How To Effectively Clean Wounds
First aid is crucial when it comes to taking care of wounds. It promotes faster healing, lessens scaring, and helps prevent infection.
Stop The Bleeding
The bleeding needs to be stopped before cleaning can begin. Apply pressure with a piece of sterile gauze for fifteen minutes. The gauze should not be lifted during this time, since it can disrupt the developing clot and cause bleeding to start again. If the wound is in the arm or leg, the affected appendage should be raised above the level of the heart. If there is moderate or severe bleeding that doesn’t slow after fifteen minutes of pressure, seek medical help while continuing to apply pressure.
Preparing For Wound Care
Starting with clean hands washed with antibiotic soap will prevent further contamination of the wound. Gloves should always be worn when treating someone else’s wound.
If there are large pieces of debris or dirt, these should be gently removed with a tweezers that has been sanitized in alcohol. If there is anything embedded in the wound, however, it should be left in place and examined by a doctor. Removing an item embedded in a wound can worsen bleeding and cause more damage if not done correctly.
Washing The Wound
Rinsing the wound under a cool or lukewarm tap will slowly remove dirt and debris. A kitchen sprayer is a good tool to get out more difficult dirt, but it may be painful to use. Very gentle scrubbing may help get the last of the dirt, but scrubbing too hard can further damage the tissue.
Disinfecting The Area
Cleaning the area around the wound with a mild antibacterial soap will prevent it from becoming contaminated again. Antibiotic creams are another good tool to prevent infection. A thin layer spread over the wound will keep bacteria out and retain some beneficial moisture. It will also prevent bandaging from sticking to the wound. However, antibiotic creams should not be applied if the wound needs to be stitched or examined by a doctor.
Clean Wound Dressing
Proper wound care demands proper dressing. A sterile bandage that fully covers the wound is the most common choice. If the wound is oddly shaped or sized, a sterile gauze pad held in place by gauze roll or paper tape is a good alternative.
The dressing should be changed once a day or when it becomes wet or dirty, whichever comes first.
When To Consult A Doctor
A doctor should examine the wound if it is very deep, very long, very dirty, or on the face, especially near the eye. Wounds on the hands or above joints, especially if they are deep may also need professional care. A tetanus shot may be necessary for wounds caused by rusted or dirty metal, even if they are small.
Redness, swelling, pus, or heat at the wound site during the healing process are symptoms of infection and should be treated by a doctor.
Paul Chai is a health & wellness enthusiast writer with interests around wound care products such as antibiotic creams to prevent infections.