Handy first aid for wound care
Good first aid such as knowing how to clean and dress a wound prevents bugs from getting into it and causing an infection.
Modern wound dressings are comfortable and highly absorbent, and can include waterproof coverings that can be left on for several days to ensure that the wound has the best chance to heal.
Steps for cleaning and dressing a wound:
- Wait till the wound has stopped bleeding.
- Wash and dry your hands thoroughly.
- Clean the wound under running tap water. There is no need to use an antiseptic as it may damage the skin and slow healing. There is no convincing evidence that the use of antiseptics on minor skin infections has any beneficial action.
- Pat the area dry with a clean, non-fluffy towel or gauze swab.
- Apply a sterile adhesive dressing, such as a plaster.
- Keep the dressing clean by changing it as often as necessary. Keep the wound dry by using waterproof dressings, which will allow you to take showers.
- You can remove the dressing after a few days, once the wound has closed itself.
Contact your doctor if you develop a fever (feeling hotÂ and/or cold and unwell), have any concerns about your wound or if your wound:
- becomes more painful
- looks red or swollen
- feels hot
- leaks yellow or green discharge
- has an unpleasant smell.
Wound infections can be successfully treated if caught early but can cause life or limb-threatening complications if left too long.
While a regular plaster may be handy for minor cuts, blisters or grazes, the most popular wound dressings are called island dressings. These contain an absorbent dressing within an adhesive seal that surrounds the area to be protected.
Call into your pharmacy to get advice on the best dressing type for your needs:
- Cutiplast dressings are made of a flexible soft fabric
- Cutifilm dressings have a waterproof film