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Why cuts in Bali heal slower than anywhere else?

Riding the waves, exploring the ocean, high-fiving some beautiful sh until daring yourself to jump o that 15 meter high reef. We feel alive more than ever. But especially when playing with nature, we never know what will happen next.

No matter how careful we are, cuts happen, wounds occur!

Surfers get so many cuts from the reef especially with Bali`s shallow shores. Divers may cut themselves on the corals (even though you are not supposed to touch the corals!) or simply playing on the beach in Bali – Bali cuts and wounds happen quickly.

But since it’s the ocean and we all get told about the “healing magic”, 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 it?

  • Control the bleeding, put direct pressure on the wound
  • Clean it: Normal saline or clean tap water should be used, do not use sea water
  • Make sure you are generating enough pressure to debride the wound from any possible foreign bodies
  • After thorough irrigation, add an antiseptic, the easiest in Bali is Betadine, you get it for like 20.000 IDR in every Iittle store Like Circle K, Minimart or Indomaret

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Natural Self-Made Remedy

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Honey

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).

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Coconut oil

(Yes – This is magical in many ways!) It heals cuts too, it has amazing antibacterial and anti fungal properties and can even prevent scarring of 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.

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Chamomile

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.

Turmeric

It is a natural antiseptic and antibiotic agent that can be used to heal minor wounds and prevent infection. Turmeric improves wound healing by modulating collagen and decreasing reactive oxygen species. If there is bleeding, you can apply some turmeric powder directly on the wound. Bleeding will stop immediately. To promote optimal healing, mix 1/2 tablespoon of turmeric in enough linseed (also known as axseed) oil to form a paste. Apply it on the wound 2 or 3 times a day to reduce pain and prevent infection.

Why cuts in Bali heal slower than anywhere else?

The answer is simple. 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 organisms live in just one milliliter of seawater. Seawater also contains micro bacteria which varies in kinds and benefits. Some of these bacteria might be harmful for the human’s health. The marine environment carries with it some unusual bacteria. Some of the names to know are Vibrio, Pseudomonas and Mycobacterium Marinum. Under the genus of Vibrio, there are multiple species to watch out for but Vibrio parahaemolyticus and V. vulnificus are common. Staph and Strep are frequently seen pathogens, cultured from saltwater infected wounds.

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 ocean

It is probably the hardest thing to do here on Bali, especially if you are here for only a couple of weeks, but hygiene is very important. The ocean water is not a sterile environment, especially in tropic areas like Bali, and bacteria will enter your wound and wreak havoc. Stay calm, stay safe, and just take a sit back enjoying the sunset.

 

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