Water for wound cleansing

Added April 8, 2013

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There is no evidence that using potable tap water to cleanse acute wounds in adults increases infection, and there is some evidence that it reduces infection. However, there is not strong evidence that cleansing wounds per se increases healing or reduces infection. In the absence of potable tap water, boiled and cooled water as well as distilled water can be used as wound cleansing agents.

Although various solutions have been recommended for cleansing wounds, normal saline is favoured as it is an isotonic solution and does not interfere with the normal healing process. Potable tap water is commonly used in the community for cleansing wounds because it is easily accessible, efficient and cost effective; however, there is an unresolved debate about its use. The objective of this review was to assess the effects of water compared with other solutions for wound cleansing.