Seal Beach,, CA (June 2011) – Taking care of a wound is like painting a wall. Both actions require following certain steps and making sure you have the necessary items to do the job properly. In painting, you may need a drop cloth, paint brush or roller, paint pan, and can of paint. Items necessary to care for a wound include clean cloths or bandages, water, soap, tweezers, alcohol, and antibiotic cream or ointment. In painting, you need to put down the drop cloth, mix the paint, and pour it into the paint pan before painting.
Caring for a wound also involves several steps. Wound care begins with stopping the bleeding, which usually happens after a few minutes. Bleeding helps clean out wounds; but if it does not stop in a short time, apply gentle pressure for 20 to 30 minutes. If blood flow continues, seek medical help. Rinse the wound with clear water and clean the area around the wound with soap, if necessary. Remove any debris, such as splinters, from the wound with tweezers that have been cleaned with alcohol. It is not necessary to use hydrogen peroxide or iodine, which can actually damage sensitive tissue and prevent healing.
After the wound is clean, apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment or cream to keep the surface moist. Most minor wounds will heal without an antibiotic, but it can help speed the healing process and reduce scarring. Cover the wound with a bandage to keep it clean and prevent bacteria from entering the affected area. Change the dressing on a regular basis or as soon as it gets dirty or wet. After the wound has started to heal, expose it to air to speed healing.
A couple of tips to help make a painting job have a more professional look include using painter’s tape to achieve a straight edge or applying more than one coat of paint for better coverage. Several hints to help wounds heal include:
Leaving scabs alone. They are nature’s way of protecting a wound and will fall off when the time is right.
Seeing a doctor if the wound is deep, jagged, or the edges will not stay together after applying special adhesive strips or butterfly tape.
Seeking medical attention if the wound shows signs of infection, such as redness, warmth, swelling or drainage.
Getting a tetanus shot booster if the wound is deep or dirty and if it has been more than five years since your last shot.
People with diabetes should take special precautions for wound care because their condition can reduce the body’s ability to heal and increase the risk of infection. Diabetics need to tightly control blood glucose and check for cuts or scrapes, especially on their feet. If wounds fail to heal properly, hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be recommended. This treatment involves giving patients high concentrations of oxygen under pressure to increase the oxygen level in the blood and tissues to promote healing. For more information about wound care, talk with your doctor or call 562.493.9581 for a free referral to a specialist near you. A new wound care center will be opening at Los Alamitos Medical Center this summer. The new services will include hyperbaric therapy.