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Sodium Solution Said to Help Heal Burns

Soaking kitchen burns with cool salty water may help speed healing.

Home remedies can be very handy, but they need to be employed with common sense. Many readers have been curious about soy sauce to help heal burns. While self-treatment is fine for a minor burn, for example, a serious burn deserves medical attention.

Soy Sauce or Salt Solution for Burns?

Q. You have written about success in treating burns with soy sauce. I think this can be attributed to the high sodium content.

I read years ago that a burn was due to rapid dehydration of the skin due to heat and that quickly re-hydrating was helpful. This is done by soaking a paper towel with cold water, sprinkling it generously with salt and firmly applying it to the burned area.

I’ve treated kitchen burns in this manner for years. The pain subsides, and there is never a blister!

A. Thank you for your suggestion. Your observation might explain why low-salt soy sauce doesn’t seem to help heal burns.

Is There Evidence?

There isn’t much in the medical literature to support your hypothesis, but applying saline (salt water) during the treatment of a serious burn appears to be a common practice (Burns, Sept., 2007). Russian doctors reported on a small case series in which they kept patients’ legs damp with a salt solution to help heal burns (Karyakin et al, Khirurgiia, 2017).

Revised 12/14/17

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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