How does saline solution clean a wound?

Written by adam cloe
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How does saline solution clean a wound?
Saline solution washes away bacteria. (Okea/iStock/Getty Images)

Cleaning wounds prevents infection. While dirt and grit will irritate the wound, they also carry a much greater risk of infection from the bacteria that they contain. For any newly formed wound, it is important to clean it out to remove the dirt and bacteria. It is also important to keep the wound clean as it is healing. Bacteria that gets into the wounds will cause inflammation and swelling. This will slow the healing process and will also lead tot he development of scar tissue, which will make the wound heal more poorly.

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Saline solution and wound cleaning

Saline solution performs two separate functions. The most important thing that it does is wash debris and dried blood out of a newly formed wound. This helps remove things that can irritate the underlying tissue as well as help wash out any bacteria. The other thing that saline solution does is help moisturise the wound. If a cut or other type of wound is too dry, it won't heal properly. For this reason, saline solution is often applied to a covering, such as gauze, to help keep a wound from drying out.

Advantages

One of the best things about saline solution is that it is cheap and readily available. It is commonly found in many products, including contact lens solution and, if necessary, can be made easily. Another advantage that saline solution has over soap and water and other types of cleaning compounds is that it won't irritate the wound or cause any burning pain. On the other hand, saline solution won't actively disinfect like hydrogen peroxide will, and it won't be good at removing oily substances in the same way that soap will.

Disadvantages

Saline solution won't actively disinfect like hydrogen peroxide will, and it won't be good at removing oily substances in the same way that soap will.

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