example, the water in estuaries, near fisheries, sewage plants or drain pipes or near rocks or coral is especially risky, particularly after rain.
4. Temperature of the water
Warmer water encourages bacterial growth, so warm water means more bacteria which means more chance of a nasty bacteria...be aware of this when holidaying in the tropics.
"Basically, you shouldn't look at swimming in the ocean as a way to cure an open wound,"
Professor Bart Currie
- Infectious disease and tropical infection expert of Flinders University at Royal Darwin Hospital, Australia