Whether it’s a scratch, cut or graze, open wounds are something that we’d rather go without. If you do happen to hurt yourself at home or at work, it’s best you know how to maintain the wound, the right way.
Here are some tips for homecare wound maintenance that will help speed up the healing process and make the experience more bearable.
Know what type of wound it is
Knowing your wound is perhaps the most important step in home care wound maintenance.
Falls and accidents with sharp objects are the most common causes of wounds, especially at home or at work. But did you know there are four different types of wounds?
1. Abrasion – usually occurs when your skin scrapes against a rough surface, resulting in a graze-like wound.
2. Laceration – a deep cut or tear to the skin. This is a common workplace injury that results from accidents with knives, tools, and machinery. Bleeding occurs immediately after the injury.
3. Puncture – a small hole caused by a sharp, pointy object such as a nail or needle. Puncture wounds are usually deep and have the potential to damage internal organs.
4. Avulsion – tearing away of the skin and tissue. This is the most serious type of wound and is often the result of a violent accident, such as an explosion or gunshot. A wound of this type cannot be stitched closed because there is tissue missing.
In the case of a serious accident, you should seek medical attention right away by calling 000. This is especially true if bleeding persists for more than 20 minutes.
Clean the wound properly
Another necessary tip for home care wound maintenance is to wash and disinfect the wound before applying a dressing. There’s nothing worse than dressing a wound that hasn’t been cleaned and later finding an infection festering under the bandage.
Before you dress your wound with a gauze or bandage, it’s important to make sure there aren’t any loose fragments lodged in the wound. But before you start picking away dirt and debris, ensure your hands are washed to prevent contamination and infection.
Once you have sanitised your hands, gently rinse the wound with clean, lukewarm water and remove any fragments of dirt with tweezers that have been cleaned with alcohol. Once this is done, softly pat dry the surrounding skin with a clean cloth or towel.
Dress your wound with the right bandage
After disinfecting the wound, you will then need to apply direct pressure and elevate the wound to control bleeding and swelling. Once this is done, you’re good to start dressing!
First off, it’s best to use a non-stick or gentle dressing to bandage your wound; try to avoid using tape on fragile skin as this can cause trauma when removing the dressing.
When dressing a wound, always use clean and sterile dressing materials. If this wound is moderate or severe, you’ll need to keep the wound clean and dry for five days. Redressing the wound after daily with clean bandages will also help with the healing process.
For those using adhesive bandages, be wary that they often do a good job of adhering to skin and hair. Instead of simply ripping off the bandage to quickly get through the pain, try soaking the area that is covered with the bandage in warm water and pull in the direction of hair growth. This will not only ease the pain but reduce the likelihood of pulling out hair.
Relieve the pain appropriately
It’s not abnormal to experience pain after a wound. But before you take any medication in your medicine cabinet, it’s important to know which pain relief methods are best suited to your situation.
You can take Paracetamol and Ibroprufen as directed on the package. However, be sure to avoid products containing aspirin as they can cause and prolong bleeding.
Another method for reducing pain and swelling is to apply ice to the wound.
If you’re going outside, be sure to use a sunscreen that is SPF 30 on the area until the area is completely healed.
Eat a nutritious diet
The speed that your body recovers depends on a lot of factors, especially your diet. If you have a wound, it’s important that you eat a range of foods from each of the five food groups to ensure you are getting all of the nutrients your body needs.
Power Foods, which include higher amounts of protein, vitamins A and C, and zinc, can also play a huge role in wound healing.
If you have any underlying medical issues, it’s important to speak with your Doctor and Dietitian regarding the best food choices for you.
Rest and be mindful of red flags
There are plenty of red flags to look out for after your body experiences an open wound. The main complication of an open wound is the risk of infection.
Signs of infection include:
- Signs of infection include:
- increase in drainage
- thick green, yellow or brown pus
- discharge that emits an odour
- a wound that isn’t healing
If you are experiencing any of these signs, it’s time to see your GP.
In the case of a wound infection, your doctor will drain the wound and if a bacterial infection is discovered, they will treat it with an antibiotic.