9 Basic Wound Care Tips

Wounds are a common injury, in which the skin’s surface gets damaged. Fortunately, most wounds can be treated with first aid and won’t need ...

Wounds are a common injury, in which the skin’s surface gets damaged. Fortunately, most wounds can be treated with first aid and won’t need a trip to the hospital or clinic. With proper and immediate care, you can reduce the risk of infection and speed up healing.

Here are some basic wound first aid tips that you should follow:

Wash Your Hands Before Anything Else

Whether you’re taking care of your own wound or someone else’s, the first order of business should be washing your hands to prevent contamination and infection. Make sure to follow good hand-washing practices, including scrubbing up to the wrists and under the nails.

Stop the Bleeding

If the wound is small and not very deep, it will likely stop bleeding without any help. However, if the wound is bleeding, you need to stop it before you start treatment. A simple and reliable method is to use a clean cloth or bandage to apply gentle pressure. You should also elevate the wound to slow down the bleeding as much as possible.

Clean the Wound Using Running Water

It’s best to use running water to clean a wound, because this will help wash away dirt and other small particles. For the skin around the wound, wash it gently with soap and rinse thoroughly; try your best not to get soap in the wound. For the wound itself, you can use a saline solution to minimize tissue damage.

After washing, use a clean pair of tweezers to remove any remaining debris. This will help the wound heal faster and better. If you can’t remove every piece of debris on your own or if a piece of debris is too large or embedded deeper, it may be better to go to the doctor to avoid complications.

Apply an Antibiotic Ointment

After making sure the wound is clean, pat it dry using another clean cloth. You can also use paper towels, but make sure that there will be no fibers left behind. Once the wound is dry, apply an antibiotic ointment to keep the wound clean and to prevent the growth of bacteria. If you don’t have antibiotic ointment at the time, a bit of petroleum jelly will do while you buy medicine online to replenish the stock in your first aid kit.

Cover the Wound

To protect the wound from contaminants, cover it with sterile gauze and use paper tape to secure the dressing. The pressure from the covering will also help with the healing process. Do note that a scrape or scratch doesn’t need this same treatment. After cleaning, drying, and applying an antiseptic, simply leave the wound to “breathe.”

For slightly more serious wounds, where there’s a flap of skin that got scraped off, use a cotton swab to reposition the skin flap before applying the gauze.

Change the Dressing Regularly

For hygiene and safety, change the dressing of the wound regularly. About once a day is recommended, but it may be more frequent for bigger wounds; it’s also advisable to replace the wound dressing before going to sleep. Again, make sure that your hands are clean before proceeding to wash and cover the injury.

Use Pain Relievers If Necessary

If the wound causes a lot of pain, you can use over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers. Make sure that you or the patient doesn’t have any allergies to the main ingredient. Moreover, if the person is taking prescription medication, consult your doctor to confirm OTC pain relievers won’t affect the prescription medication’s effectiveness.

Get a Shot for Tetanus

For deep, dirty wounds, a tetanus shot is recommended after the necessary first aid has been accomplished. This is even more important if the patient hasn’t had a tetanus shot in the past 5 years.

Meanwhile, you should go to an animal bite center if you or the person you’re helping got bitten by an animal like a dog, cat, or bat. It’s even more important if the animal is wild or a stray, and if the animal hasn’t been given complete rabies shots.

Monitor for Symptoms of Infection

After treating the wound, monitor it carefully for symptoms. If the wound causes severe pain, has a bad odor coming from it, or produces thick, yellowish discharge, go to your doctor immediately. Some other signs you should look out for include continuous bleeding even after treatment and reddened skin around the wound. Any wound that causes a fever is also a cause for concern, as well as big wounds on the face, head, neck, or near a joint.

In addition, you should go to the doctor if you suffer a serious wound and have an underlying medical condition that can affect the healing process.

At times, being wounded or seeing someone be wounded can be panic-inducing; your emotions may be heightened further if the patient is a child or an elderly person. Knowing how to take care of the injury can help reduce the feelings of panic. Keep these tips in mind so you properly administer first aid for wounds.

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