You may have heard that salt water can be used as a natural wound healing treatment. It is advisable to rinse your open wound with a salt solution to kill potential germs that may lead to infection. This natural treatment is proven effective to provide initial wound cleaning. It is, thus not surprising that people wonder whether swimming in the ocean with an open wound advisable?
What’s in ocean water?
Ocean water consists of water and saline—or salt. In roughly one liter of seawater, there is approximately 35 grams of dissolved salts. Ocean water has higher density level than fresh or pure water, because the dissolved salt increases its mass. However, ocean water does not only consist of the mix of water and salt. As the runoff from rivers, ocean water also contain the substances mixed in river water. Seawater also contain micro bacteria which varies in kinds and benefits. Some of these bacteria might be harmful for human’s health.
Can I swim in the ocean when having an open wound?
When you are wounded, your body starts to create new cells and collagen to replace the damaged tissues and cells beneath your skin. This healing process requires proper environment, which is clean and moist. You are also advised to keep your wound and the surrounding area hygienic in order to prevent bacterial infection. An opened wound should be treated immediately to promote proper healing. Some remedies are used for providing first aid to wounded skin. One of those initial remedies is cleaning your wound thoroughly with saline solution, which can be made by mixing fresh water and salt. This is hence quite reasonable when people think that swimming in the ocean can cure the open wound.
However, this logical thinking cannot be fully justified. Despite the content of salt dissolved in it, seawater cannot be used to heal an open wound. The saline solution you use for initially cleaning your wound is a sterile solution. However, seawater is not a sterile solution. As we have known, the water in an ocean is the mixture of several smaller rivers. Thus, the substances contained in the rivers are spread through the ocean, contaminating it as well as decreasing its density. When you decide to swim with your open wound in the ocean, you give a contact between your wound and this possibly-contaminated water. Besides, ocean water might contain harmful bacteria that can lead your wound to infection. Swimming in the ocean with an open wound will also be dangerous because you can possibly struck your wound into or scratch it with ocean rocks. This can lead into infection as your healing tissues are re-damaged and your wound may start bleeding, so your body must restart the healing process which take longer time.
When you have an open wound, especially the big and deep one, its healing process might cause changes to your immunity. You can easily be infected with various kinds of viral and bacterial diseases. This is why swimming in the ocean with an open wound is not the best decision.
What should I do to heal the wound properly?
As swimming in the warm ocean water is not a good choice to heal your open wound, you might want to take a look on other things that can speed up your wound healing, such as:
- Keeping your wound bandaged and moist. Keeping your wound wet in the ocean and dry to air exposure are the similarly unwise choices. A wound is best kept moist and covered, because your body needs to grow new cells which need moist environment to grow better and faster.
- Keep hydrated. Water is really important for your body and tissues. Drinking 8 glasses of water is very important.
- Do not touch your wound with dirty hands. This is really important as dirty hands may transfer germs that can cause infection.
- Do not scratch the wound as it might damage the growing tissues. Do not pick any scabs your wound forms because it can cause bleeding and induce the wound to drain pus. Rub warm water on the skin around your wound to relieve itches.