Washing a wound or graze ‘stings’, whether you have EB or not. Wetting raw wounded areas with ‘normal’ saline solution doesn’t sting at all, like magic it’s painless.
In 1982 when their EB baby was in so much pain at bath time Martin and Anna remembered their high school biology lessons. They confirmed the exact science with pathologist Dr Graham Kemble Welch and together with EB nurse Hilda Dresdner they introduced saline bathing. Bath time became fun.
Care plans based on pain-free bathing in normal saline have been commonplace in NZ ever since.
Normal saline solution is 0.9% salt (sodium chloride), that’s:
To figure-out the right mix, find how much water fills the bath and then calculate the right amount of salt to add. Using a bucket with a litre measure, count the number of buckets of water it takes to fill the bath to a fixed point.
For example, if you used 10 x 10 litre buckets you would need to add 900 grams (nearly a kilo) of salt.
Our body’s cells are more-salty than fresh water, and less-salty than sea water. Water moves in or out of our cells to equalise the salinity with surrounding liquid, causing the painful stinging.
Normal saline solution is an exact match to our saltiness, so no water moves in or out of our cells – it’s painless to be in saline!