Cleaning a wound
It is important to clean the wound well to prevent infection: e.g. wash wound with tap water to remove any dirt and grit. A sterile swab can be used to gently clean the area. If the wound is relatively clean, water or saline solution may be used to clean the wound with a swab. If there is contamination, a surfactant solution such as chlorhexidine/cetrimide should be used. Handy swabs are lint free so no material from the swab can be left in the wound to create infection.
Lengths and Strips are used for minor wounds where the edges of the wound are relatively close together and the wound is clean e.g. cuts, tears, puncture wounds, bites. The first 48 hours is the critical healing time. During this time it is important that the wound does not become infected and is protected from further injury. There is a range of products available from your Pharmacy which are ideal first aid products for this type of minor injury. Many differing shapes and sizes are available. Elastic strips and lengths are available for high movement areas such as muscles and joints. Water resistant plastic strips and shapes are ideal for the hands, in fact, any area frequently exposed to water. The sensitive skins of the elderly and young are also well catered for with some special hypoallergenic products. Ask your Pharmacist for advice.
Wound dressings should be:
- Quick and easy to apply.
- Remove or absorb exudate and substances toxic to cells.
- Contain a non-stick pad.
- Adhere securely to the skin so they won’t fall off.
- Sterilised and hygienically sealed to reduce the risk of infection.
- Reduce the necessity of frequent dressing changes.
- Skin toned and therefore not too obvious.
Lengths & Strips are ideal for treating minor injuries where the wound edges can easily be brought together. These are available as elastic strips (for moving parts) and plastic strips and shapes, which are water resistant.
Try to pull the wound together. Sometimes an otherwise clean cut may need a little help to bring the wound edges together. There is a special strip available that is comfortable and has the ability to expand and contract as the swelling goes down. This ensures that scarring is minimal. The strip adheres securely to the skin even with body movement. This particular plaster is also hypoallergenic which means it won’t irritate sensitive skin.
A healthy diet helps wounds heal faster by nourishing the body with the vitamins it needs to grow collagen and new skin. Take a look at Calanna’s community kitchen for simple easy healthy home cooked meal ideas.
If the diet is inadequate consider some supplements. Zinc and Echinacea are suggested to help the natural immune system of the body. Vitamin C, iron and zinc can be taken to help the growth of collagen, which is necessary for skin tissue repair. B group vitamins are suggested because studies show that they are needed in the successful cross-linking of collagen and in the promotion of the natural immune system of the body. Vitamin A is used by the body in helping the production of collagen and in the process of granulation in wound healing. Vitamin E may be applied after the wound has healed to minimise any scarring.
Ask your Pharmacist for advice.
- Eat a healthy diet to maximise general health, as this will increase the natural immune system of the body.
- Ask for help when choosing the correct dressing for your wound. For most minor wounds use a skin toned product that will absorb or remove exudate from the wound.
- Make sure that before using a dressing the wound is clean and free of dirt. Use normal saline, chlorhexidine or a weak solution of povidone-iodine to wash out the wound.
- Pull the edges of the wound together if it is a clean cut.
- Sometimes it is necessary to have a waterproof dressing if the wound is constantly under water. Ask your Pharmacist.
- If your skin is allergic to plaster, ask your Pharmacist for an allergy free product.
- Your Pharmacist has available some anti-inflammatory products if they are needed.
- If you require a pain relieving tablet or capsule ask your Pharmacist.
- Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. Your Pharmacy stocks a special water filter jug if you prefer filtered water.
- If the wound is a weepy graze there is a special dressing available. Wash with normal saline and allow to dry.
DISCLAIMER: This information is an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, nurse or naturopath before following any medical regimen to see whether it is safe and effective for you.