When treating small cuts, scrapes and superficial skin injuries, a bandage serves to improve healing conditions and prevent infection.
General measures for optimizing healing:
1) If you are bleeding, position the wound above heart level and apply direct pressure to it using a clean cloth (unless you’re dealing with an injury caused by the penetration of a pointed object such as a nail). The bleeding should diminish within 5 minutes.
2) Clean the wound in order to eliminate bacteria and debris. To start, wash your hands with soap and water then rinse the wound under an average sized spray of water (under the tap or with a squeeze bulb). Wash the area around the wound with mild soap, taking care not to touch the wound directly. Finally, if dirt is stuck to the wound, remove it using tweezers (previously cleaned with alcool) or by rubbing gently with a clean gauze.
3) Apply a bandage for at least 24 to 48 hours. It helps to prevent infection, serves to keep the wound moist in order to accelerate healing, absorbs any discharges and increases comfort. Try to select a bandage that is not sticky and is absorbant and occlusive. You can also apply an antibiotic ointment to prevent the wound from sticking to the bandage. Change the bandage once a day, or more often if it’s dirty or has absorbed liquid. Always wash off gently any blood or dried secretions with soap and water before applying a new bandage
4) Check for signs of infection after 48 hours (inflammation, redness, heat, pain, pus, fever) and consult a physician if needed
In conclusion, before using the general measures for optimizing healing, it would be wise to consult a physician in the following cases:
A) Human or animal bites
B) Serious or complicated wounds (deep cuts, open wound that won’t stop bleeding)
C) When a pointed object (nail, screw, etc.) has pierced the skin and the wound is deep
D) Significantly painful wound
E) Visible debris despite the fact that the wound has been washed with water
F) Tetanus vaccination is not up to date
Until next time!