HOW TO: How to Clean a Reef Cut


Getting bounced off the reef will happen at some point, and while you’re unlikely to bleed to death from such wounds, infection of the cut is likely in the tropics unless you treat the wound properly. Upon exiting the water, clean out the cut with fresh water. You want to get all the crap out of the cut too, bits of sand, reef, moss, whatever, get it all out. If washing with fresh water isn’t getting it all out, get a toothbrush in there and scrub. It needs to be clean first and foremost. Second, apply a disinfectant. Best bet in Indo is to use Chinese medicine, a brown mystery concoction with an unparalleled pedigree of Indo wound healing. Simply dab on with a cotton bud. This stuff is ideal for not only disinfecting, but also preventing wounds ulcerating; you can surf several times a day with fresh cuts so long as you keep putting the Chinese medicine on after each session. It doesn’t work as well where there’s a loose flap of skin over the wound, so if you have a flap, cut it off. You can find Chinese medicine all over Indo, most of the pharmacies in Bali carry it, get a couple of bottles. The alternative used in Tahiti is lime, squeezing lime juice into the cut which may sting a tad, as, incidentally, does this gear (pictured).

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