Does saltwater actually cure all?

One of my very favorite quotes is “The cure for anything is saltwater: sweats, tears, or the sea”. As a child, whenever I was at the beach, my grandma reminded me to take off my bandaids before I went into the ocean because saltwater would help the cuts. I never knew if it was just an age old myth, but my cuts did seem to get better after a dip in the Atlantic. Does the ocean really heal, though?

Well, no. It’s well known that saline, a very pure form of salt water, can heal many cuts and aid in helping clear open wounds of foreign materials. While the water in the ocean contains saline, since it’s not pure like the saline solutions sold in stores and used in hospitals, it could actually end up making the wound worse rather than better. According to Professor Bart Currie, an infectious disease and tropical infection expert, there are many variables that you must take into account, including the state of the ocean and the state of the wound. As well, people with weak immune systems are more susceptible to contracting diseases and should definitely avoid going into the ocean with an open wound.

But, saltwater does have it’s perks. The Dead Sea is flocked to every year by millions for it’s healing powers- just floating in the water is known to help ease skin diseases like eczema. That same Daily Mail article also talks about all different treatments involving saltwater, like algae wraps and salt water baths, help exfoliate and purify your skin.

So while saltwater should not be your go-to method to heal your open wounds, taking a dip in the ocean once in a while without a bandaid off your paper cut definitely won’t hurt.

people floating in the dead sea in Israel

people floating in the dead sea in Israel

5 thoughts on “Does saltwater actually cure all?

  1. Eric Choi

    I’ve never dipped into the ocean with an open cut or wound due to the fact that I think it would sting like hell. Going into the ocean with a small paper cut is fine. But the thought of people with open gash wounds running into the ocean creeps me out. Who knows how dirty the ocean? Millions of people dip into the pool and potentially leave trash in the ocean. Plus, lots of waste gets dumped into oceans so it would not be a wise idea to go in with open wounds. Anyways, I have always heard stories of the Dead Sea and would love to visit there. I had no idea that floating on the Dead Sea could help with skin diseases.

  2. Taylor Leigh Mitchell

    I find that when i go into the ocean with a cut it hurts so badly that i would rather not even go into the ocean! Salt water did help my friend one time when she was having an allergic reaction. We participated in the color run together and after we finished the 5-k she was all itchy and red and blotchy. we went over to the medical tent who had of course seen many cases similar to this and they diagnosed her with allergic reaction to corn starch, this was so weird to me! They used saline to stop the allergic reaction and she immediately felt better!

  3. Stephanie Ann Loesch

    I have always wondered this exact thing! It is shocking to me how salt, which seems uncleanly (especially in the ocean), can heal wounds that are often infectious. I have never heard of the saying mentioned above previously but find that most people do recommend using salt to heal all wounds. It is not shocking to me that researchers do not recommend people go into the ocean to heal wounds just for the salt because of how unsanitary one is. Bacteria consumes much of the water in oceans. Many people often play in the water and many animals call oceans their home. However, I have never thought about how useful the Dead Sea could be as nothing lives in it and it is contains high volumes of salt. It is kind of surreal that such a unique body of water exists and has the ability to heal many people’s wounds and injuries. The next time I have a cut, I will contemplate venturing to the Dead Sea in order to heal it.

  4. Jose Ignacio Arango De Diego

    I didn’t know about the old myth you used referred to but I remember when was a kid, and still as of today, my mom or my grandmother would tell me that if get into the beach I should blow snot because the ocean would cure my filled nose. This is actually true because the saltine in the ocean helps kill different bacterias that are in the mucus. Because of this is that hospital and drug stores sell saltine solution which helps you when having a cold or a blocked nose. I really liked your blog, it helped me know more of the benefits of the saltwater

  5. Kristen Lauren Mckenzie

    WOW! I never even heard of the old myth. Not a lot of people know that salt water works as a antiseptic to fight off infection because the high levels of salt kill bacterium by the osmosis process. But what really interested me in your blog post is when you say ” The Dead Sea is flocked to every year by millions for it’s healing powers- just floating in the water is known to help ease skin diseases like eczema.” I actually have eczema and I have been suffering with now a mild case of it for years. The craziest part is that when I was in Israel, my eczema had gotten worse so I went to the hospital over there and they told me that I wouldn’t get the medicine time. So the doctor that I go float in the dead sea. My parents looked at each other and laughed at the doctor because they had no idea what he was talking about. But who would know 15 years later reading this, I would realize that the “crazy doctor” had some college to what he was actually saying. Thanks for sharing this!!!

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