Knowing how to practice proper wound care at home is an essential skill. There are a few ways to classify a wound: An abrasion is a scrape; a puncture is when a pointed, sharp object breaks the skin; an avulsion is when the skin is torn severely enough to expose tissue; a laceration is another term for a cut in the skin. But regardless of the type of wound, they’re all susceptible to infection. As a result, there are a few basic steps that everyone should learn for wound treatment at home. Because ultimately, wound healing is a process. Even if you’re suffering from a minor injury or a wound that doesn’t necessitate medical care, a life-threatening infection is still possible.
1. Wash Your Hands
The most basic principle behind practicing wound treatment at home? Keeping your hands clean. You can prevent infection by washing your hands regularly—especially before you take care of the wound.
2. Clean with Mild Solutions
After you’ve stopped the bleeding, it’s crucial that you clean the wound by washing away debris and bacteria. But avoid powerful disinfectants like hydrogen peroxide, iodine, or rubbing alcohol. Not only do these substances feel uncomfortable on an open wound, they could actually damage the tissue and destroy the healing factors your body naturally produces.
Instead, opt for saline solution, soap that’s been diluted with lots of water, or purified water.
3. Remove Debris
Gently remove any dirt or debris you find in the wound with disinfected tweezers.
4. Keep Your Wound (Mostly) Dry
Your wound’s skin will be tender—and if it gets too wet, it could break apart. That’s why it’s essential to avoid baths or soaking your wounds for the first 48 hours of the healing process. Water in the dirt could also seep into the wound, so it’s crucial that you keep the wound nice and dry.
Still, while conventional wisdom around wound care in the home setting would say that “airing out” a wound is good, it’s actually been proven that a slightly moist environment is optimal for a healing wound. Wounds exposed to the air are more likely to form a crust, which prevents the growth of new, healthy tissue.
To keep the wound slightly moist, apply an antibacterial ointment under your dressings at least once a day.
5. Keep Your Wound Covered
Once the wound has been cleaned and dried, wrap it with a sterile dressing. Avoid touching the inside of the dressing, and for extra safety, wear sterile gloves. Then use tape or rolled gauze to secure the dressing.
6. Don’t Take Aspirin
Yes, wounds can hurt, but it’s important that you avoid aspirin during the healing process. Aspirin has been found to delay skin repair and increase bleeding. Instead, opt for other pain relievers like Ibuprofen.
7. Change Your Dressings
Remember to change your dressings at least twice a day.
8. Know When to Act
It takes weeks for serious wounds to heal. However, if you think your wound has become infected, you have to act fast. Here are a few indications that your wound may be infected:
- An increase in fluids
- An increase in pain or swelling
- The presence of pus
- A bad odor
- A fever
Practicing these incredibly simple steps for wound care at homecan prevent the occurrence of a nasty infection and help speed up the healing process. But, in the event that a complication is preventing your wound from healing correctly, there are physicians and surgeons with the training and expertise to help you recover. If you think you may have a wound that won’t heal, don’t wait—contact the qualified professionals at the San Diego Wound Care Center. A friendly staff will be waiting to answer any questions you may have, and set you on the way to a better, faster healing process.
We specialize in diagnosis and treatment for any and all wound care issues for patients in San Diego County, Orange County and Riverside County. For more information or to set an appointment, please contact us.