How to care for a wound (part 1 of 2)

imageWhat is the best solution to use to clean a wound?

Antiseptics are commonly used to irrigation contaminated wounds. However, tap water (from the faucet) and sterile saline worked equally well to irrigate (clean out) uncomplicated skin wounds. Warm water may feel better.

Should wounds be covered?

Yes. Keep wounds covered with an appropriate dressing and reassess periodically (..twice a day is good). The dressings help to protect the wound by acting as a barrier to infection and for absorbing wound fluid.

Should a wound be kept wet or dry?

A moist wound bed stimulates epithelial cells to migrate across the wound bed and resurface the wound. (In contrast, a dry environment may lead to cell desiccation and scab formation, which may delay wound healing.) Topical antibiotic ointment can help keep the wound wet.

When can a wound no longer be sutured?

Guidelines recommend that wounds that are clean (and without evidence of infection) should be sutured within six to 12 hours of the injury. Suturing can be delayed for up to 18 hours.   If the wound is located at an area of lots of blood vessels (like the head or face) these can be closed up to 24 hours from the time of injury. Bite wounds are usually left open (not sutured), due to infection risk.

For minor lacerations, are tissue adhesive (glue) as effective as suturing?

Yes. If the wound has low-tension on it and is linear, glue may be considered. Tissue adhesive is not recommended for complex, jagged edges or high-tension areas (like joints or hands).


About drlesliegreenberg

I have been practicing as a family physician for over 20 years--as both an educator of physicians and clinician. From infancy to the elderly, I perform obstetrics and general medicine. I love my career and am passionate about my field of knowledge and my patients. Follow me on Facebook at Leslie Md Greenberg Medical Disclaimer The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.
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