Our skin is a marvel to behold, protecting us from bacteria, helping to regulate our temperature and keeping our inner tissues safe from harmful substances. With all the work that it does, it’s easy to understand why our skin occasionally becomes damaged.
Unfortunately, when it comes to wound treatment for these little – and not-so-little –boo-boos, there are a lot of misunderstandings and outright myths. Whether for scrapes, cuts or even larger injuries, there are right and wrong ways to care for wounds. Here are our top first aid tips for promoting wound healing.
DO clean wounds with cool running water and mild soap, not alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, which can cause even further damage to the skin. If debris is in the cuts or wounds, use a soft nail brush to help clean the wound. Rinse well and pat dry before using ointment and covering with a bandage.
DO keep wounds covered and moderately moist. Keeping wounds covered helps protect wounds from bacteria and promotes a moist environment, which helps wounds heal faster.
DO bathe carefully. Keeping wounds too moist can introduce bacteria, so shield your wounds when showering or bathing. Avoid hot water while bathing or showering as well.
DON’T rip the bandage off quickly to “get it over with” because this can cause the wound’s scab to tear away and cause further damage to the wound, undoing any progress you’ve made toward wound healing.
DO soak wounds when bandages are stuck. This, combined with slow, gentle pulling at the bandage, can release the bandage for replacement. Using ointment can prevent wounds from sticking to bandages.
DON’T use butter on burns. Following this old wives’ tale can worsen the burn. Instead, run cool water over the burn, then cover loosely with a non-stick bandage.
DO drink plenty of water, as staying hydrated promotes healing from within.
DON’T scratch or pick at scabs. Cuts and wounds can itch as they heal, but it’s important to avoid scratching at them. Tearing away at the scabs and surrounding skin can introduce bacteria and slow wound healing.
DO eat lots of protein, which speeds wound healing. Aim for three or four servings every day.
DON’T treat the wound with ointments or moisturizers containing alcohol, petroleum jelly, lanolin, or coal tar, especially if you have sensitive skin.
DO stay on top of your diabetes or prediabetes. Managing your blood sugar can improve blood flow, which speeds wound healing.
DO get help when you need it. If you’re struggling to care for a wound that just won’t heal, contact your primary care physician for an exam. If your wound won’t heal and you begin to experience additional symptoms, such as hot, red, swollen skin, blisters, or sores that ooze fluid or pus, these are signs of a potentially serious skin infection. With these symptoms, be sure to seek treatment right away. At Laredo Emergency Room, we can evaluate your wound and any other symptoms and provide you with the wound treatment you need.
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