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Journal of Community Nursing (JCN) | January 2013

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Cleansing chronic wounds with tap water or saline: a review

Cleansing chronic wounds with tap water or saline: a review
Wound Management

Pages: 19 - 21

Article topics: Community wound care, Tap water versus saline, Wound Care, Wound infection

Objective: In Slovenia, community nurses usually use tap water as a cleanser for chronic wounds, but is this the best practice? The purpose of this review is to establish if there is any difference in healing and infection rates when wounds are cleaned with tap water instead of sterile saline.

Method: An electronic literature search using the key words chronic wounds, wound cleansing, tap water and saline was undertaken.
Results: Results showed that there was no increase in infection or in wound healing rates between patients whose wounds were cleaned with tap water or sterile saline. Tap water may be as safe and effective as sterile saline but only when the water comes from the properly treated supply and used at body temperature.

Conclusion: Some evidence suggests that the use of tap water of drinkable quality appears to be a safe alternative to sterile saline, and that there are numerous benefits in its use.

Acknowledgements:
This contribution is part of Master’s Degree undertaken at College of Health Care, Izola. The author is grateful for the support and assistance of Professor Dame June Clark, Swansea University.

Andreja Ljubič RN, University of Primorska, Faculty of Health Sciences Izola, Slovenia and Health Center Postojna, Postojna, Slovenia.

Article accepted for publication: January 2012