Saturday, April 10, 2010

Putting Salt in a Wound

Well, actually, no, I am not advocating putting salt in a wound. But there was a time when many of us, including me, thought a hot salt water soak for a dirty and/or infected wound and salt water gargles for a sore throat or a dental infection were beneficial, or at least more beneficial than plain water. Perhaps, we said, bacteria were dehydrated by salt, and died. And we kind of figured that salt water would draw germs from an infected wound because body fluid, being less salty, would flow out into salty water as nature sought a balance. Then one day someone asked for evidence--and there was none, not even from the docs who had recommended salt water for medical use in the wilderness. Now we know the salt not only fails to help, it dehydrates the healthy tissue along the edges of wounds, possible slowing the healing process and certainly not helping. So, save the salt for improving the taste of food and remove it from your list of first aid uses.

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