Most minor scrapes and wounds are part of life, especially for those with small children. Though it is important to properly care for all wounds in order to prevent infection, promote fast healing and minimize scarring it is also important to recognize when a wound simply requires your TLC and when it requires serious medical attention.
The following guide is designed to help you decide when it is a good time to seek professional wound care at iCare Emergency Room and Urgent Care.
MINOR WOUND CARE 101
Keep It Clean
Keeping all wounds, big or small, clean is the first step towards preventing infection, minimizing scarring and promoting fast healing. Simply wash the wound with clean water and disinfect it with a disinfectant such as a mild soap before wrapping the wound with a sterile bandage or dressing.
It is OK for Wounds To Bleed a Little
Contrary to popular belief, bleeding is not always a negative. Blood helps clean wounds and flush out embedded debry. The bleeding of most minor wounds can be effectively controlled by applying a little pressure and/or elevating the wound.
Spot Test Your Antibiotic Cream Before Use
Antibiotic creams are intended to keep wounds moist and help prevent infection. However, some individuals may be allergic to these creams. Therefore, make sure to always spot test your antibiotic cream on a non-wounded area before applying a thin layer of the cream on the wound. If a rash or other forms of irritation occur on the test-spot do not use the antibiotic cream.
Dress Exposed Wounds Lightly and Change The Bandage Daily
If a minor wound is in danger of being scraped or rubbed by clothing dress the wound lightly to protect the scab that forms in the first stage of healing. However, do not dress or bandage the wound in a restrictive manner as this can restrict blood flow to the wound and slow down healing. Also, change the dressing daily to minimize the risk of infection.
Don’t Itch Itchy Wounds: Itching is a Sign of Healing
Often fresh scabs are itchy. Refrain from itching these scabs so that the wound can heal effectively.
Know The First Signs of a Serious Infection
Redness that spreads out from the wound, swelling, green or yellow pus, and an increase in tenderness around the wound are all signs of a serious infection. Other signs of a serious infection include swollen lymph nodes, body aches, chills or fever. If you develop any of these signs call your primary care physician immediately or go to your nearest emergency room center.
WHEN SHOULD I COME TO THE ER?
- Wounds caused by humans: such as children biting each other at the park or day care center.
- Wounds caused by animals, regardless of how big or small they may be, such as a dog bite or painful insect bite.
- Any wound that does not stop bleeding after you’ve applied pressure to it and elevated it for a minimum of 10-15 minutes.
- Gaping wounds deeper than 1 inch.
- Wounds caused by rusty items such as rusty nails.
- Wounds which have items embedded deep within them such as glass or wood splinters.
- Wounds that are painful and are showing early signs of infection.