Salt and Preserving Wound care

Author(s): 
Terry Treadwell, MD, FACS

Dear Readers,

Salt, an essential chemical for life and well-being, is ironically the combination of two of the most deadly chemicals known to man—sodium, an unstable metal that will burst into flame if exposed to air or water, and chlorine, one of the deadliest known gases. Yet this combination of chemicals produces sodium chloride, common table salt, which has been one of the most sought-after products in human history and is the only rock humans consume. Salt has more than 14,000 uses to make our modern lives better.1

Salt’s ability to preserve has been known since ancient times. It has been used to preserve food, and even bodies in the Egyptian process of embalming. Salt has been used to flavor food to make it more palatable since humans began cultivating crops. It seems that as long as the human diet was essentially red meat, the body maintained a normal salt balance. Since cultivated crops are not a source of salt, humans learned an outside source was needed to avoid the headaches, weakness, and nausea a salt deficiency causes.1

As we start a new year, I hope that you will be a “salty” wound care provider. As a wound care provider you must provide the same qualities for your patients as salt does for each of us. You must be a preservative in that you must preserve the best wound care therapies available for each patient based on evidence and experience. You must not be swayed by fancy claims and marketing just to use the newest treatments and products. It is not wrong to use new technology, but be sure the new is truly better than the old and not simply a more expensive package with a brighter, shinier wrapper. As wound care providers we are to be the preservers of the best.

Salt adds flavor to food and makes it more palatable and enjoyable to eat. This is our task for our patients—to make treatment more “palatable” and involve patients in their care plan, while meeting their expectations. Many times wound care clinics are the last resort for patients. We can help patients through the difficult times involved in their wound treatment by being continuously supportive and positive.

My wish for you this new year is to enjoy the opportunity you have to help others, learn as much as you can to better help your patients, and be a “salty” wound care provider by preserving the best of the old, carefully selecting the best of the new, and making your care “palatable” for every patient.

 

References: 

1. Kurlansky M. Salt: A World History. New York, NY: Walker Publishing Company; 2002.

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