A cut, or wound is quickly attended to by first cleansing it with soap and water, thoroughly rinsing it, then allowing it to dry. What happens next? Research on utilizing tap water or salt water for further cleansing of surgical wounds was performed on patients who were followed over a period of six weeks. Researchers and patients documented their daily results.
Robert Gannon set out to explore how surgical wounds would heal. “Griffiths et al (2001), (the same experts who assisted the Cochrane database review), carried out a double-blind randomized control trial of Tap Water versus 0.9% Saline Water (salt water) in 49 subjects.
- Male and female participation was almost equal
- Average age of 75 years old
- Wounds studied were a mix of chronic and acute surgical wounds.
- Explores the importance of warming cleansing solutions before use.
The results that were found have promoted changes within hospital and how wound healing is initiated. The surgical wounds were cleansed and then allowed to dry for a total of 40 minutes as researchers and patients documented the results over a period of 6 weeks.
Conclusion for cleansing with Tap Water
- Soaking with Tap Water can be an inappropriate choice for regular wound irrigation as it may be detrimental to cells (Towler, 2001) causing cells to burst. Duly demonstrated by adding water to a suspension of red blood cells causing them to lyse (loosen or destroy) (Lawrence, 1997)
- Cleanse wounds with room temperature water as a part of a normal hygiene routine using only a gauze. Do not soak wounds for long periods (Flanagan, 1997).
- 34.7% of the patients had healed wounds in six weeks using tap water.
Conclusion with the benefits of Cleansing with 0.9% Saline Water
- Room temperature saline water assisted in a faster healing process
- Cleansing with saline water (salt water) and with a gauze proved most effective and quickest way to promote healing of a wound.
- A total of 61.5% of those given saline healed after six weeks.
HOME REMEDY: Combine 2 Ingredients into a clean glass.
- 1/2 Tablespoon Fine Sea Salt or table salt
- 1 cup room temperature water
Wash your hands with soap and water before applying. Stir until salt dissolves. Apply to wound with sterile gauze or clean tea towel. Allow to air dry for 40 minutes before covering with gauze or band-aid. Repeat three times a day.
RECOGNIZE THE LIMITS of the situation and if a Nurse Practitioner or Doctor should be contacted:
- If bleeding persists for 20 minutes. Stitches may be needed.
- Any infections that persist after 48 hours.
- Swelling is a sign of something more serious.
SALT WATER REMEDIES for the MOUTH:
- Use salt water as a mouth rinse when your tongue is white! This is a sign that influenza, a cold, or a yeast infection is present.
- Salt water rinses for tooth ache or after removal of wisdom teeth.
- Rinsing with 2 Tablespoons of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar will kill germs within the mouth. Rinses should be done three to four times a day.
By: Kimberly Crocker-Scardicchio
- Gannon, R. (2007) Wound cleansing: sterile water or saline? Nursing Times; 103: 9, 44-46. http://www.nursingtimes.net/nursing-practice/clinical-zones/wound-care/fact-file-wound-cleansing-sterile-water-or-saline/201829.article
- Griffiths, R.D. et al (2001) Is tap water a safe alternative to normal saline for wound irrigation in the community. Journal of Wound Care; 10: 10, 407-411.
- McGuinness, W. et al (2004) Influence of dressing changes on wound temperature. Journal of Wound Care; 13: 9, 383-385.
- Lawrence, J.C. (1997) Wound irrigation. Journal of Wound Care; 6: 1, 23-26.Selim, P. et al (2001)
- Evidence-based practice: tap water cleansing of leg ulcers in the community. Journal of Clinical Nursing; 10: 3, 372-379
- Towler, J. (2001) Cleansing traumatic wounds with swabs, water or saline. Journal of Wound Care; 10: 6, 231-234.