If you’re like most people, you probably think of a wound as something that happens when you accidentally cut yourself with a knife while cooking. But there are other types of wounds too – ones that can occur from an accident or injury, surgery, or even medical treatments like radiation therapy. And while some wounds are minor and heal quickly, others can be more serious and take longer to heal.
No matter what type of wound you have, and what caused it, it’s important to know how to treat a wound properly so that it can heal quickly and without any complications. And since not everyone is a doctor or a nurse, we’ve put together this helpful guide with 7 useful tips for treating a wound.
Keep it Clean
It’s important to keep your wound clean so that it can heal properly and without any complications. Not only will this help to prevent infection, but it will also reduce the amount of scarring that occurs. There are a few different ways to clean a wound, and the method you use will depend on the type of wound and how severe it is.
If you only have a minor cut or scrape, you can usually clean it with warm water. Remove any dirt or debris from the wound using sterile gauze or cotton balls. Be careful not to push any of the debris further into the wound. Gently wash the area around the wound, and then rinse it well with clean water. You can also use alcohol-free cleansing wipes if you prefer.
For more serious wounds, you’ll need to use a sterile saline solution to clean the area. This can be bought at most pharmacies, or you can make your own by mixing 1 cup of distilled water with ½ teaspoon of salt. Apply the solution to your wound with a clean gauze pad or cotton ball, and then remove any excess with another clean gauze pad or cotton ball. You may need to do this several times to make sure the wound is clean.
Keep it Covered
Once you’ve cleaned your wound, it’s important to keep it covered so that it doesn’t become infected. This will also help to keep the area around the wound clean and protected. You can use a sterile adhesive bandage or wrap, gauze pads, or even medical tape to keep the dressing in place.
If your wound is more serious, you may need to use a sterile gauze pad that’s held in place with medical tape. For acute or chronic wounds, waterproof 3M Healthcare Tegaderm Dressings can also be used, as it provides a bacterial and viral barrier. These dressings are available in a variety of sizes, and can even be customizable to fit your wound. You can also use an elastic wrap, which is a type of bandage that’s often used for sprains and strains.
Once you’ve applied the gauze or wrap, be sure to check it regularly to make sure it hasn’t become loose or dirty.
Change Your Dressings Regularly
If you’re using a dressing to cover your wound, it’s important to change it regularly. This will help to keep the wound clean and prevent infection. The frequency with which you need to change your dressing will depend on the type of wound you have, as well as how quickly it’s healing.
For example, if you have a minor cut or scrape that’s healing quickly, you may only need to change your dressing once a day. But if you have a more serious wound or one that’s not healing as quickly, you may need to change your dressing 2-3 times a day. It’s also important to change your dressing if it gets wet or dirty.
Use an Antibiotic Cream or Ointment
Using antibiotic cream on a wound can help to prevent infection and speed up the healing process. The cream or ointment will help to kill any bacteria that may be present in the wound, and it can also reduce the amount of scarring that occurs. Antibiotic creams and ointments are available over the counter at most pharmacies, and they come in a variety of different brands and formulations.
However, before using any antibiotic cream like Bacitracin or Neosporin, it’s important to clean the wound first (as described in Step 1). Once the wound is clean, you can apply a thin layer of the cream or ointment to the area. Be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging, as some creams and ointments should only be used for a certain amount of time. You should also consult with your doctor before using any antibiotic cream or ointment, as some formulations are not suitable for people with certain allergies or medical conditions.
Keep the Wound Moist
One of the best ways to speed up the healing process and reduce scarring is to keep the wound moist. This can be done by using a sterile saline solution (as described in Step 1), or you can buy specially-formulated wound care products that are designed to keep wounds moist. These products are available over the counter at most pharmacies, and they typically come in the form of gels, sprays, or hydrogels.
To use these products, simply apply them to the wound according to the instructions on the packaging. You should reapply the product as often as necessary to keep the wound moist, and you should also cover the wound with a dressing (as described in Step 2) to help lock in moisture.
Apply Heat or Cold
Applying heat or cold to a wound can help to reduce pain and swelling. For example, if you have a minor burn, you can hold a cool, damp cloth on the area for 10-15 minutes several times a day. Or if you have a muscle strain, you can apply a heating pad to the area for 15-20 minutes every few hours. Just be sure not to put ice directly on your skin, as this can cause further damage.
Also, if you’re using heat or cold therapy, it’s important to monitor the wound closely. If you see any redness, swelling, or other signs of infection, discontinue the therapy and consult with your doctor.
Protect the Wound from Sunlight
Exposing a wound to sunlight can cause the area to become irritated and inflamed. This is especially true for burns, as they are particularly sensitive to sunlight. To protect a wound from sunlight, simply cover the area with a bandage or wrap before you go outside. You can also apply sunscreen to the area if it’s exposed, but be sure to use sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30. Even if the wound is covered, it’s still important to apply sunscreen to the surrounding skin to prevent sunburn, as the bandage or wrap will likely absorb some of the sunscreen’s potency.
While it’s important to seek medical attention if you have a serious wound, as you can see, there are a few things that you can do at home to promote healing and reduce scarring. By following these tips, you can help to ensure that your wound heals quickly and properly. However, if you have any concerns or the wound does not seem to be healing properly, be sure to consult with your doctor.