Wound Care Basics

A few practical ideas to help with wound care.

The following article offers several basic wound care tips. While these suggestions should be useful in many cases, check with your loved one’s doctor for information about his or her specific condition.

As the primary caregiver for a loved one’s wounds, your most important job is to prevent infection—not only because infections can lengthen the wound’s healing process, but also because certain infections can be life-threatening.

  • Wash the wound at least once a day with plain water or a mild cleanser.
  • Soaking can help remove scabs and dead skin.
  • Don’t use harsh cleansers or scrub too hard. This can cause further damage to the wound.
  • Antibiotic ointments can also help. Talk to your loved one’s doctor about which—if any—ointments would be best in this case.
  • Other ointments, like ordinary Vaseline, may also be a good idea. They help keep the skin moist and help prevent bandages from sticking to the wound and causing further damage.

Bandages

There are several issues to consider when examining different types of bandages:

  • In general, dry bandages should be avoided as they tend to cling to the wound and cause damage when removed.
  • The same is true for adhesive bandages like band-aids.
  • Teflon patches work in some cases, although they may stick to some types of wounds.
  • Silicone bandages are expensive, but they can help keep the wound moist and are easily removed.

It’s important to remember that virtually no type of dressing or bandage will be useful throughout the entire course of a wound’s healing process. As the condition of your loved one’s wound changes, the doctor will probably recommend changes in your loved one’s treatment. Constant communication between you, your loved one, and his or her doctor is the key to preventing infection and helping the wound to heal as quickly as possible.

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