Clean Drinking Water Is Good Enough For Cleaning Wounds

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After stopping the bleeding, what’s the first thing done to treat a wound at home?  Properly cleaning the wound is one of the most important things in wound care.  Even the best wound dressings and bandages or medicines can’t heal a wound if it is not properly cleaned in the first place.  The commonly used wound cleaning products include normal saline, hydrogen peroxide, sodium hypochlorite etc.

While choosing a wound cleaning product, the most important consideration is the safety of the product.  First-aid kits come with wound cleaning products such as saline water but something else much more conveniently available, safe and as effective, can be used to clean wounds and that is clean drinking water.  An Australian study suggests that drinking water can be a very good alternative to saline solution or other wound cleaning products.

Professor Rhonda Griffiths from the University of Western Sydney School of Nursing and researchers from Sydney South West Area Health Service conducted a study to test the effectiveness of an indigenous wound care practice.  They tested the common practice of showering leg ulcer patients to clean their wounds.  The researchers conducted a six week study that involved 35 patients with leg ulcers.

The wounds of the study participants were cleaned with ordinary tap water and were monitored for signs of infection and other complications.  The researchers found that the wounds that were showered with tap water, did not develop any infections and the rate of healing also didn’t slow down.  On the basis of their findings, the researchers suggested that tap water can be an effective and less expensive alternative to wound cleaning products.

"Although the results need to be confirmed by a larger study, we believe that with this simple, yet robust, trial we have uncovered evidence that could save nurses' time, reduce costs and also make it easier to involve patients in their own self-care of wounds.  This research shows how a clinical problem identified by working nurses, can promote research to then go on to inform existing practice," said Professor Griffiths.

This study is good news especially for people who carry limited supplies and are more at risk of getting wounded when away from home such as hunters, hikers etc.  Now they can use limited space in first-aid kits for more important supplies and can clean wounds with the water they carry for drinking.  People are generally more comfortable in using natural products that do not have side effects and what could be better than good old clean water. So the next time you stock your first-aid kit, just add a bottle of drinking water.

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