Open Wounds in Bali – What to do?
No matter how careful we are, cuts happen, wounds occur! Surfers get cuts from the reef, especially with Bali`s shallow shores.Divers may get coral cuts, even though you are not supposed to touch the corals! But also on Balis roads you can get scratches from scooter accidents – Bali cuts and open wounds happen quickly.
Always take it seriously
We all get told about the “healing magic” of the ocean, it shouldn’t be a problem to continue what you love and continue playing in the ocean. In Bali though, this is different. As quickly as they come, the longer they take to disappear. And most of the time wounds and cuts get swollen, become red, and may develop into a festering sore or ulcer with a pustular drainage. Open wounds get easily infected here!
Okay, but how to deal with open wounds in Bali?
- Control the bleeding, put direct pressure on the open wound.
- Make sure you are generating enough pressure to debride the wound from any possible foreign bodies.
- Clean it: Normal saline or bottled water should be used, do not use sea or tap water.
- Disinfect it as quickly as possible.
- Ensure that particles and dirt are completely removed.
- When riding a scooter, protect the wound to prevent that dirt is coming into the wound!
- Do not swim and also take care when showering that no water gets into the wound.
- After thorough irrigation, add an antiseptic, the easiest in Bali is Betadine. You get it for around 20.000 IDR in Pharmacies and Supermarkets. This usually leads to the wound drying up.
Scientists believe the antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals in honey kill both the bacteria and the fungi that infect wounds. Its viscous texture also allows a cut to heal in a moist environment, which leaves you with a softer- looking scar or no scar at all. Make sure you use raw honey to dress your wound (honey from supermarket won’t have the same effect).
(Yes – This is magical in many ways!) It heals cuts too, it has amazing antibacterial and antifungal properties and can even prevent scarring of open wounds too! Use coconut oil on your wound to help speed recovery – apply coconut oil under a band-aid and change it 2-3 times a day.
The flower’s healing properties come from its flavonoids and essential oils, which scientists have found can penetrate deep into the skin. Make a chamomile press for your wound by soaking some chamomile tea bags in water, lightly draining some of the liquid, and then wrapping these tea bags around your wound.
Why open wounds in Bali heal slower than anywhere else?
The answer is simple. Due to the high humidity and other conditions, such as dust or insects trying to keep the wounds open. Wound healing in the tropics is worse than in non-tropical areas. Besides, the temperature of the water here in Bali allows more bacteria to be alive. The water is basically too warm to support the wound healing. A million of microscopic organism live in just one millilitre of seawater. Seawater also contains micro bacteria which varies in kinds and benefits.
What to do if the wound is already infected
Now it’s time to go to the doctor. In some cases, you need to take antibiotics for a few days to avoid a worse infection and a sepsis. Change the bandage every two days and clean it carefully. You can use solid water compresses and also put some antibiotic cream on. Don’t let any dirty water come into the wound. In Rainy Season you should cover the bandage with a plastic bag when being outside. Keep watching it and only keep it open when you can see a crust.
What`s the worst case scenario?
Sea Ulcers. A common problem among surfers, sailors, and other seafarers. Sea ulcers typically develop from seemingly minor scrapes or cuts; then, instead of healing shut like most wounds, they deepen and become encircled by a thick, rubbery kind of callous. And there they stay for weeks, months, even years, never looking particularly infected, but just never healing.
In any case: Please please please stay out of the water
It is probably the hardest thing to do here on Bali, especially if you are here for only a couple of days. But hygiene is very important. Ocean or pool water is not a sterile environment, especially in tropic areas like Bali. Bacteria will enter your open wound and wreak havoc. Stay calm, stay safe, and just take a sit back enjoying the sunset.
Be careful and let’s hope nothing happens! But don’t miss the fun to learn Surfing!
Learn everything about surfing. Andre opens the doors for surfing to beginners. In the classes you learn about your board, your body technique and about how to read the ocean and the waves. Surfing is easy and joyful but there are also rules to keep it safe! Andres goal is to make you stand up in the first lesson!